Trophy flathead fisheries

Anglers must release all Dusky Flathead over 70cm in length.

DPI has commenced a "trophy flathead fishery" concept in a number of waterways including key Recreational Fishing Havens such as St Georges Basin and Tuross Head on the NSW south coast and Lake Macquarie on the central coast.

The concept aims to further protect Dusky Flathead while allowing anglers to experience the thrill of catch and release fishing.

This unique angler driven initiative involved the introduction of a voluntary code of practice for the release of large flathead as well as a trophy flathead tagging program in selected waterways to provide research data on this important recreational species.

The trophy fishery program continues to maximise flathead stocks, provide enhanced angling opportunities and has the potential to increase local tourism.

Anglers are encouraged to follow the voluntary Trophy Fishery Code of Practice when fishing in for large Dusky Flathead in NSW.

Trophy Flathead Code of Practice

  • Use appropriate tackle to enable fish to be subdued as quickly as possible. Four to six kilo outfits are preferred when targeting trophy flathead.
  • Use lures when possible to avoid deep hooking. If using bait, non-offset circle hooks in 1/0-5/0 are preferred. If a fish is deep hooked, cut the line as close as possible to the fish’s mouth before release.
  • Use a large knotless landing nets to land trophy flathead. Leaving the fish in the net in the water for 3-5 minutes will allow it to recover, making for much easier and safer handling.
  • Handle flathead with wet gloves.  If measuring your fish on a “brag mat”, ensure the mat is wet. Minimise the time the fish is out of the water. Support the fish’s weight with both hands. Do not “hang” the fish by its jaws. To minimise potential injury - rather than using lip grippers, use a gloved hand to grip the fish by the lower jaw.
  • Carefully release the fish as close as possible to where it was caught. Hold the fish in the water until it recovers and is able to swim away strongly.

Fishers can also watch a short educational video detailing best practice release tips for trophy sized flathead.

This is all part of ‘Fish for life – Building a healthy fishing future’.