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Government of Western Australia - Department of Fisheries

Trout management

Recreational anglers fish for rainbow and brown trout in rivers and other freshwater bodies in the south-west of Western Australia.

We manage recreational fishing for trout with minimum sizes, bag limits, and gear restrictions. Anglers aged 16 and above require a freshwater fishing licence to take trout. There is no commercial fishing for trout.

Both species of trout were introduced to Australia but display little or no breeding in local waters. Therefore, we annually restock selected waterways with trout as part of a controlled program. Our trout fishery is based on young, fast-growing fish. Stocking is done with fry (very young trout), yearlings (eight to 12 months old) and ex-brookstock trout produced at our Pemberton Freshwater Research Centre. Most fry producted are stocked into select public waterways to support recreational fishing. Some are sold to licensed aquaculture producers or for stocking private farm dams for recreational fishing and tourism. A smaller number are kept for future broodstock, yearling stocking and research. Prior to stocking, we consult with peak recreational fishing body, Recfishwest​, as well as a range of non-fisher stakeholders.

To protect high conservation value waters and native fish, waterways are divided into three categories to make sure stocking activities offer the appropriate level of ecosystem protection, while providing for sustainable recreational fishing.

Category 1 – Closed waters: these waters are not stocked as they have been identified as high conservation value or unique aquatic environments or contain threatened or protected species vulnerable to trout stocking.

Category 2 – Restricted waters: A translocation risk assessment process is required to determine whether stocking will be permitted in some parts of these waters. They may include sections where trout stocking won’t be approved due to the potential impact to other species or on the environment.

Category 3 – Open waters: these waters can be stocked and have been identified as areas where introducing trout will have a lower impact on the existing ecosystem. These waters have a history of being stocked since the early 1900s.

This carefully managed stocking program has created a sustainable, socially and economically valuable recreational freshwater fishery in WA’s south-west.

For further information please refer to the Status reports of the fisheries and aquatic resources of Western Australia. This publication should be read in conjunction with our Annual Report.

Last modified: 24/03/2022 2:01 PM

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