The endless waterways and beaches throughout Sydney mean there’s no shortage of places to throw in a line and pull out a fish. These are some of the best fishing spots in Sydney.

Where are the best fishing spots in Sydney?

A frequent question I’m asked is ‘Where’s a good spot to fish in Sydney?’

The thing is, there are tonnes of land-based fishing spots dotted around; it all depends on what you want to catch.

Sydney’s blessed to have a selection of the best waterways in the world. And the blessing of daylight savings allows a cheeky after-work fishing session to catch dinner and get home (or to the campground) by sunset.

Read more: How to Cook a Fish on a Campfire

With so many vantage points to sit back, relax and wet a line, it’s bloody hard to pick the best fishing spot, but after much deliberation, I’ve come up with my favourite fishing spots you can escape to in and around Sydney.

‘Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach him how to fish and he will sit in a boat and drink beer all day.’

Photo by Jasper Wilde

Fishing Spots in Southern Sydney

1. Browns Rock

Location: La Perouse
Type of fish: Bream, Trevally, Snapper, Tailor, Salmon

Take a bush walk through the beaten track from NSW Golf Course and you’ll find Browns Rock, a safe platform hidden around the corner of Congwong Bay. A blissful place to spend a sunny afternoon.

Maximise your chance of reeling in dinner with two set ups; one targeted for pan-sized bream, silver trevally, and snapper, and another heavier set up, rigged with a floating pilchard or live yellowtail for any schools of tailor or salmon that may cruise by.

You could even be lucky enough to bag yourself the odd kingfish.

How To Get There

2. Gymea Baths

Location: Gymea Bay
Type of fish: Bream, Whiting, Flathead, Flounder, Salmon, Bonito, Kingfish

One great thing the Shire has to offer is Port Hacking River – one of the cleanest waterways in Sydney. To get there, drive down a steep hill and park at the end of Ellesmere Road to access the walkway that leads to Gymea Baths.

You can fish anywhere from the bath platform for species such as bream, whiting, flathead and flounder. Often schools of salmon, bonito and even kingfish feed around the moored boats so have a heavier outfit ready.

 

Photo by Vince Fleming

 

It’s a popular spot to swim so bring a towel and cossies, or for a bit of peace and quiet, there’s a short bushwalk at the end of the baths.

How To Get There

3. Grays Point

Location: Grays Point
Type of fish: Whiting, Bream, Flathead
Best time to go: Incoming tide (low tide for sourcing yabbies)

Grays Point is the spot at which Port Hacking turns into Hacking River. These sand flats and mangroves are just a short walk from the eastern end of Grays Point Road.

It’s an awesome spot to get your feet wet and chase whiting, bream and flathead.

The best time to hunt is on the rising tide, but there are opportunities to pump fresh yabbies for live bait at low tide. If you miss the chance to grab some live bait, work soft plastics and small surface poppers at this fishing spot instead.

Looking to cast in from the shore? Swallow Rock Reserve just a little up stream is a family friendly fishing spot, and you can drive there directly.

How To Get There

4. Cooks River

Location: Brighton-Le-Sands
Type of fish: Bream, Tarwhine, Snapper, Trevally, Flathead, Salmon, Whiting
Best time to go: Early evening

Head to the northern point of Brighton-Le-Sands beach where the Cooks River spills into Botany Bay for an epic spot to set up for a flick of the rod.

As this is where freshwater and saltwater meet, there’s a wide variety of fish you could wrangle here. From salmon and snapper to whiting and flathead, it’s a bit of a lucky dip!

 

Photo by Anton Gorlin

 

Even if the fishing is slow, you’ll be entertained by the planes landing and taking off, just across the river.

Word on the street is early evening is the best time to chuck in a line.

How To Get There

Fishing Spots in Sydney Harbour

5. Parsley Bay

Location: Vaucluse
Type of fish: Leatherjacket, Trevally, Bream, Yellowtail, Kingfish, Blackfish

This is a hidden gem in Sydney Harbour that comes with the no-filter hashtag (particularly at sunset!). It’s a sheltered cove that houses a cable footbridge, secluded beach, and swimming pool, with the perfect fishing spot located just further up the bay.

There’s a jetty that holds bread and butter species such as leatherjacket, trevally, bream, yellowtail and even kingfish, with blackfish off the rock ledge to the right which are best attracted with a bread burley.

In most cases the tide is just right to fish unweighted here, letting your bait flutter down naturally works best.

How To Get There

6. Beulah Street Wharf

Location: Kirribilli
Type of fish: Flounder, Snapper, Flathead, Trevally, Bream and Squid!
Best time to go: Early morning or late evening

It’s difficult to think of a more picturesque place to sit and ponder life while you dangle a line in the water.

This wharf on the northern side of Sydney Harbour gives you an awesome view of the Opera House and Harbour Bridge towering over you. The view makes it a preposterously popular spot, so don’t expect to be there on your lonesome.

It’s a top spot for picking up some squid, but you can expect to find bream and trevally from the wharf, or flounder, snapper and flathead from the rocks close by.

This is definitely a spot you want to hit up first thing in the morning, or last in the evening to avoid an excess of currents from ferries and boats crossing the harbour.

How To Get There

Fishing Spots in North Sydney

7. Hawkesbury River

Location: Brooklyn
Type of fish: Bream, Flathead, Jewfish, Crab

If you want to make a whole fishing trip out of it, head north to the Hawkesbury River. Gather your mates and hire a self-drive boat or cruise around in a houseboat.

 

Photo thanks to DNSW

 

Once you’re on the water, the fishing spots are endless; create a burley trail and try around the surrounding islands for bream, flathead, and jewfish. It’s also known for crabs if you have a crab pot available.

You’re bound to catch something decent – if you can get past the pesky catfish!

Brooklyn Central will sort you out with a weekend vessel if you don’t happen to have one in the garage.

How To Get There

8. Manly Dam

Location: Manly Vale
Type of fish: Australian Bass, Redfin, Silver Perch, Carp

Manly Dam is the perfect spot for both fishing first-timers and avid fly-fishers and is just a 15 minute drive from Manly.

You can put the kayak in and fish from there or cast in from the banks. The wetlands just by the dam wall are said to be the best fishing spot for reeling in some dinner.

The whole area is a delightful place to spend the day, so pack a picnic and your hiking boots and stay awhile.

How To Get There

9. Clifton Gardens

Location: Clifton Gardens
Type of fish: Bream, Yellowtail, Kingfish, Garfish
Best time to go: Arrive early to get the best spot

This idyllic spot is perfect for those looking to make a full day out of their fishing trip.

 

Photo by Mathieu le Roux

 

Situated right by Chowder Bay, Clifton Gardens offers an enormous wharf to sink some bait off, a gorgeous beach to relax on, a sprawling parkland with barbeques and even a public pool.

Everyone wants a piece of this beauty, so get in early to avoid a huge crowd.

You’re sure to reel in something here, whether it be bream, yellowtail or maybe even garfish!

How To Get There

Fishing Spots in Western Sydney

10. Huntleys Point Wharf, Parramatta River

Location: Henley
Type of fish: Flathead, Bream, Mulloway, Jewfish, Lether Jacket
Best time to go: Late afternoon once the ferries stop running

Huntleys Point Wharf (AKA Gladesville Wharf) on the Parramatta River is the best spot for those who are keen to fish for the fun of it, not for dinner.

The NSW Government has warned against consuming any fish that are caught west of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, due to an increased level of dioxins found in the fish. Yikes. The government recommends catch and release only at this fishing spot – aye aye captain!

It’s best to wait until the ferries have finished up for the day so the water’s a bit calmer (and there are fewer people around).

Despite not reeling in dinner, these fishies aren’t child’s play. Pack a strong rod, line and reel.

How To Get There

Do I need a licence to go fishing in Sydney?

Yep! But don’t stress, it’s not like getting a driver’s licence – you don’t have to prove you’re a capable fisher to obtain one, phew!

Take your fishing skills to the next level! 5 Ways to Start Spearfishing (Without Spending a Fortune)

You can buy an annual licence for $35, but if you’re just looking for one to last the weekend, a three day licence is only $7.

You can buy one online, over the phone, through the Service NSW app or even at most NSW Kmart stores – nifty!

 

Get a Fishing License

What fish are biting around Sydney?

The type of fish you’ll catch in Sydney depends which fishing spot you head to, but you can expect to reel in something like this; 

  • Flathead 
  • Whiting 
  • Leatherjacket 
  • Bream 
  • Snapper 
  • Silver Perch 
  • Trevally 
  • Salmon 

And if you’re lucky, you might even get something exciting on your line (or net) like; 

  • Squid 
  • Abalone
  • Prawn
  • Lobster

The NSW Department of Primary Industries outlines the full list of both saltwater and freshwater fish and other marine animals that you can find around NSW waterways and beaches. 

 

Types of Fish in NSW

 

Are there limits on how much fish I can catch?

Definitely! The bag limit of a fish determines how many of a particular fish species a single person can catch and take home every day. 

There are also strict rules about what the size of a fish must be before you can take it home for dinner. These limits help prevent certain fish species from being overfished.

The NSW Department of Primary Industries details all of this information on their website, so there’s no excuse for taking home a fish that still had a whole life ahead of it. 

Saltwater fish limits             Freshwater fish limits

How do I measure a fish?

The length of a fish is very important in knowing whether it’s a keeper or a kiss ‘n’ let live. When measuring a fish, the NSW Department of Primary Industries says,

‘The overall measurement of a fish, whether it is fork-tailed or round tailed, is taken from the snout on the upper jaw to the end of the tail.’

Don’t forget to bring your ruler! 

How To Measure a Fish

Is it legal to fish in Sydney Harbour?

It sure is, as long as you’ve got a valid fishing licence.

Is it safe to fish in Sydney Harbour?

The Department of Health advises that any fish caught on the western side of Sydney Harbour Bridge and its connecting waterways, such as the Parramatta River, should be thrown back and not eaten, due to high levels of dioxins found in the fish and crustaceans there.

There’s also an advised dietary limit on the amount of fish that a person should consume from the eastern side of the bridge as well, so be vigilant out there!

Top Fishing Tips

  • Fresh bait is best
  • Fish as light as possible (jighead/sinker and line) – heavier gear doesn’t always mean heavier fish
  • Use a rod, reel and line that are compatible with each other
  • Fish during turning tides – check the tides before you head out with the Tides Near Me app or the NSW tide tables
  • Burley, burley, burley!
  • Bring a net to help secure your fish when reeling it in

 

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Feature photo by James Wheeler