New South Wales Council of Freshwater Anglers
Fostering a sustainable freshwater fishery

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NSW CFA Region 1
Fishing Guide to North Coast and Ranges

The north eastern corner of NSW is famous for its Australian bass fishery but it also offers a wide range of other native species. Away from the coast, the cooler waters of the Northern Tablelands were some of the first waters stocked with trout in NSW and a century of volunteer effort by the local acclimatisation societies, working together with NSW Fisheries, has resulted in some of the best trout fishing in the State. Further west, all the State's native inland species can be found in rivers and stocked impoundments.

Types of fishing
Bait fishing, lure fishing and fly fishing are all popular and successful. Fishing is possible from boats, canoes and from the bank in many areas, but the region also offers unique remote wilderness fishing experiences. Major impoundments stocked with native fish offer a variety of boat-based angling opportunities.

Fish to catch
Australian bass, brown trout, rainbow trout, freshwater catfish, Murray cod, redfin, silver perch and golden perch, river blackfish, European carp. Eastern cod are also found in the Clarence and Richmond watersheds but are totally protected.

Places to fish
On the coast, freshwater fishing can be found around the towns of Taree, Wauchope, Kempsey, Coffs Harbour and Casino, On the tablelands, there's plenty of fishing around Armidale, Uralla and Inverell and slightly lower down, Scone, Tamworth and Gunnedah.

Popular stocked impoundments include Beardy Waters Dam, Chaffey Dam, Clarrie Hall Dam, Copeton Dam, Dumaresq Dam, Gara Dam, Lake Inverell, Keepit Dam, Pindari Dam, Sheeba Dams, Split Rock Dam, St Phillips Wetlands, Toonumbar Dam. Most of these have camping and other recreational facilities, many are suitable for boat angling. For detailed information on each location refer to Industry & Investment NSW's excellent guidebook, A Guide to Stocked Lakes and Dams in NSW.

Stream fishing is extremely varied. On the coast, there are native freshwater species in every river, with the eastern flowing Tweed, Richmond, Clarence, Manning, Macleay and Hastings River systems all holding Australian bass. Freshwater catfish and freshwater herring occur in most large coastal stream. The upper reaches of some streams (eg the Manning, Macleay and Clarence) hold the occasional trout in good seasons.

The western flowing streams of the New England area feed into the Murray-Darling Basin. The higher, cooler streams are some of the best trout waters in NSW, and include the Gara, Wollomombi, Apsley, Styx, Serpentine and Guy Fawkes Rivers. Small feeder creeks on these rivers are worth exploring, but as in all parts of NSW, always ask permission before venturing onto private property.

As the western flowing streams descend across the Western Slopes, they enter prime native fish areas where both rivers and dams hold Murray cod, silver perch, golden perch and catfish. Best places are the Dumaresq River (and Dumaresq Dam), the Mole River which holds both trout and natives, the Severn River (flows into Pindari Dam and then into the Macintyre River), the Gwydir River which flows through Copeton Dam, the Manilla River, Peel River and Namoi River.

Fly-fishing, New England district. Photo Philip Weigall

Tips for visitors
. Always ask permission to enter private property. Most streams and impoundments are public waters but the land around them is often private property. If in doubt, politely ask permission.
2. Many of these streams are affected by summer heat and irrigation extraction so they usually fish best in spring and autumn.
Impoundments were mostly built for irrigation storages, so levels vary greatly in summer... be careful of boating hazards such as dead trees and exposed rocks.
4. Visit Dutton Trout Hatchery. LP Dutton Trout Hatchery, on the Waterfall Way between Ebor and Armidale, is a government owned trout hatchery and its operation is partly funded by your fishing licence fees. It breeds trout for the stocking of all northern and central NSW waterways. Call them on (02) 6775 9139 to check opening hours and tour times.

Weather information
Click here for a direct link to Bureau of Meteorology forecasts for this region.

Safe fishing guide
Click here to link to, from the Recreational Fishing Alliance of NSW



Useful info and links

NSW Department of Industry and Investment (Fisheries)

Freshwater fishing guide
Click here for NSW DII's guide to freshwater fishing in NSW

An angling licence is required for all these waters
Click here for recreational angling licence information from NSW DII

Fishing regulations apply
Click here for information from NSW DII on fishing seasons, closures, gear regulations and species size and catch regulations.

Tackle shops and boating

Manning Valley Tackle
8 Manning St
Taree 2430
Tel 02 6552 4161

Mo Tackle
144 Pacific Highway
Coffs Harbour 2450
Tel 02 6652 4611

Got any info that should be added here? Click here to email us and let us know.


Armidale Visitors Centre & Coach Station
82 Marsh Street, Armidale, New South Wales 2350
Ph: (02) 6772 4655
Ph: 1800 62 7736

Ballina Visitor Information Centre
Cnr River Street & Las Balsas Plaza, Ballina, New South Wales 2478
Ph: (02) 6686 3484

Bellingen Shire Tourist Information Centre
Pacific Highway, Urunga, New South Wales 2455
Ph: (02) 6655 5711

Bingara Tourist Information Centre
Roxy Theatre Building, Maitland Street, Bingara, New South Wales 2404
Ph: (02) 6724 0066

Byron Bay Visitor Centre
80 Jonson Street, Byron Bay, New South Wales 2481
Ph: (02) 6680 8558

Casino Visitor Information Centre and Platypus Gallery
86 Centre Street, Casino, New South Wales 2470
Ph: (02) 6662 3566

Chillingham Visitor Centre
1469 Numinbah Road, Chillingham, New South Wales 2484
Ph: (02) 6679 1633

Clarence Coast Visitor Information Centre
Ferry Park, Pacific Highway, Maclean, New South Wales 2463
Ph: (02) 6645 4121

Clarence River Visitor Information Centre

Cnr Spring Street and Pacific Highway, South Grafton, New South Wales 2461
Ph: (02) 6642 4677

Coffs Coast Visitor Information Centre
Cnr Pacific Highway and McLean Street, Coffs Harbour, New South Wales 2450
Ph: (02) 6652 1522

Forster Visitors Centre
2 Little Street, Forster, New South Wales 2428
Ph: (02) 6554 8799

Glen Innes Visitor Information Centre
152 Church Street, Glen Innes, New South Wales 2370
Ph: (02) 6730 2400

Greater Port Macquarie Visitor Information Centre
Cnr Gordon and Gore Streets, Port Macquarie, New South Wales 2444
Ph: (02) 6581 8000

Greater Port Macquarie Visitor Information Centre - Kew
Pacific Highway, Kew, New South Wales 2439
Ph: (02) 6559 4400

Inverell Visitors Information Centre
Campbell Street, Inverell, New South Wales 2360
Ph: (02) 6728 8161

Kempsey Visitor Information Centre
Pacific Highway, South Kempsey Park, South Kempsey, New South Wales 2440
Ph: (02) 6563 1555

Lake Macquarie Visitor Information Centre
228 - 234 Pacific Highway, Swansea, New South Wales 2281
Ph: (02) 4921 0740

Lismore Visitor Information Centre
Cnr Ballina & Molesworth Streets, Lismore, New South Wales 2480
Ph: (02) 6622 0122
ph: 1300 369 795

Manning Valley Visitor Information Centre
21 Manning River Drive, Taree North, New South Wales 2430
Ph: (02) 6592 5444
Ph: 1800 801 522

Murwillumbah Visitor Information Centre
Cnr Alma Street and Tweed Valley Way, Murwillumbah, New South Wales 2484
Ph: (02) 6672 1340
Ph: 1800 674 414

Nambucca Valley Visitor Information
Riverside Drive, Nambucca Heads, New South Wales 2448
Ph: (02) 6568 6954

Nimbin Visitors Centre

81 Cullen Street, Nimbin, New South Wales 2480
Ph: (02) 6689 1234

Port Stephens Visitor Information Centre

Victoria Parade, Nelson Bay, New South Wales 2315
Ph: (02) 4980 6900
Ph: 1800 808 900

Salamander Bay Visitor Information Centre

259 Soldiers Point Road, Soldiers Point, New South Wales 2317
Ph: (02) 4982 7211

South West Rocks Visitor Information Centre

1 Ocean Avenue, South West Rocks, New South Wales 2431
Ph: (02) 6566 7099

Tenterfield Visitor Information Centre
157 Roufe Street, Tenterfield, New South Wales 2372
Ph: (02) 6736 1082

Tweed Heads Visitor Information Centre

Tweed Mall, Wharf Street, Tweed Heads, New South Wales 2485
Ph: 1800 674 414 / Ph: (07) 5536 6737

Walcha Visitor Information Centre

51W Fitzroy Street, Walcha, New South Wales 2354
Ph: (02) 6774 2460

Warialda Visitor Information Centre

Heritage Centre, Hope Street, Warialda, New South Wales 2402
Ph: (02) 6729 0046

Google map

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You can join a NSW CFA affiliated fishing club in this region

Bass Kempsey
Contact Allan Wilcox

Big River Bass Fly Fishing Club
Contact Scott Flynn

Mid North Coast Flyrodders
Contact Neil Miles

New England Trout Acclimatisation Society
Contact Laurie Muldoon

Professional Fishing Instructors & Guides Association
Contact Steve Williamson

Wingham Anglers
Contact Lincoln Sky

We appreciate all feedback and any extra information. Click here to send your comments.

The NSW will soon provide a complete guide to freshwater fishing in NSW...the first sections are already available:

CFA Region 1: North Coast and Ranges

CFA Region 2: Sydney and Central

CFA Region 3 and 4:Southern Highlands and South Coast, ACT, Monaro and Snowy Mountains

CFA Region 5: Central West

CFA Region 6: South West



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