Chasing the mighty marron with a freshwater fishing expert

For Recfishwest Operations Officer Sam Russell, the month-long marron fishing season is the best time of the year!

The self-confessed “marron madman” is one of the State’s 10,000 marron licence holders who loves chasing the iconic freshwater species endemic to our South West from noon on 8 January to ​noon on 5 February, inclusive, each year.

There’s still time to catch a feed of marron this season, so Sam has shared his helpful tips!

Recfishwest’s Sam Russell is a self-confessed “marron madman” and has an affinity for the iconic South West freshwater crustacean.

Recfishwest: What got you into marron fishing, Sam?

SR: I’m a Collie boy at heart, having grown up there, and marroning is definitely a popular pastime for a large part of the community. One of my first fishing experiences was catching marron in a neighbour’s dam when I was younger, and it’s something I’ll never forget.

RFW: What do you enjoy most about the South West’s freshwater marron fishery?

SR: For me, the scenery plays a big part in why I love it. Chasing marron in the South West’s pristine bushlands is an incredibly enjoyable fishing experience. The challenge of catching a marron with a snare also adds to the theatre. And, not to mention, that they taste pretty great as well!

RFW: What are your favorite spots to go for marron?

SR: I like to fish a wide variety of locations for marron. Most of the South West rivers and dams will hold marron, so it really does pay off to do a bit of exploring and try out different spots. If you’re new to marron fishing, dams are a really great place to start.

Locations like Harvey Dam, Waroona Dam and Logue Brook offer safe, accessible marron fishing opportunities for fishers of all skill levels.

In 2019, Premier Mark McGowan and Recfishwest launched a three-year stocking program in 2019 which will have seen 300,000 marron released into Peel and South West freshwater waterways by the end of this year, which is very exciting for the fishery!

RFW: For fishers new to marroning, what gear do they need?

SR: A snare, or a “bushman’s pole” depending on who you’re talking to, is the most enjoyable way to catch a feed of marron.

All you need is your snare, a quality head torch, a hessian bag to keep your catch in and some chook pellets.

Head to your target location, preferably at night because this is when marron are generally most active, and place a couple of handfuls of chook pellets close to the bank about 10m to 15m apart.

Wait half an hour and then check your baits for marron. If you see a marron on your bait, carefully loop the snare under the tail of the marron from behind, then pull up quickly when your snare reaches about where the carapace meets the tail. It is hard and does take some practice!

Try to only shine your torch as far ahead of you as you can reach with your snare. Also, remain as stealth as you can because marron are fast and will quickly slip back underneath the cloak of darkness if you’re not quiet.

You can also fish for marron with scoops and drop nets, although there are quite a few rules regarding where you can use each capture method as well as specified gear dimensions. I recommend heading to the Department of Industries and Regional Development’s fisheries website and familiarising yourself with the rules before heading out.

Attempting to snare a marron or two at places such as Harvey Dam is great fun.

RFW: How’d you like cooking your marron?

SR: I love to cook marron on the barbecue. Simply cut the marron in half from the head to the tail, wash away the guts in the head and place the marron shell side down on medium heat. Scoop some butter, garlic and salt into the empty head cavity then baste this over the tail while it cooks. Cook until the meat goes white and firm then enjoy!

RFW: What fishing advice do you have for people chasing marron for the first time this season?

SR: Just get out there, have a crack, catching marron really isn’t that hard and is a fantastic way to spend an evening with family and friends. There are countless rivers and impoundments in the South West and Peel regions that hold marron. If you do your research, are willing to learn and explore some different spots, you’ll have a feed of marron in no time.

Tim Grose, of Recfishwest, with a cracking South West marron!

The start of a stocking program that could take marron fishing to the next level

Great-tasting and awesome to catch — it’s safe to say marron are a South West icon and favourite species among many WA fishers.

That’s why Recfishwest was pleased to be involved in kicking-off an important stocking program at the weekend, which will see 300,000 marron released into South West freshwater waterways over the next three years.

Recfishwest joined Jordan Parker and Scott Bell from Solair Group to release 2,300 marron into Logue Brook Dam, near Harvey.

“That felt like a lot of marron, but it’s less than one per cent of what’s going to be stocked in the next three years,” Recfishwest CEO Dr Andrew Rowland said.

WATCH: How’s this fantastic footage from the weekend’s marron release!?

Backed by the Recreational Fishing Initiatives Fund (RFIF) and announced by Premier Mark McGowan, Dr Rowland said it was great to get the pointy end of this marron stocking project underway with the first of the one-year-old marron going in the water.

“These marron have been bred at Solair Group’s Capel-based hatchery and were nurtured through the vulnerable stages of their life to maximise post-release survival,” he said.

“So, when will you be able to catch these marron? They will be legal size by next marron season.”

Two of the 2,300 stocked marron getting acquainted with their new Logue Brook home.

Safeguarding against changing environment 

An important part of this three-year program will involve scientific monitoring to determine its effectiveness with the objective of future-proofing this fishery from environmental change.

Marron are endemic to WA’s South West and provide terrific fishing experiences for the 10,000 fishers who hold marron fishing licences.

However, Dr Rowland said declining annual rainfall and reduced stream flows are placing marron populations under pressure.

“South West dams such as Harvey, Glen Mervyn, Waroona and Logue Brook will play an increasingly important role in supporting good marron catches,” he said.

“While we can’t change the weather, we can support healthy population abundances through programs like this, in turn making fishing better.”

Making fishing better

Most importantly, Dr Rowland said the stocking program was designed to enhance the fishery and was exactly the sort of initiative Recfishwest want to see fishing licence money spent on.

“We want to ensure fishers will continue to be able to explore the South West and continue to catch marron for many, many more years to come,” he said.

“The weekend’s marron release was a great start and a major step towards Recfishwest’s vision of expanding the current month-long season towards year-round marron fishing.”

This marron stocking project will help protect marron stocks from environmental pressures.