Trout fishing or freshwater fishing is so incredibly different to any other type of fishing. For many saltwater fishers who have never given it a go it is the fishing you do if you do not have access to the sea or a boat. In reality however freshwater fishing is a whole other world of fishing. There are many who become so obsessed with fishing in freshwater that it is the only type of fishing they do.
There is certainly something about fishing in freshwater that once you have given it a go will get under your skin and have you going back time and again to give it another shot. Freshwater fishing in WA is extremely limited, given our climate and lack of rainfall it is surprising that the two most sought after species are in fact from countries where snow is more the norm rather than droughts and water restrictions.
Trout and redfin perch make up the majority of our freshwater fishing experience here in the west and is pretty much limited to the southwest corner of the state. The trout fishery is primarily maintained as what is called a “put and take” fishery. This refers to the fish being bred and reared in a hatchery and then “put” into dams and rivers for anglers to “take”. We have two types of trout, the most common is the rainbow trout, and the other is not stocked as heavily and is considered the prize species of the two and is the brown trout.
Redfin perch were released back in the late 1800’s and have been here ever since. Redfin are not found in all waterways but the waterways that do have them are very popular locations to fish as they are very tasty to eat and offer a great by catch when chasing trout.
Trout stocking takes place every year to replenish popular freshwater fishing rivers and dams. Trout are stocked in three discrete age classes. The biggest amount stocked, is of fry, these fish are about three to five centimetres long and in most years the quantity is about 450,000 fish. These fish will take a couple of years to grow to legal size. The next size of fish released is the yearlings. These fish are from 8 to 12 months old which will range in size from about 20 to 25cm in length. These fish will become legal size in the year of release or the next year.
The third type of fish released is the ex brood stock, or the old breeding fish, these are used for a year or two for their eggs and sperm and then replaced. Brood stock stockings while very low are big fish and are prized captures by those that manage to catch them.
Not all suitable waters are stocked with trout, water catchment dams, or those used for supplying drinking water are not allowed to be used for fishing.
Rivers of high conservation value are also not stocked, one particular river is simply not stocked so that there can be a reference point for unstocked waters if we even need to use it for any sort of analysis. This river is the Shannon River and should not be fished at all by anyone.
Freshwater fishing in WA requires you to hold a Freshwater Angling licence and has its own set of rules and regulations, the main rule is that there is a closed season for most waters. However it is wise to read the rules carefully as there are some waters open all year round.
Each year approximately 10,000 people give freshwater fishing a go in WA. If you have not given freshwater fishing a go then maybe you should get out there and see what these 10,000 anglers are getting out there and experiencing.
If you are keen to have a go then here is a list of stocked waterways for the last couple of years to help you narrow down the most suitable location for a family outing, a holiday camping trip or maybe just a day trip.
2012 to 2015 Fry stocking locations and number of fish
|St. Johns Brook||15,000||15,000||10000||5000||15000|
|St. Pauls Brook||5,000||5,000||5000||5000|
|LOGUE BROOK DAM||30,000||20,000|
|Big Hill Brook||10,000||10,000||10000||10000|
|Lefroy Brook lower||25,000||25,000||20000||5000||40000|
2012 to 2015 Brood and Yearling Stocking locations and number of fish
|LOGUE BROOK DAM||500||250||1000||1000|
|GLEN MERVYN DAM||500||250||500||500|
|BIG BROOK DAM||500||500||1000||1000|
|EX BROOD RAINBOW||2015|
|LOGUE BROOK DAM||300||300||300|
|BIG BROOK DAM||200||200||200||200|
|EX BROOD BROWN||2015|
|LOGUE BROOK DAM|
|BIG BROOK DAM|
Some tips to remember when freshwater fishing:
Many streams are overgrown and are difficult to gain access to, be sure not to damage vegetation or river banks while trying to gain access.
- Consider other users who have also gone fishing to get away from the masses, if someone is already fishing an area, consider going somewhere else, waiting for them to finish or at the very least ask if they would mind if you fished in the area.
- WA is home to many poisonous snakes, overgrown wet areas are notorious for Tiger Snakes.
- Razor grass and blackberries are prolific around some southwest waterways, make yourself familiar with what they both look like and be aware that they can both cause painful injuries.
- Take plenty of water with you if you intend to go for any sort of long walk.
- Protective clothing, long sleeve and long pants are both highly recommended along with a hat and sunscreen.
- Remember to let someone know where you are going and when you intend to be home.