If you are passionate about your fishing, then you can't beat Port Stephens! Recognised internationally amongst the fishing community for the abundance of good sized, year round catches to be had, Port Stephens is known for its picturesque fresh and saltwater waterways, and boasts a harbour 2.5 larger than Sydney's with a coastline dotted with islands most of which fall under various protections of the Port Stephens Great Lakes Marine Park.

There are plenty of great spots to fish off the banks, whether you prefer throwing in a line from the rocks, the sands, or one of the Port's jetties with the whole family, and the calm waters of the harbour make for fantastic fishing by kayak or boat, although there is also spectacular game fishing surrounding Port Stephens in the waters of the Pacific Ocean.

Located an easy 2.5hrs north of Sydney just past Newcastle, Port Stephens has been a favourite holiday destination throughout the decades known for its fantastic beaches and unique coastal scenery, which includes the moving sand dunes of the Worimi Conservation Lands, and the distinctive mountains and headlands of Mt Tomaree and Yacaaba that guard the entrance of the harbour where the region takes its name. 

Fingal Beach Port Stephens NSW Fingal Beach, Port Stephens NSW

 


 

Best Spots To Fish In Port Stephens

 

We have put together a beginner's guide for those new to Port Stephens to help you snag some of the area's most popular catches, including flathead, whiting, bream, snapper, and blue swimmers, along with legal catch sizes and much more. Please make sure you have a valid NSW Fishing Licence and have read the Port Stephens Recreational Fishing Guide before heading out, and we also recommend heading to your closest bait and tackle shop and talking to a local expert before heading out for the day, and always make sure you check the tides when planning your fishing trip. 

 

Map of Fishing Spots in Port Stephens, NSW (1100 × 1500px)

 

Off The Jetty - The Best Family Friendly Jetty and Wharf Spots

1. Little Beach - An accessible jetty with ramp to the water, all the facilities you will need and children's playground

2. Shoal Bay - Large jetty with heaps of room, at a safe beach for kids with whiting and flathead

3. Soldiers Point - Very popular long safe jetty near Bannisters good for Northern bluefin tuna, jewfish, bream flathead and whiting

 

The jetty at Shoal Beach Port Stephens NSW Large jetty at Shoal Bay, Port Stephens NSW

 

 

Off The Beach or Shore

1. Fingal Beach - A great spot to catch whiting and flathead especially near the spit

2. Fingal Island - A little harder to get to as you will need to access by boat, but the shallows are the perfect spot for snapper

3. Shoal Bay Beach - Plenty of large flathead up towards Mt Tomaree

4. One Mile Beach - Good for jewfish near the channels at middle rock

5. Dutchmans Beach - "Dutchies" 

6. Birubi Beach - Head south towards the channels (can access via 4WD) good for jewfish in winter

7. Wreck and Box Beach - At their southern ends can produce salmon and tailor catches

 

Wreck Beach Port Stephens NSW The southern end of Wreck Beach, Port Stephens NSW

 

 

Off The Rocks

1. Nelson Bay breakwall - An excellent spot for bream, snapper and mulloway bream, luderick, kingfish and even jewfish. Deep channels make it the best spot for those wanting a boat fishing experience from land.

2. Fly Point - Good for bream and luderick

3. Boat Harbour - Off the headlands

4. Tomaree Headland

 

Boats at DAlbora Marinas, Nelson Bay, Port Stephens NSW Fishing boats, yachts and cruise boat at D'Albora Marinas Nelson Bay, Port Stephens NSW

 

Offshore

The ocean waters outside of Port Stephens are great for snapper, blue, black and striped marlin, yellowfin tuna, mahi mahi, and swordfish. Best to seek advice from one of the tackle and bait shops or join a deep-sea fishing tour for the best spots.

1. Broughton Island - The best spot ocean fishing spot but need to familiarise yourself with the Port Stephens Great Lakes Marine Park sanctuary zones and what is permitted. Marlin, shark, kingfish, bonito, tuna and Spanish mackerel found in the deeper waters with Groper, rock blackfish, snapper and kingfish closer to the rocks

2. Off the islands at the entrance of Port Stephens - good for those not wanting to venture too far with great snapper catches and occasional kingfish. Need to be vigilant though as strong rips and currents can exist here

 

Out on the ocean in Port Stephens NSW Out on the ocean, Port Stephens NSW


 

Baits And Legal Size Limits On Some of The More Popular Catches

 

Whiting

Whiting are caught off the beaches of Fingal and Birubi/Anna/Stockton, and high tide at Bagnalls Beach near Nelson Bay within the Port.

Bait: Worms, saltwater nippers, and peeled prawns.

Legal length (Sand whiting only); 27cm.

Bag limit: Maximum of 20.

 

Flathead

The best place to catch flathead is Shoal Bay towards Mt Tomaree from the Boat Ramp, Lemontree Passage, Karuah River, or Broughton Island (but check Sanctaury Zones first).

Bait: Pilchards, plastics or hard body lures.

Legal length: 36cm.

Bag limit: Total of 10. Only one over 70cm.

 

Snapper

Head to Fingal Island and fish the shallows near the Lighthouse, Boatharbour over the reefs, the Nelson Bay Breakwall within the Port, or Broughton Island which is an amazing spot for a range of ocean species but you will need to check the sanctuary zones.

Bait: Big squid, prawns, fresh strips of fish and pilchards.

Legal length: No legal lengths for Snapper.

Bag limit: Maximum of 10.

 

Bream

Bream can be caught within the Port at the Nelson Bay Breakwall, and the Karuah River.

Bait: Live prawns, marine worms and small baitfish.

Legal length: 25cm.

Bag limit: Maximum of 10.

 

Mulloway

Found off the Nelson Bay Breakwall, and Karuah River.

Bait: Fresh squid or pilchards. Live is best.

Legal length: 70cm.

Bag limit: Maximum of 2.

 

Blue Swimmers

Head to Karuah River or Lemontree Passage for Blue Swimmers and Mud Crabs.

Bait: Flathead or whiting heads, pilchards.

Legal length: 6cm.

Bag limit: Maximum of 10.

Witches' hats and wide mouth traps are illegal.

 

Make sure you check the zoning of the Great Lakes Marine Park and the Port Stephens Recreational Fishing Guide before heading out.

 

Fishing out on the ocean in Port Stephens NSW Fishing Port Stephens, NSW

 

Bait, Tackle And Everything Else

 

Tackleworld Port Stephens

Located in Nelson Bay at 100 Magnus Street, Tackleworld has the best gear, bait and advice in the area.

 

KLF Lures

Handmade lures from a passionate angler, bait and tackle at 186 Sandy Point Road, Corlette.

 

Duff's Salamander Bait & Tackle

Located within the Coles Express Servo at 163 Salamander Way, Salamander Bay, and a great place to go for your live beach worms and everything else.

Fishing Port Stephens NSW


 

Boat Ramps

 

To access the ocean:

 

1. Fingal Bay

A sand constructed one lane boat ramp in fair condition accessed from Marine Drive at the end of Boulder Bay Road.

No fish cleaning facilities.

 Toilet facilities and nearby Service Station for fuel. 

 

2. Boat harbour

A sand constructed one lane boat ramp in fair condition accessed from Graham Street near corner of Boat Harbour Road.

No fish cleaning facilities. 

BBQ and toilet facilities. 

 

3. Fishermans Bay

A sand constructed one lane boat ramp in poor condition accessed from Pacific Street.

No fish cleaning facilities.

Toilet facilities.

 

To access the bay:

 

4. Shoal Bay

A concrete constructed two lane boat ramp in good condition accessed from Pacific Street in between Lillian Street and Zenith Beach Loop Road.

No fish cleaning facilities.

Toilet facilities and lighting.

 

5. Little Beach

Our pick for the best boat ramp on the southern side of the port.

A concrete constructed three lane boat ramp in good condition accessed from Lighthouse Road.

Fish cleaning facilities.

BBQ and toilet facilities, lighting and kiosk.

 

6. Soldiers Point

A concrete constructed two lane boat ramp in good condition accessed from the end of Mitchell Street.

Fish cleaning facilities.

BBQ and toilet facilities, lighting and pontoon on ramp. 

 

7. Henderson Park (lemon Tree Passage)

A concrete constructed two lane boat ramp in good condition accessed from Cook Parade.

No fish cleaning facilities.

BBQ and toilet facilities, lighting and kiosk with nearby fuel. Pontoon on ramp and additional nearby pontoon.

 

8. Karuah

Located on the banks of the Karuah River, this is a concrete constructed two lane boat ramp in good condition accessed from Bundabah Street.

Fish cleaning facilities.

BBQ and toilet facilities, lighting and pontoon on ramp and another nearby. 

 

9. Tea Gardens

Located on the banks of the Myall River, this is a concrete constructed two lane boat ramp in good condition accessed from the eastern end of Marine Drive near the Myall Street bridge linking Tea Gardens to Hawks Nest

Fish cleaning facilities.

BBQ and toilet facilities, lighting, kiosk and pontoon on ramp and another nearby. 


 

Fishing Charters and Tours and Boat Hire

 

Nelson Bay Fishing

Half-day charters to Port Stephens outer islands and reefs.

 

Fish Port Stephens Estuary Charters

Full and half-day charters, as well as a 2.5hr masterclass in Port Stephens fishing.

 

Reel Contagious Charters 

Reef or game fishing full or half-day charters, as well as sight-seeing tours.

 

Pacific Blue Fishing Charters

Deep sea and reef fishing located at Nelson Bay. Contact for information or to book.

 

Port Stephens Beach Fishing Safaris

With pick up service at Salt Ash, or door-to-door service for an extra $60, PSBFS will 4WD you to the beach of the Worimi Conservation Lands for a beach fishing experience. Customisable half or full-day tour packages, and family and group tours are available. 

 

Hammerhead Sport Game Fishing Charters

Reef, estuary, game and tournament charters with dolphin and whale watching tours.

 

Calypso Fishing Adventures Port Stephens 

Sport and game fishing, big game fly-fishing a specialty, fishing clinicsFishing Club Talks, and deep sea fishing charters can be arranged to suit your budget and ability.

 

Game Fishing Marlin Port Stephens NSW Marlin Game Fishing Port Stephens

 

Nelson Bay Boat Hire 

A good range of different sized boats for hire at the Marina in Nelson Bay at the Eastern breakwall. Most don't require previous boating experience or boat licence, however, experience is essential if wanting to hire the 25ft cruiser.

 

Boab Boat Hire

Located at Soldiers Point Marina, a good range of different sized boats for hire, most requiring boat licence. 

 


 

Port Stephens Fishing Tournaments

 

NSW INTERCLUB GAME FISHING TOURNAMENT

Generally held annually towards the end of February.

 

CLUB MARINE TRAILER BOAT FISHING TOURNAMENT

Family friendly event generally held annually first weekend of April.


 

For those of you who use Facebook, you can join the Port Stephens Fishing group, where you can gain information and share pictures of your catch.

And don't forget to tag #seasideholidayresort in your social posts!


 

Nelson Bay Fish Market

If you strike out on luck, then the place to head for the best local catches is the Nelson Bay Fish Market up the end of Teramby Road at the D'Albora Marina

Fishing Market Port Stephens NSW


 

Discover more things to do when visiting Port Stephens.

 

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Taryn Blight

Written by Taryn Blight