Recreational fishing

Red Morwong

Port Stephens has long been known for its clean waters, offshore islands and abundant fish life, and the park has many fantastic recreational fishing opportunities. Of course, always check the zones and management rules in Port Stephens-Great Lakes Marine Park Zoning Map and User Guide before you head off.

NSW Marine Park Zoning Maps are available for free on mobile devices:

  • the FishSmart app is available on iOS and Android and provides all the essential information you need for recreational fishing in NSW
  • alternatively, download the Avenza Maps app on iOS or Android. Once the app is installed, go to the Avenza Map Store and search for “DPI Fisheries" to find all available maps. Find further guidance on how to download Avenza maps.

Some of the content on this page may not be fully accessible. To obtain an accessible version of this content contact the author marine.estate@marine.nsw.gov.au.

Offshore

  • Target the outer reefs and islands for snapper, jewfish and kingfish.
  • Chase bream, flathead and whiting inside the port.
  • Find plenty of fishing opportunities off jetties, break walls and coastal beaches.
  • Find out about fish aggregating devices (FADs) in the area.

Estuary

  • Discover excellent fishing for whiting, flathead, bream or mulloway inside the port, Karuah River and Myall tributaries.
  • Smiths Lake also offers good fishing for a variety of species.

Rocks and beaches

A huge variety of rock platforms are scattered throughout the park.

  • Score snapper from the rocks, especially after a period of rough weather.
  • Mulloway and whiting beach fishing is best during summer and autumn.

Several charter fishers operate in the park; visit Destination NSW for more information.

What you need to know

  • Before you go fishing, pick up a Port Stephens–Great Lakes Marine Park Zoning map (PDF, 3371.69 KB) and User Guide (PDF, 3078.08 KB) either online, from local bait and tackle stores, tourist information centre, from the Marine Park office or on your mobile device.
  • Some species are protected from fishing or collecting in habitat protection zones. Check out which species you can take in habitat protection zones of Port Stephens-Great Lakes Marine Park.
  • Any vessel may transit through a sanctuary zone. When transporting fishing gear through a sanctuary zone (that is, to or from a place where the fishing gear may be lawfully used) such gear must be in the 'authorised state'. This means any fishing line must be inboard and not baited, fishing nets must be clear of the water, and any other fishing gear must be stowed. Vessels anchored, moored or aground in sanctuary zones must have all fishing lines unrigged.
  • NSW fishing rules and regulations, including bag and size limits, also apply when fishing in marine parks. Most people fishing in NSW waters need to pay the NSW recreational fishing fee.
  • Make sure you fish safely.

What else can I do and see?