Tips from the experts on how to avoid shark bite-off

All around Western Australia and particularly heading north of Geraldton, a lot of fishers know the frustration of losing prized hooked fish to sharks.  

Many of us have experienced the sickening thump on the line, as the rod locks over with the line sizzling off the spool as your would-be catch gets engulfed, leaving just a lifeless head to be reeled in. It’s that or worse still – a clean bite-off with all your rigs going with the ‘tax-man’ as well as your fish.  

That’s usually the dinner bell for multiple sharks to gather in the area, meaning getting hooked fish on the boat becomes a frantic race against the chasing pack.  

This scenario quickly steals not just hooked fish, but also the enjoyment out of fishing, not to mention is financially painful from lost rigs.  

As seen above, prized catches can fall victim to shark bite-off, with only portions of the fish being landed or not at all. Left image credit: Marco Fraschetti.

Unfortunately, for fishers who decide to stay in the same spot and carry on battling mother nature’s most adapted marine predator, it is more often than not a losing battle leading to high fish mortality.  

Losing high volumes of high value species to shark bite-off is avoidable though.  

While sharks might have 400 million years on us regarding perfecting hunting fish in the ocean – there are many experienced fishing experts who have great tips on how to best avoid sharks – and profanity-riddled fishing trips.  

Here is some great professional advice on avoiding the ‘men in grey suits’ from Steve Riley – owner of Exmouth Tackle & Camping Supplies and the staff from Tackle World Exmouth.

Keep moving fishing spots 

This is the simplest yet most effective tip. It is widely known that once sharks move in on your spot, it’s only going to get worse. “Don’t leave a bite to find a bite,” may be an old fishing adage that holds water – but if you’ve been successful in getting a couple of fish on the boat, it might be worth considering moving spots before the sharks join the party.

The moment your catches start falling victim to sharks, it is time to move spots immediately. Most of the time, shark bite-offs are only going to get more likely and worse the longer you stay at each fishing spot.

Avoid areas known to be shark hot-spots  

Don’t waste your time and gear going to a spot you know to have been bad for shark-bite off previously. Sharks are opportunistic feeders and will learn where it’s likely to grab an easy feed. For this reason, it is always a wise idea to fish a fair distance away from boat ramps.  

Sharks attuned to the sound of outboard motors have also been observed following boats out from boat ramps.  

Consider using shark deterrent devices  

Shark deterrents do not stop sharks entering a fishing area, but they do provide more time for anglers to land their fish, which is crucial. DPIRD research suggests the probability of sharks taking fish can be reduced by as much as 65 per cent when using deterrents.  

To get the most out of these devices, it is important to rig them properly and position them within one metre of your bait and only have one hook if using a paternoster rig setup. Regardless of using deterrents, the rate of bite-off is highly likely to increase the longer you remain in a fishing spot.  

Click on the video below for tips on how to properly rig shark deterrents like Sharkbanz

Turn your sounder and engine off once reaching your fishing spot  

Sharks have been known to sense the sonar activity from sounders and a running engine can also bring them in knowing fishers will start dropping a line.  

One crucial step to avoiding sharks is stealth. If you are confident in the reliability of your engine, switch it off at each spot along with your sounder. If your engine can be tricky to start, avoid turning it off and simply move spots frequently.  

The sonar emitted from your sounder and the rumble of boat engines is known to attract sharks, which can quickly turn treasured fishing spots into ‘shark city’ when you drop a line.

Try putting your reel in free-spool if your fish is being chased by a shark 

It is a natural reaction to try and ‘skull drag’ fish into the boat when they are being chased down by attempting to reel it in as quickly as possible. Many fishers think burning the forearms and biceps is the way to go when sharks are lurking, but in reality, you are tipping the odds back in their favour.  

Sharks have 20-50m rapid bursts of speed, then fatigue quickly. Let the fish’s endurance work in your favour.  

Once your fish is in the clear and also starts experiencing fatigue, chase it down in your boat – then get it in quickly.

Sharks fatigue quickly and will attempt to attack fish using short bursts of energy. If your fish has a shark hot on its tail, flip your bail arm over on your reel to free spool your line and allow the fish to outswim the shark and tire it out.

Leave the burley bucket and bait at home 

Sure, bait and burley work well in attracting the fish to your hook, but those scents are picked up even more acutely by sharks.  

Lures, jigs and soft plastics are always better options in avoiding shark bite-off and oily baits such as mulies and burley will rapidly bring sharks into the area. Live-baits will also attract sharks close by.  

Avoid catch-and-release fishing  

If you have just spent a considerable amount of time pulling a demersal fish to the surface, it will be exhausted and if there are sharks in the area, it is highly unlikely that it will make it back to the bottom without being picked off.   

If you want to release a fish and improve its chances of avoiding awaiting jaws, swim the fish alongside the boat a fair distance away from where it was landed until it starts to kick.  

Hold your rod and have lures closer to the boat when trolling  

As soon as you hook a fish when trolling, you want to react as quickly as possible and create the smallest window of opportunity for sharks.  

Keeping a hand on the rod when trolling means anglers can react quicker and prevent the fish taking more line, reducing the fight time. Also, rather than trolling lures 30-50m from the back of your boat, try 15-20m instead as this will not decrease your odds of a hook-up while reducing the distance of the fish to the boat. 

When trolling, keep your hands on your rod and be ready to go in the event of a hook-up. Every second potentially counts!

Try drifting rather than anchoring  

While anchoring up can keep you locked on to your preferred spots, drifting helps you cover more ground and the sound of anchors grabbing on to structure is also known to bring in sharks.  

Keep your fishing depths to a minimum 

The deeper the water being fished, the more time you spend fighting the fish in order to bring it up to the surface. Try targeting demersals in the shallowest depths possible where they are known to roam.  

Catching coral trout in 10-15m of water will always have a better success rate of avoiding sharks than targeting them in depths of 40-50m. 

Stick to the shallower depths if you know this still produces quality fish. Greater depths mean a larger window of opportunity for sharks to take advantage of fighting fish.

Clean your fish on land rather than at sea 

Throwing the discards of your filleted fish back into the waters around your preferred fishing spots will only help accumulate more sharks in that area.  

Cleaning your fish on land for composting ensures sharks do not start gathering at popular fishing spots commonly frequented by boats. 

Try to avoid discarding fish remains out at sea near prime fishing locations and do this on land for composting. This helps in preventing sharks from congregating around spots frequented by boat fishers.

Tap into local knowledge 

If you are heading out for a fish and want to know where sharks have been highly active, simply pay a visit to your local tackle store and ask for tips. Not only do they know where the best fishing action is occurring, they can help increase your chances of avoiding shark bite-off, ensuring much more enjoyable fishing.  

Big thanks to Steve Riley – owner of Exmouth Tackle & Camping Supplies and the staff from Tackle World Exmouth for their tips.  

Playing your part in ensuring a better future for west coast demersals

While many fishers are understandably frustrated by the Fisheries’ Minister’s final decision on the future management of the west coast demersal fishery, it is clear we all need to do what we can to ensure better stewardship of these fish and to reduce fishing mortality.  

For the overwhelming majority of recreational fishers who care about these iconic fish, this is simply the right thing to do – but it also will help to further speed up the recovery of the demersal fish stocks, potentially leading to a quicker relaxing of the fishing restrictions put in place.  

Fishing mortality is the number of fish that die as a result of fishing – that does not just mean fish that end up in the esky, it also includes fish that expire because of barotrauma, bad handling, deep-hooking injuries and shark bite-off.  

Recfishers already have a very strong track-record in looking after demersals. This includes supporting increased spawning closures for pink snapper in Cockburn Sound, initiating and supporting the compulsory use of release weights, forming the Snapper Guardians stocking program and playing our part in providing samples for DPIRD’s Send Us Your Skeletons program, to mention just a few examples. 

Recfishwest is also preparing to launch the Dhufish Forever Alliance – a broad-based community alliance calling for and supporting better stewardship, better science and better management to result in a better future for west coast demersal fish.  

For all of that though, we still need to do better collectively to reduce the number of fish dying as a result of fishing, because: 

a) It’s the right thing to do and will help speed up the recovery rate; and  

b) It will give us a better chance of seeing the current rules relaxed quicker – at the moment DPIRD scientists calculate that for every two dhufish released, one will die as a result of post-release mortality. If we can reduce the number of fish released through better fishing behaviour, the stocks will rebuild quicker, resulting in better fishing experiences.  

Demersal species such as dhufish have a high post-release mortality rate and should not be targeted for catch and release fishing. Image: Marco Fraschetti.

How can you do your bit?  

Below are some of the things we should all be doing to cut down on the number of fish dying that you are not taking for the table.  

Catch and release fishing for demersals is not OK

Demersals are particularly vulnerable to barotrauma, particularly when caught in depths greater than 30 metres. Research on dhufish shows a substantial proportion of fish caught at depths over 30m die when released, with survival rate decreasing the deeper the fish are caught. 

And it’s not just barotrauma that can kill released fish – bad handling, deep-hooking and being preyed on by sharks before and after being caught and released – all takes its toll on fish numbers.  

If you see or hear people bragging about the number of dhuies they caught and released in their session, perhaps have the conversation with them in a reasoned way. Accepting and understanding that demersals are not catch and release species is in everyone’s best interest.      

Demersals should not be regarded as a sportfish. Once you’ve got what you need – and that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to fish up to your bag limit either – stop fishing for demersals and try your luck on other species.  

Targeting pelagic or inshore species other than demersal finfish are always great alternatives when fishing. Trolling for pelagics such as tuna can be a great adrenaline rush, while fishing for squid can provide a delicious feed. Image left: Fishin’Wishin Life

Switch your fishing

There are plenty of other options – troll for some tuna, jig for a Samson fish, target yellowtail kingfish around shallow reefs – come inshore with smaller baits for whiting or put a jig out for some tasty squid.  

While dhuies and snapper have been the mainstay of recreational boat fishing for decades, there are many excellent options for catching a feed of fish along the west coast.  

Use release weights to return demersal finfish species in water depths greater than 10m 

A release weight – a simple device, pioneered by West Australian anglers, allows demersal finish to be returned to the depth they were caught from quickly, helping reduce the effects of barotrauma and assisting in recovery.  

Legally, you have to have a release weight on board – but make sure they’re not just there for show. You can find our guide on how to use release weights here.

Release weights must be carried on board boats and are the best way of quickly returning unwanted demersal fish to the depths they were caught from to reduce the effects of barotrauma and increase the fish’s odds of survival.

Handle with care and release unwanted fish quickly  

Fish gills contain fragile blood vessels which can become easily damaged by human hands and excessive force. So, if you’re going to return a fish, avoid sticking your hands in behind the fish’s gill plates and keep your fingers away from their eyes.  

Cradle the fish by placing your wet hands and forearm (if additional support is required) under its belly and supporting its body weight, with the other hand around the tail.  

You also want to avoid placing the fish on a hot deck. If you can do it, keeping the fish in the water while unhooking and attaching a release weight is the best way. if however, you are going to bring the fish on board, you can either cradle your catch gently while unhooking or place the fish on a wet towel or brag mat.  

Use a good pair of pliers to remove the hooks from the fish – if the fish is deep-hooked, cut the line off as close to the fish’s mouth as possible. Trying to get the hook out when a fish is deep-hooked can lead to fatal damage to its vital organs.  

If you want to take a picture of your catch before releasing it, have your phone or your camera gear to hand and ready to go so a fish can be photographed and returned as quickly as possible with minimal fuss.  

Click here to read Recfishwest’s correct fish handling practices  

It is crucial to handle demersal finfish correctly by avoiding touching their gills, cradling the fish’s belly, not placing them on hot surfaces, using pliers to remove hooks and cutting the line as close to the fish’s mouth as possible if they are deep-hooked. (Image left: Marco Fraschetti. Image right: Paul Cunningham).

Look after the fish you’re keeping

A fish’s eating quality starts deteriorating from the moment it is caught, so dispatch it quickly and get it in an ice slurry to keep it fresh. These are prized fish, and we want to ensure the best possible eating quality is maintained. 

Change up your spot if sharks are around  

If you get ‘sharked’ once it is usually only going to go one way from there. Sharks are opportunistic predators and if they get a free feed of a big demersal species, they are going to stick around and attack any other fish that is hooked. Avoid giving the taxman a free lunch at the expense of our demersal stocks move spots.

Click here for the best tips on avoiding sharks from accomplished fishers and tackle store experts.

If any of your demersal catches start falling victim to shark bite-off, it is time to move spots immediately. Do not try and battle it out against the ocean’s most adapted marine predator.

Join our Dhufish Forever Alliance

We want to build an alliance everyone can get behind who cares about the future of dhufish and all our west coast demersals. By joining the alliance, you will be demonstrating your commitment to ensuring there will be plenty of these fantastic fish around for us all to enjoy in the future. 

Click here for more details on Recfishwest’s Dhufish Forever campaign and how to join it

Working together to protect our image

If you’re already doing all of the things above, that’s great, but you can still play your part by encouraging friends, family, members of your fishing club or in your fishing social media forums to do the same.  

If anything, the last few months have shown us we need to work together more as a community to protect these important fish – one of the practical ways you can do that is by engaging with other fishers and encouraging them to do the right thing as well. 

With our way of life under increasing pressure from stringent fishery management rules, some conservationists’ and animal rights activists’ agendas, we also need to give some thought as to how our behaviour comes across to the wider community and other groups.  

For example, while it may get some likes off your mates on Facebook, is hanging a bloody dhuie from your backyard washing line for a trophy shot a good look? Is that really respecting these fantastic fish that give us all so much pleasure and magic fishing experiences?  

We are not talking about being the fun police here, everyone has the right to do what they want so long as it is within the boundary of the law.  

However, we can all play a role in calling this kind of stuff out in a reasonable and reasoned manner as it could impact on all of our fishing experiences. 

If we all work together to improve the stewardship of these fish and reduce demersal mortality rates, we will speed up the recovery of the demersal fish stocks, potentially leading to a quicker relaxing of the fishing restrictions put in place for more better experiences catching these special fish.

Banner image credit: Fishin’Wishin Life & Marco Fraschetti

Scott’s Species — Sand whiting, great fun and easily accessible for the whole family

Sand whiting

Sillago vittata

Eating: 4.5 stars

ID – Narrow bars of brown spots across the back.

The ubiquitous sand whiting. Rarely the target of a day’s fishing, but prolific, fun to catch and fantastic eating, as well as decent bait.

Actually officially known as western school whiting as we don’t get true sandies in WA, they are a staple of WA fishing despite their low profile. They don’t get the love of their larger King George and yellowfin relatives, but are still an important fish in our waters.

I have fond memories of some fun trips off the northern suburbs of Perth a few years ago, in a friend’s boat, drifting in 10-20m of water and catching a magnificent feed of sand whiting (along with the odd goatfish and many tiny little flatties that were very spiky!).

Larger sand whiting passing the 30cm mark tend to be caught in slightly deeper water, with small strips of squid on paternoster rigs working best.

A simple paternoster rig with a heavy enough sinker to get to the bottom and a couple of small hooks was all that was needed, along with some little pieces of squid for bait. However, their main food source is actually small crustaceans. Other bait options include coral prawn and whitebait. The durability of squid on the hook takes some beating though and that means you are not baiting up again every few moments.

We caught loads of sandies this way, often catching multiple fish at a time, and the fillets were beautiful, especially when you got fish around the 30cm mark. Sandies grow to about 35cm, and certainly get quite plump at that size. Their delicate white flesh is a treat on the plate.

Of course, sandies aren’t just an offshore species either and any beach angler who has wet a line in the surf as far north as Geraldton has caught them. Sometimes the little ones are in plague proportions right at your feet, picking at baits meant for much bigger fare.

Sand whiting are a great species to target for kids off the beaches and via boating, as seen on the left at Kalbarri’s Kids Whiting Competition and on the right, with three-year-old Zachary Thake catching his very first fish.

A little flick rod and small baits can mean some great fun while waiting for the bigger fish to bite. It’s especially enjoyable fishing for kids, as there is no need for long casts or heavy tackle. Not to mention that fresh sandies are an ideal bait for bigger surf predators such as mulloway, tailor and salmon.

It does seem that the better class of sandies are usually in that slightly deeper water though. We get some really nice ones in Albany’s King George Sound, and the shipping channel into Cockburn Sound is noted for them.

Drifting likely ground is a productive approach and you will find patches of fish, but you could also anchor once you encounter some action. At the end of the day, no one in the house will complain if you return with a feed of fresh sand whiting!

Correct blowfish care – keep our marine ecosystems clean and pets safe

Abundant throughout estuaries and coastal waters across the South-West of WA, blowfish or “blowies” are often regarded by anglers as a menace, with schools of blowies making quick work of baits and decreasing a fishers’ chances of catching other species.  

We’ve all been there – the morse code taps on the line signaling the arrival of a school of these opportunistic feeders, quickly leading to a persistent feeding frenzy forcing anglers giving up on their fishing spots. 

Then there’s the effort to remove hooks from their small mouths and buck teeth, with hooks commonly being bent or snapped by their strong jaws.  

While blowies will never win a popularity contest, they play a crucial role as scavengers and keep marine and estuarine environments clean by eating up discarded scraps, burley and bait.  

If you catch them you should treat them like any other unwanted fish and return them to the water quickly.  

Leaving dead blowies lying around jetties, rock walls and river-banks is not only a bad look for our fishing community, they also pose a potential life-threatening hazard to people’s pet dogs if eaten.

While they are widely considered a nuisance to fishers across WA, blowfish play a crucial role in keeping our waterways clean and need to be returned to the water as quickly as possible. 

The toxic traits of our spikey mates

Blowies’ bodies contain the lethal toxin called tetrodotoxin. This is the same toxin that is found in blue-ringed octopus bites. While it is safe to handle blowfish, eating them causes paralysis and this can be fatal for dogs if blowfish wash up or are discarded on our shoreline.  

While fish such as tuna, tailor and mulloway can feed on blowfish without experiencing the ill-effects from their toxin, our furry companions are unable to do this.  

If a dog is off the lead, they can quickly ingest a blowfish that has washed up on the shore before their owner realises what has happened. So, if you find a blowfish washed up on our shore, it is important to put it in the bin to keep it out of the path of dogs.  

If your pooch does get one down, take the dog to a veterinarian immediately to induce vomiting and reduce the odds of the toxin being absorbed.   

Blowies are common along our South-West coastline and are frequently encountered when using smaller hooks to target smaller species such as whiting, bream and herring.

How to avoid blowies when fishing

Use bigger hooks and less burley. This decreases the chances of blowies being hooked due to their smaller mouths. If using burley, try using only a smaller amount as larger displacements mean more blowies will pick up the scent.  

Move spots frequently. Blowies will often gather around popular fishing spots such as marinas, jetties and rock walls due to the presence of baits and scraps. If they are becoming more prevalent in your fishing spot, try your luck at another location.  

Use lures, not bait. Blowies absolutely love chowing down on every kind of bait you can imagine. Anything from worms, prawns, mulies, and squid to real human food such as bread, corn and meats are on their menu. If you want to catch herring for example, try using small lures instead of bait.  

Discard unused bait into bins. A smart way of keeping blowfish numbers down around your favourite fishing spot is by taking your unused bait home instead of throwing it into the water or disposing of it in a bin before you leave. Throwing bait in the water will attract more blowies and result in them congregating around that area.   

If caught, blowfish need to be treated with care and returned to the water quickly. If you find a blowfish washed up on our shore, it is important to place it in the bin or release it back into the water if it is alive to keep it out of the path of dogs.

Scott’s Species – Goldspot trevally – a much-loved sportfish of the north

Carangoides fulvoguttatus

Eating: 3 stars

ID: Elongated shape, spots along sides.

I don’t rate goldspot trevally quite as highly as goldens, which are one of my favourite sportfish to catch. It’s hard to quantify why, given they fight pretty similarly and are usually caught using the same techniques.

Maybe it’s because goldens just look that little bit nicer, and are also often found cruising shallow flats, where goldspots are more of an offshore target. Whatever the reason, it doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy catching goldspots.

Goldspots absolutely love smashing jigs, as Michael Sammut found out up north.

While they are largely a northern species usually found from Kalbarri north, they are also a bit of a current wanderer, and every year a few big ones seem to show up in the waters around Rottnest Island.

Growing to 13kg, they really come into their own in Pilbara waters and our annual trips to the Mackerel Islands normally see us catching loads of goldspots, usually in depths of 10-20m.

We’ve generally encountered them in shallowish water out to around 50m. We have also caught them from the shore around Steep Point. I can’t say I’ve caught anything up around 13kg, but certainly fish to around 10kg aren’t hard to find.

A shallow water goldspot caught via the Halco Slidog for Glenn Edwards.

On our trip the Mackerel Islands this year goldspots were everywhere, hunting down balls of bait in the shallows. We had a ball casting at bust-ups and hooking big goldspots in a few metres of water. In that environment they fight very impressively and it was a heck of a lot of fun. We also found them with groups of golden trevally, hoovering through floating weed that contained smallfish, crabs and prawns.

I’ve never found them too fussy and most artificials and baits will work on goldspots when they are around. They seem particularly partial to shiny things and metal jigs are extremely effective in deepish water. Lead-head jigs are also very effective on them. These days we get most of ours on stickbaits cast in shallowish water, or on soft plastic vibes such as Zerek Fish Traps.

Goldspots love to hang around structure and can often be found in big numbers in these areas. They hit hard and fight strongly, but unless you are fishing in really gnarly territory or very close to structure they don’t usually fight too dirty. I like to catch them on 7-9kg spinning gear, which enables me to enjoy their fighting qualities.

When goldspot are bustling up on the surface, poppers make for some exciting fishing.

Recfishwest on the road – our Cossack fishing clinic!

Recfishwest’s recent fishing clinic in the Pilbara town of Cossack was a major hit with the local community, enthusiastically attended by kids, adults and Elders alike all eager to wet a line!  

Taking place on beautiful Ngarluma land, the fishing clinic, run by Recfishwest, with the support of the Ngarluma Yindjibarndi Foundation Ltd, Roebourne Hub Community Resource Centre, Woodside Energy and DPIRD, saw at least 40 kids and adults arrive by buses supplied by the Yaandina Community Services and Real Employment for Aboriginal People (REFAP) to one of Cossack’s popular fishing platforms. 

As soon as the next generation of young fishers turned up and saw the rods and hand lines perched against the rocks waiting for them, they excitedly sprinted over itching to get casting!  

Over 40 fishers from the Roebourne community both young and old tried their luck at catching a wide range of species, with many having success!

Recfishwest acknowledges the Traditional Owners of the land and sea, and we pay our respect to Elders past, present and future. We recognise the strength, resilience and capacity of traditional custodians in managing and caring for the land and sea. We acknowledge and respect their continuing culture and the contribution they make to life in WA.

Running for around five hours, it was clear that none of the fishers wanted to take breaks either! Attendees fished non-stop and landed great species such as golden trevally, bream, honeycomb cod, estuary cod and others.  

Around 30 rods and 15 hand lines made available from Recfishwest were handed out to attendees and our team was kept busy baiting the hooks of fishers, who were happily educated and entertained with fishing tips and bites.  

With a strong connection and knowledge of sea country, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities share many of the same values as recreational fishers and those in and around Cossack were no exception!    

The care for the sustainability of these species was evident by all of those attending the clinic, with a majority of fish caught and carefully and quickly released back into the pristine waters.  

Recfishwest’s Sam Russell said, “We had just as much fun coordinating this fishing clinic as the friendly kids and Elders did in wetting a line. Their connection to the land and sea and passion for fishing was abundantly clear and it was awesome to see fishing bringing people together in this way,” said “There was plenty of fish biting and seeing everyone coming together and catching a few was one of those moments that make doing what we do so special – we can’t wait to come back next year.”  

Danielle East, Woodside Communities Advisor for Corporate Affairs in Karratha, said, “The event was incredibly successful and the feedback we have received from participants has been very positive. Community members are already asking when there will be another clinic!” said Danielle. 

“We certainly would like to see more of these types of activities in the future. The knowledge sharing that was made possible from this event was invaluable. Not only the information the Recfishwest team could share with community, but the knowledge the Elders were able to share with Recfishwest was very useful too.” 

It’s clear how important fishing is for regional aboriginal community members, who have a strong cultural connection to the land and waters.

Our Recfishwest team are also excited to head back to Cossack next year and engage with community members.  

“We’d like to thank NYFL and the Roebourne community for their warm welcome and Woodside Energy for funding this program, none of this would have been possible without all of you guys.”  

Make sure you check out the Ngarluma Yindjibarndi Foundation Ltd Facebook post for more images of this fishing clinic!   

Help thousands of trout dive and thrive at Troutfest 2022!

There’s nothing quite like rolling up your sleeves and helping release thousands of rainbow and brown trout into Drakesbrook Weir – and the opportunity to do this again at Troutfest for 2022 is fast approaching!

Recfishwest is once again partnering with the Shire of Waroona and DPIRD’s Pemberton Freshwater Research Centre to host the sixth annual Troutfest community fish stocking event and celebrate all things trout and freshwater fishing on Saturday, 15 October.

Troutfest is a great opportunity to jump in the drink yourself and help release multiple trout of various sizes!

Troutfest 2022
When? 15 October, 10am – 2pm
Where?
Drakesbrook Weir, Weir Road, Waroona
What to bring? Suncreen, a hat, water – fishing gear if you want – although Recfishwest will loan out gear on the day.
More info? Visit the Shire of Waroona website or contact the shire on 9733 7800.

Celebrating the South-West and Peel regions’ great trout and freshwater fishery, the event will give you the unique chance to jump in the drink at Drakesbrook Weir and help release thousands of radiant rainbow and beautiful brown trout.

This year will also see many larger yearlings and ex-broodstock rainbow and brown trout released into Drakesbrook Weir than in previous years. More larger fish released means a higher survival rate for the fish and critically more fish grabbing anglers’ lures, flies and baits!

FANCY HAVING A CRACK AT FISHING FOR TROUT? FIND OUT WHERE AND HOW HERE

Along with the opportunity to release trout, Troutfest also features several fun fishing activities including a free fishing clinic, fly-casting tuition, fly-tying demonstrations, and a casting competition for kids.

Last year, dozens of excited kids were able to catch a trout as our happy snaps show – and this year will be no different. This is what trout fishing is all about – fishing fun in our great outdoors in our spectacular South-West!

Not only can you help release multiple trout, our Recfishwest crew will provide tips on how to catch them!

“Troutfest is a great celebration of this fantastic fishery,” said Recfishwest CEO Dr Andrew Rowland. “It showcases the value that fish stocking plays in helping future proof our fisheries and creating fish abundance for great fishing. The fishing is always better when the fish are biting.”

“Anglers visiting South-West freshwater dams, streams and rivers helps inject more than $20 million annually into the regional economy, but there is great potential for growing the fishery and boosting that economic injection even further.

“We want to work closely with Government to create more places for people to fish for freshwater species, where they can catch fish in safe, accessible, and family oriented fishing locations.

“DPIRD already does a great job with their Pemberton-based trout hatchery, but with great collective will and vision from the Government, an expansion of the freshwater fishery could unlock huge social, economic and fishing benefits for the community.”

Recfishwest, through its Freshwater Fisheries Reference Group, advises DPIRD on where to stock trout each year.

Recfishwest thanks Daiwa as our community fish stocking partners, our Troutfest partner in the Shire of Waroona, along with our supporters in Alcoa, Healthway, Fishability and Act, Belong, Commit for helping us run this event for another year.

We’re very excited to have Daiwa by our side as Recfishwest’s community fish stocking partners, make sure you pay Troutfest 2022 a visit!