Permitted and prohibited freshwater fishing methods

Permitted

The following fishing rules apply when fishing in NSW above the tidal limits including the whole of the Murray River to the South Australian border (except Lake Hume, which is controlled by Victorian Fishing Laws), all parts of Lake Mulwala from Yarrawonga Weir wall upstream to the point where the Ovens River enters the Murray River at Bundalong boat ramp and when fishing on the NSW side of the Dumaresq, MacIntyre and Barwon Rivers (a NSW / Qld midstream border applies when fishing in these rivers).

Two attended lines are permitted in all non-tidal waters other than some trout waters. Attended lines must be within 50 metres, in your sight and have no more than 2 hooks per line & 3 treble hooks attached to a lure per line (except some trout waters). Hand lines are not permitted in trout waters.

The number of attended lines and hooks permitted is summarised in the below table.

Summary of permitted lines and hooks

Non-tidal watersMaximum attended linesMaximum hooks permitted per line
General inland waters (other than trout waters)2 (hand lines or rods and lines)2
General trout dams2 (rods and lines only)2 or 3 (being artificial flies/lures only)
General trout streams1 (rod and line only)2
Artificial fly and lure dams (no bait fishing)1 (rod and line only)3 (being artificial flies/lures only)
Artificial fly and lure streams (no bait fishing)1 (rod and line only)2 (being artificial flies/lures only)
Trout spawning streams (no bait fishing)1 (rod and line only)2 (being artificial flies/lures only)

Up to three (3) treble hooks attached  to any lure per line is permitted (a lure is considered to be a single hook).

The following baits are permitted in  general trout waters only: Natural flies or insects or their larvae, Worms,  Shrimps, Yabbies, Mussels, artificial baits (except products containing trout  and salmon roe) and plant matter.

Permitted traps and nets are the yabby trap, shrimp trap, hoop net, hand hauled yabby net and landing net. No other traps and nets are permitted in inland waters. Yabby traps must be lifted within a 24 hour period (except commercial fishers).

Legal dimensions, mesh sizes and closed areas for traps and nets are available from your local Fisheries Office. In certain waters, you may use, or have in your possession, a maximum of 5 yabby traps, 1 shrimp trap and 5 hoop (lift) nets - all tagged with your name and address. For fixed mesh, the size is calculated on the narrowest point of any axis. For soft netting such as used in hoop nets, mesh size is calculated across the diagonal.

Specific closures may prohibit the use of, or limit the number of, traps and nets.

Maximum dimensions 1 x 0.6 x 0.3 m
Mesh size 13mm minimum measured across the stretched diagonal from knot to knot. Rigid mesh such as metal or hard plastic is prohibited.
Entrance funnels A bycatch reduction device must be fitted to all entrance funnels. The device must consist of a rigid ring with a maximum internal diameter of 90mm permanently affixed to entry funnels at some point along their length, so as to restrict the entry funnels to a maximum opening of 90mm measured in any direction.
Maximum number Unless otherwise specified, five nets may be set, used or in your possession.
Identification The position of any trap must be marked above water by a buoy or tag. Identification tags and buoys must clearly display the letters "YT" with the user's initial, surname, year of birth and postcode, 15 mm in height, clearly visible and in a contrasting colour to the buoy and tag.
Maximum set time 24 hours before lifting.
Waters May be used to take yabbies and shrimp in inland waters except trout waters, closed waters and the following areas: (i) waters east of the Newell Highway (ii) the Murray River from the Newell Highway at Tocumwal downstream to the Echuca Road Bridge (iii) the Edward River from the Murray River at Picnic Point downstream to Stevens Weir and (iv) the Murrumbidgee River from Narrandera downstream to the Darlington Point Road Bridge. Help reduce wildlife drownings in yabby traps.
Maximum dimensions 0.6 x 0.5 x 0.5 m
Mesh size 13mm maximum, calculated across the diagonal.
Entrance funnels Inner hole maximum width of 35mm in order to keep out larger animals.
Maximum number Unless otherwise specified, one net may be set, used or in your possession.
IdentificationThe position of any trap must be marked at, or above, water level by a tag which clearly display the letters "ST", with the users initial, surname, year of birth and postcode, 15 mm in height, clearly visible and in a contrasting colour.
Maximum set time Cannot be left set for more than 24 hours.
WatersMay be used to take shrimp and yabbies in inland waters except closed waters and trout waters.
Maximum dimensions Net attached to no more than two hoops, rings or frames not more than 1.25 m at their greatest diameter or diagonal. Maximum drop of net to be 1 m.
Mesh size 13mm minimum, calculated across the diagonal.
Maximum number Unless otherwise specified, five nets may be set, used or in your possession.
IdentificationThe buoy must be positioned above the net, must be 50 mm above the water and must clearly display the letters "HN", with the users initial, surname, year of birth and postcode, 15 mm in height, clearly visible and in a contrasting colour to the buoy.
Maximum set time Cannot be left set for more than 24 hours.
WatersMay be used in inland waters except closed waters and trout waters (other than if used to take yabbies in Googong Dam or Lakes Lyell, Wallace, Eucumbene or Jindabyne).
Hoop net diagram
    
Maximum dimensions Up to 6 m in length.
Mesh size 40mm maximum, calculated across the diagonal.
NoteCan only be used in ground tanks, bore drains or lagoons. Must be continuously and manually propelled not set or staked.
Waters May be used to take yabbies in inland waters, being ground tanks, bore drains or lagoons. Not permitted in any river or public dam or in closed areas or trout waters.
Hand-hauled yabby net diagram

A pilot program permitting bowfishing in some specific areas will be implemented in 2015.

Prohibited

You are not permitted to:

  • Take or attempt to take any species in waters closed to fishing.
  • Possess excess fishing gear in, on or adjacent to waters.
  • Take threatened or protected species.
  • Keep prohibited size fish – prohibited size fish should be immediately returned unharmed to the water.
  • Be in possession of fish in excess of their bag limit, including transporting and storage of such fish. An exception is if the fish have been purchased from a registered fish receiver e.g. a fish shop.
  • Use any methods (e.g line fishing, traps, nets, bait collection) in closed areas
  • Sell recreational catch.

Line fishing

You are not permitted to:

  • Set line, drop line, or jag (foul hooking)
  • Use handlines in notified trout waters (rods and lines only permitted)
  • Use, carry or possess rigged lines in excess of the maximum number of attended lines permitted is an offence and heavy penalties may apply. Spare lines should not be rigged e.g. should not have hooks or lures attached, and should be properly stowed.
  • Leave hand held lines unattended unless within 50 metres and in line of sight.

Gear and methods

You are not permitted to:

  • Use gaffs in inland waters.
  • Use spears, spear guns in inland waters.
  • Use explosives, firearms or electrical devices.
  • Use fish traps, cast nets, bait nets, yabby rakes or any other equipment to take fish or invertebrates other than gear specified within the waters prescribed.
  • Use your hand (e.g. ‘tickle’) to take Trout or Salmon.
  • Use a light to take Trout or Salmon.
  • Use a hand hauled yabby net in rivers or dams to take Yabbies.
  • Use traps and nets in trout waters except lift nets in Googong Dam or Lakes Lyell, Wallace, Eucumbene or Jindabyne to take Yabbies.

Fish filleting

You must not alter the length of a fish which is subject to a minimum or maximum size limit whilst you are in on or adjacent to any waters in any manner other than by gutting, gilling and scaling. You cannot remove the head or tail. This means you can cannot fillet your fish or possess filleted fish if you are in, on or adjacent to the water. This rule does not apply if the fish are being prepared for immediate consumption, are being prepared for immediate use as bait, if the fish are being cleaned at a fish cleaning facility or a fish cleaning table at a boat ramp, or for fish that do not have a legal length.

Baits

You are not permitted to:

  • Use frogs.
  • Use live fin fish in inland waters including live Carp or other pest species.
  • Use non-native fish or parts thereof whether alive or dead, other than dead Carp.
  • Use live birds or live mammals.
  • Use prohibited size fish as bait.
  • Use Trout and Salmon roe or products containing them.
  • Use “Power bait”™ or any other similarly artificially manufactured bait product in artificial fly and lure waters and trout spawning streams.

Crayfish

You are not permitted to remove the heads, tails and claws or possess tails and or claws when you are in on or adjacent to waters. This means that you cannot remove or possess the heads, tails and claws unless you are well away from the water. This rule does not apply if the crayfish are being prepared for immediate consumption, are being prepared for immediate use as bait, if the crayfish are being cleaned at a fish cleaning facility or a fish cleaning table at a boat.