For some recfishers, freshwater angling has remained elusive.
This is often because they are apprehensive about paying for a freshwater licence and stepping blindly into the ‘foreign world’ of the freshwater fish.
But now, thanks to a great project, the product of the Australian Trout Foundation (ATF), the way is lit for anyone who wants to have a crack at this distinctive branch of angling.
The ATF is an independent, not-for-profit organisation in the country that is specifically dedicated to protecting and improving Australia’s trout fishery, ensuring that all Australians can enjoy trout fishing now and for future generations to come.
Now the ATF has written and produced a guide on how to fish many of the impoundments most accessible to metro fishers, including; Waroona, Drakesbrook, Logue Brook and Harvey dams. Each location has its own break-down so you have the edge when you rock up to the dam! The guide is jampacked full of information on lure types, fishing styles and hot tips such as trolling diving minnows from a boat in summer to get to cooler water, jigging soft plastics from your kayak around structure, or casting spinners or flies on the windward side of the dams! Learn about hook sizes, line weights, bait types, rod and reel combos, just about anything you could ask for is crammed into the guide. The ATF is an independent, not-for-profit organisation that is specifically dedicated to protecting and improving Australia’s trout fisheries, ensuring that all Australians can enjoy trout fishing now and for future generations to come and we think their guide has done just that.
Filled with heaps of great freshwater fishing information from the well-versed freshwater fishers at the ATF, the guide will help point any fisher in the right direction and hopefully put them a cast closer to their first trout. The ATF also plan to roll out a series of guides explaining where and how to fish for trout in the rest of the South-west.
Recfishers showed Mandurah waterways some TLC on the weekend by taking part in Mandurah’s Reel It In clean up event and picking up and bagging up discarded rubbish.
The event saw more than 200 volunteers and 20 scuba divers come together at Dawesville and Creery Wetlands on land and in water with dive volunteers doing their bit.
There was a strong contingent of recfishers at the community clean-up proudly wearing their fishing shirts, including a number of Recfishwest staff, to show recfishers are caring custodians of our precious marine environment.
Having healthy fish habitats is key to having healthy and sustainable recreational fisheries. We participate in, and support, many initiatives such as this that improve fish habitats and the environment.
And, on the day, it was great to see a number of fishers and our good friends from Miami Tackleworld play a leading and visible role in this space.
Collectively, more than 600kg of rubbish was collected, by the fishing community as well as staff and volunteers from Mandurah cruises, Peel-Harvey Catchment Council, Keep Australia Beautiful WA, Coastal Waste Warriors, City of Mandurah, Oceano Dive Centre, John Tonkin College, Estuary Guardians Mandurah and River Guardians.
Leyland Campbell, Recfishwest Operations Manager said, “There are no stronger advocates for healthy aquatic environments than recreational fishers as we truly care about the environment in which we fish.
“Whether it’s by pushing hard to protect water quality and habitat, minimise rubbish and pollution in our aquatic environment, or volunteering to participate in habitat restoration projects, it’s through actions like these, we can answer those who try to question our environmental and conservationist credentials.
“Every user of the aquatic resource needs to take responsibility and clean up after themselves and it was great to see a good show by recfishers over the weekend.”
This is a timely reminder to safely dispose of all fishing lines in tackle line disposal bins provided at many local jetties or keep your rubbish securely on board or in your tackle box until it’s safe to dispose of it.
Recfishwest works in partnership with the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions and Native Animal Rescue to protect fishing environments, with widespread support of the successful ‘Reel it It In’ fishing line disposal bin program – find out more about the program here.
Recfishwest is fully committed to promoting safe fishing and providing safe fishing education.
Where there’s evidence and statistics to support the wearing of lifejackets in high risk situations such as boat fishing at night or by yourself, we would consider supporting making it mandatory to wear them.
However, we have always maintained safety largely comes down to the individual and the skipper of a vessel.
The Department of Transport (DoT) is currently seeking feedback on 12 proposed changes to recreational boat safety equipment including lifejackets, distress signals (EPIRBs, PLBs and flares), radios, GPSs, fire extinguishers and other miscellaneous equipment (lighting, bilge pumps and anchors).
Recfishwest believe personal responsibility is the most important factor in improved safety outcomes, however, we are keen to hear your thoughts on these proposed changes.
The safety review was long overdue and Recfishwest welcome attempts to simplify the safety equipment required for recreational vessels. Whether you fish from a kayak, a tinny or a more substantial boat we encourage you to take a look at the recommendations and have your say by completing theDoT safety surveybefore 22 November 2019.
The Department of Transport will also be hosting information sessions to explain these proposals at the following locations:
Date / Time
Tuesday 22 October
5.30pm – 7pm
Koombana Bay Sailing Club
Anchorage Cove, Bunbury
Saturday 26 October
2pm – 3.30pm
Mandurah Offshore Fishing and Sailing Club
115 Breakwater Parade (Ocean Marina), Mandurah
Sunday 27 October
2pm – 3.30pm
The Cruising Yacht Club of WA
2 Val Street, Rockingham
Proposals from the Recreational Vessel Safety Equipment Review
Vessel length will not restrict the distance a vessel can operate from shore.
There will be no mandated safety equipment for any vessel in protected waters or within 400 metres of any shore in unprotected waters
It will be mandatory to carry an appropriately sized lifejacket with a minimum buoyancy of Level 100 (Type 1) for each person on board any vessel when operating more than 400 metres offshore in unprotected waters
When lifejacket carriage is mandated (Proposal 3), the wearing of a level 100 or higher lifejacket will be required for each person on board:
– a vessel less than 4.8 metres;
– if they are more than one year old and under the age of 12 years on any size vessel
It will be mandatory to carry a Global Positioning System (GPS) enabled emergency position indicating radio beacon (EPIRB) on any vessel when operating more than 400 metres from shore in unprotected waters.
A GPS enabled personal locating beacon (PLB) may be carried in lieu of an EPIRB provided the PLB is worn by at least one person onboard at all times
It will be mandatory to carry two in date hand-held orange smoke flares and two in date red hand-held flares on any vessel when operating more than 400 metres from shore in unprotected waters.
An approved electronic night signalling device may be carried in lieu of flares if a GPS enabled EPIRB or PLB is also carried.
It will be mandatory to carry either a HF or VHF marine radio on any vessel when operating more than 4 nautical miles from shore in unprotected waters (27 MHz marine radios to be phased out over a 5-year period).
It will not be mandatory to carry a fire extinguisher on any vessel
It will not be mandatory to carry or have fitted a means of removing unwanted water from any vessel.
It will not be mandatory to carry an anchor or line on any vessel.
Nearly 400 kids flocked to Chinaman’s beach in Kalbarri to fish in the town’s annual Kids’ Whiting Competition run by the Kalbarri Offshore and Angling Club. This event is one of the most fun and successful kids’ fishing events in WA.
Recfishwest is a keen supporter of local fishing events such as this – they are a great day out and give kids the opportunity to learn to fish in a safe, accessible and fun environment, bringing benefits to the participants and the local community alike.
Recfishwest was once again proud to provide the Kalbarri Offshore and Angling Club with a Recfishwest Community Grant to assist with the costs of running this event.
Applications for the latest round of the Recfishwest Community Grant Program are currently open, so if you’ve got a fishing-related community project you think might be eligible – now is the time to apply!
The Kids’ Whiting Comp, takes place in Kalbarri, in the October school holidays, on two consecutive Thursdays, on the picturesque Chinaman’s beach, near the town centre.
Families arrive in Kalbarri, often a few days before, setting up camp or booking into a hotel, checking out the attractions on bikes, boat or on foot, as they spend quality family time together over the holidays.
“This event has been running for more than 30 years, it’s a really good community event. We’ve got families that come here on these school holidays because of this whiting comp and they’ve been coming for years,” says the club’s President, Cheryl Eley.
“Applying for a community grant to get this event up and running is really no hurdle. It’s all volunteer-led, so the Community Grant we receive from Recfishwest eases the financial burden. We use the funds to buy equipment and prizes for the kids.
“Any funds raised from the event itself are then used to improve fishing facilities in the town. We’ve improved the boat ramp, the fish filleting stations and the floating jetty and we’re always driving to improve facilities for rec fishers. It’s good to see our licence fee money being put back into the community.”
Once caught the fish are taken to the the weigh-in station, where their weight is recorded, before they are placed in the live tank for viewing.
All species have a place on the scoreboard, with a wide variety of fish species being caught including whiting, bream, flathead, flounder and the odd blue swimmer crab – there was even an estuary cod caught this year. All fish are released at the end of the comp.
And what better way than through a catch and release event to introduce your kids to fishing? The kids get to learn how to measure and weigh the fish, as well as learning about fishing for the future.
Given the strong community spirit tapped by the event, everyone wants to chip in, including kids that are now too old for the competition eagerly volunteering their time to help run the event each year. Local businesses donate some of the prizes including clothing, fishing equipment and vouchers for the whole family to enjoy as well as donations for the sausage sizzle.
Clearly, the whiting comp is in the very fabric of the Kalbarri community and we’re already looking forward to next year’s event.
With the trout season now in full swing and the spring weather allowing you to get out and enjoy WA’s beautiful South West, we’d like to take the time to reflect on our recent Troutfest event.
More than 300 people joined us at Drakesbrook Dam on August 31 to help the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, the Pemberton Trout Hatchery and Recfishwest stock the dam with hundreds of brown and rainbow trout.
Families and kids of all ages got their feet wet and their hands dirty as they helped us bring fish of varying sizes to the water before carefully sending them on their way.
The event also saw members from the Australian Trout Foundation and Western Australian Trout and Freshwater Angling Association share their knowledge with attendees on all things fishing, including casting lessons, bait and lure fishing techniques and rigging.
Some lucky trout fishing newbies got to actually catch a trout, take some snaps and share the joy with their friends and family. It was great to see so many people enjoying the licence-free Father’s Day weekend and spend time in the majestic landscape of WA’s South West.
All up, the day was a fitting celebration of WA’s fantastic freshwater fishery that brings thousands so much pleasure, as well as helping support the South West’s and the Peel regions’ regional economies.
Troutfest plays part of a carefully managed stocking program, using hatchery reared trout grown from freshwater fishing licence revenue to enhance the fishery and therefore provide better fishing for all. With the Minister announcing an exciting new initiative at Troutfest – the launch of the WA Inland Fisheries Research Advisory Committee, we are confident this will steer the future direction of research and development of inland fisheries, securing a brighter future for the WA trout and freshwater fishery in Western Australia.
It’s not just Drakesbrook that received all the trout love though. Trout have recently been released in many of WA’s south-west waterways including Blackwood River, Brunswick River, Harvey River, Logue Brook Dam, Big Book Dam and Waroona Dam, in sizes from fry right up to ex-brood stock. Check out where you can fish for trout here.
Trout are a species that can really float your boat and have you thinking of nothing else, so if you’re new to trout fishing and keen to have a go, find out all you need to know about trout fishing here.
Thank you again to our partners who helped make Troutfest a great success and we look forward to your support next year: Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, the Pemberton Trout Hatchery, Shire of Waroona, the Waroona Visitor Centre, Waroona Lions Club, Alcoa, Australian Trout Foundation and the Western Australian Trout and Freshwater Angling Association (WATFAA).
Also thank you to those that entered our Troutfest event feedback form, congratulations to Patrick Umali who was picked out of the hat to win our freshwater prize pack.
Check out our selection of pictures from the day below (click on each image to see a larger vision).
Recently, Recfishwest CEO Andrew Rowland visited Exmouth Game Fishing Club to announce a community partnership that will see BHP fund the Recfishwest Exmouth Reef Vision program over the next two years.
Reef Vision is a world-first citizen science program in which more than 100 community volunteers gather underwater video footage of some of WA’s most valued species, by dropping cameras over the side of their boats and onto the state’s artificial reefs. It was great to see some of these valued volunteers join Recfishwest at the fishing club earlier in the week (as seen in top banner).
This new partnership will help monitor the development and success of the reefs’ ability to increase fish productivity and therefore create greater, safe and accessible fishing opportunities for small boat fishers.
The announcement, coinciding with National Science Week, reflects an evolving partnership between Recfishwest and BHP with BHP throwing its weight behind the King Reef project deployed in the safe waters of the Exmouth Gulf only a year ago.Read more about King Reef and find out it’s location here.
King Reef is now a very important part of fishing in the Exmouth Gulf and the local community have really embraced it by becoming the stewards of the reef and helping capture some amazing footage – so without their efforts, Exmouth Reef Vision simply wouldn’t be what it is today!
Six large steel structures, along with 49 concrete modules, were deployed across more than two acres of barren seafloor, roughly the equivalent of five footy ovals. A partnership between Recfishwest, Subcon, BHP, National Energy Resources Australia (NERA) and the WA State Government meant Western Australia had its first look at a reef concept never seen before in Australia.
Recfishwest engaged with the fishing club in Exmouth six years ago about their vision to create a small boat fishing reef in the gulf – and to now have the reef in the water, to hear the fishing reports and see the video of the reef’s development and abundant fish life is fantastic.
The reef has already seen more than 50 different fish species recorded with more than half of those being some of our favourite species including red emperor, Spanish mackerel, Rankin cod, coral trout and spangled emperor.
Artificial reefs like these are clearly a big hit for fish, which in turn attracts the fishers, who in turn are spending valuable tourism dollars in regional towns like Exmouth – $1.8 billion a year on fishing trips according to our Economic Dimensions of Recreational Fishing in Western Australia report.
So what’s next?
These reef projects are clearly a big win for the marine environment, recreational fishers, the local community and the WA economy as a whole, and we will be pushing for more of these to be developed in the future to enhance fishing opportunities for all fishers.
And it’s great we’re now seeing other industries coming to the table to partner with Recfishwest to enhance our aquatic environments to benefit the WA fishing community.
Recfishwest are proud to have driven the artificial reefs phenomenon in WA and the ongoing research into it – as well as developing a bright future for further development.
We are pleased to be at the forefront of innovative approaches creating resilient oceans, abundant fish stocks and great safe, accessible fishing opportunities for all.
For a not-for-profit organisation like Recfishwest, forging these types of partnerships really help make fishing better and we are grateful to BHP for supporting such a great project. Partnerships like this allow us to deploy more of our existing resources – both financial and human – into other areas that can also benefit the recreational fishing community such as fish stocking and infrastructure like jetties.
Our vision is to pursue healthy partnerships that create huge benefits for the wider fishing community and this initiative is another step in that direction.
Freshwater fishing in South-west WA can take you to places that are nothing short of breathtaking. There is no better time to get out with your friends or family and enjoy fishing the beautiful streams and rivers or dams in the South-west than the upcoming spring months.
Trout are stocked each year in WA to provide anglers a unique opportunity to chase this prized fish amongst some of nature’s finest backdrops in our southern forests. These hatchery-reared trout are grown using money from freshwater fishing licences and will be stocked over winter and spring.
Earlier in the year, Recfishwest’s Freshwater Fishing Reference Group members met to discuss freshwater fishing matters including recommending stocking numbers and locations to the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development. We’re pleased to be able to share with you that this year’s freshwater fishing season will see a greater number of larger trout stocked in our South-west waterways than in previous years, allowing fishers greater opportunities to land one of these special fish!
This year’s stocking will include 685,000 rainbow fry, 6,500 advanced rainbow yearlings, 11,100 rainbow yearlings,
2,500 ex broodstock rainbows, 500 ex broodstock browns and 6,000 brown yearlings. That brings the grand total to over 700,000 trout for all of us to catch.
If you would like to get your hands dirty and help us to stock some trout this year, you can come along to our annual Troutfest event at Drakesbrook Weir at 10am on Saturday the 31st of August. Let us know you’re coming by completing the form below. This stocking event celebrates the traditional start of the freshwater fishing season by providing the community the opportunity to hand-release a few thousand trout into the waterway. The day will include the release of both rainbow and brown trout in sizes from fry (5cm) right up to ex-brood stock fish (>40cm).
Troutfest also gives people the chance to try their hand at freshwater angling as it coincides with the annual licence-free weekend. This is a great opportunity to give freshwater fishing a go for free whilst celebrating father’s day weekend.
There will also be:
Free rod hire and tuition
Free freshwater tackle and rigging information
Free fly casting lessons and demonstrations by the Western Australian Trout Fishing Association Australia
Free kids casting challenge
Fisheries Education freshwater fish display
Australian Trout Foundation promotion (find out about all the places you can go freshwater fishing!)
Hooked Gear Clothing for sale
Coarse fishing demonstrations (European style of fishing)
Lions Club Sausage sizzle
Shuttle bus to and from the Waroona Recreation and Aquatic Centre (departing every 30 mins)
For many this fishery is clouded in mystery, where in reality it is all about getting into the bush, having a cast and enjoying some of the best parts of WA. So why not bring the family along and be a part of something special! Let us know you can make it by registering below:
A big thankyou to Alcoa for their support of Troutfest 2019.
In a great win for recfishers in the Esperance/Goldfields region, Esperance Shire have announced a tender to replace the old Tanker Jetty with a state-of-the-art structure with recreational fishing accessibility and features at the heart of its design.
Recfishwest were consulted by Albany-based H+H Architects at key stages throughout the design process and we are pleased to see our input and recommendations appear to have been very much taken on board.
Once built, the 400-metre long $7.5m jetty will incorporate a number of fishing experience-enhancing features including:
A widened modern fishing jetty component which will allow enough space for fishers to fish either side of the gangway;
Lower platforms to accommodate fishing and diving access;
Fishability ‘set-downs’ to allow people in wheelchairs and scooters to fish easily from the jetty;
Jetty-based fish-cleaning station positioned over water;
Fish-friendly lighting to fishing areas; and
Fisher-friendly railings and built-in fishing seats.
There was a local community outcry when the 84-year-old jetty was closed in December 2015 due to being in a state of disrepair that left it posing an “extreme risk”.
The jetty had long been an iconic fishing spot and its closure left a big hole in available accessible fishing spots for local fishers and visiting tourists keen on wetting a line.
South East Coast Recreational Fishing Council President Graham Cooper told Recfishwest the Esperance community was pleased the new jetty had taken a step closer to becoming a reality. “A good, safe fishing platform in Esperance is a must for the local community and tourism – particularly for young fishers as there are limited land-based options in the area,” he said.
Recfishwest support the investment in facilities that make fishing accessible to everyone in the community and we gave our official backing to the Shire to secure funding for the project.
We believe once constructed the new jetty will revive and revitalise a key community fishing hub and help bring valuable dollars to the local economy through bait and tackle sales and tourism.
One potential downside to the design for the new jetty is that at least initially it won’t be as long as the old jetty which gave access to fishers to deeper water and species like samson fish and tuna. But the widening of the jetty will allow more fishers access onto the jetty and our understanding is that the design could allow for future extension of the structure.
While there is a way to go yet before the dream of a new Esperance jetty is realised – the announcement of a five-week tender for its construction and the Shire’s commitment to a 10-step plan for the deconstruction of the old jetty and its replacement with a new ýoubeaut’ one is great news for the recfishing community.
For many decades the old Tanker Jetty provided immense value to generations of recreational fishers from all walks of life, some chasing a feed of herring to enjoy with their family and friends and others endlessly casting stickbaits off the end for that elusive bonito.
It was also enjoyed by divers, snorkelers, walkers and nature enthusiasts, many of the latter which were charmed by the resident sea lion. With a design that incorporates heritage values and, once built, will incorporate some of the recycled materials from the original jetty, it is hoped the new structure will continue to add to the old Tanker Jetty’s legacy.
Recfishwest will continue to monitor the progress of the project ensuring it moves along to a successful outcome for the fishing community and for the local economy with the dollars that recfishers bring to the town and the region.
In October, 2018, Fisheries Minister Dave Kelly announced a ‘buyback’ scheme –known as a Voluntary Fisheries Adjustment Scheme (VFAS) – for commercial fishing licences in the Peel-Harvey Estuary.
This announcement was welcomed by the recreational fishing community and honoured an important election commitment the McGowan Government made to recreational fishers to allocate more blue swimmer crabs and yellowfin whiting to recreational fishing in the estuary.
In a recent development, the Minister announced an extension to the VFAS scheme, which will give commercial operators until June 2020 for the opportunity to submit an offer for consideration under the scheme.
At the time of the original deadline for offers in April this year, the broader outcomes of an ongoing management review of the fishery were still unknown. Recfishwest understand that without this clarity, it was difficult for commercial operators to make a decision to give up a licence through the VFAS scheme.
Given the significant benefit to recreational crabbing and fishing in the Peel-Harvey from a well-subscribed VFAS scheme, we support the Minister’s decision to allow commercial operators more time to give up their licence in light of the management review outcomes.
We will continue to keep you updated on further developments in this highly popular recreational fishery.