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Fishing & Recreation

Fishing rules and regulations, places to fish, water activities and our top 3 Lake Macquarie must visits.

Our amazing Lake Macquarie is a great spot for fishing and recreation. We can’t think of a better place to drop in a line.  Whether you are out on a boat, or standing on a jetty along the shoreline. If you prefer ocean fishing there are plenty of great choices here too.  

Yasmin, a local fisher mum, has quite a few tales to tell. Read Yasmin’s story here.

Want to take your kids fishing but don’t know where to start? Read all about fishing Lake Macquarie with kids here. Get started today.

Don’t want to fish, just want to enjoy the lake? Lake Macquarie has many recreational pursuits available. Whether you prefer to kayak, sail or sleep on the water for the night you can find out what is happening in Lake Macquarie here.


NSW Recreational Fishing Fee

In NSW, when you are fishing in either saltwater or freshwater, you need a recreational fishing licence. There are some exemptions to this, for example, children aged under 18 years of age, Aboriginal people or pensioner concession cardholders. You must carry a receipt that you can show to a DPI fishery officer if asked. To find out more about the NSW Recreational Fishing Fee and where you can buy one click here

Rock fishing

It’s important that you maintain your safety at all times when rock fishing. The ocean can be very dangerous and unpredictable and every year lives are lost following this pursuit. 

It’s now a legal requirement that rock fishers must wear life jackets in high risk areas around Lake Macquarie.


You can be issued a fine for not wearing a life jacket. Check the map which shows where these high risk areas are. 


Follow these rules at all times to stay safe:

  • Always wear a life jacket
  • Always face the ocean
  • Wear non-slip shoes and light clothing
  • Plan ahead – if you are washed into the sea what will be your escape          route?
  • Pay attention to the weather
  • Never fish by yourself
  • If someone else is washed in, don’t jump in to save them – wait for              help
  • Look for an angel ring, lifebuoy or something that floats and throw              that to the person in the water
  • Tell someone where you are going and when you return
  • Phone 112 or 000 for help

For more help staying safe click here

*Image source: Lake Macquarie City Council via ABC Newcastle Facebook post 29/11/19.

Fish responsibly

Fishing is a great activity for the whole family. It is important that you follow the rules as this makes sure that we keep our fisheries sustainable and healthy for our kids and grandkids. 


If you are going to fish, take a look at the NSW Department of Primary Industries website. They have rules that are detailed and cover the following areas. 


  • Permitted fishing methods
  • Baits you are not permitted to use
  • Bag limits
  • Size limits
  • Closed seasons
  • Prohibited areas to fish

You can also check the FishSmart NSW App here.


There are also general rules and safeguards in place that you need to know.  


  • If you are fishing recreationally it is illegal for you to sell your catch.  
  • You must not interfere with commercial fishing or disturb their fishing gear.  
  • It is prohibited for pipi’s to be consumed by humans in NSW.
  • Pipi’s can only be collected within 50 m of the high tide mark for bait.  You can only collect a maximum of 50.
  • You mustn’t alter the length of the fish by removing its head or filleting it until you have moved some distance from the water.  If the fish is going to be eaten or used for bait, or for fish that don’t have to meet a legal length, or where you are using a place designed for this, such as a fish cleaning table this rule does not apply.  Fish can be cleaned by gilling and gutting only.

Please ensure you have checked the NSW DPI website for all rules.


Want to drop in a line?

With so many fishing spots it is hard to choose a few to share but here are our top 5 spots in the Lake Macquarie area.


  • If you want to rock fish into the ocean head over to Blacksmiths Beach. The northern break wall is a good spot and both sides can work depending on the swell and winds.
  • Belmont Bay is a great spot if you have a boat and can go out onto the lake. Fish in this area include bream, snapper and flathead. Be aware that there are undercurrents in this area which may mean your bait floats one way whilst you float another.
  • The drop-over near the sand islands has water between eight to ten metres in depth. Fish the in-going (rising) tide. This is a popular spot with fisher’s due to the flathead that populate this area.
  • On the west of the lake, at Shingle Splitters Point Park, Balcolyn. This is a perfect place to drop a line in from the shore and try and hook a whiting or flathead.
  • Down at Belmont along Green Point Reserve there are numerous places you can throw in a line. How about trying out Black Jacks Point just before you enter the reserve. This can be a great spot to catch bream.

Fancy a night on the lake?

Imagine falling asleep to the rhythm of the waves rocking you. Then waking up to the sound of the waves, gently lapping against the side of your boat. I can’t imagine anything much more peaceful or relaxing.  


Lake Macquarie is the perfect place to experience this, either with your own boat or one that you hire. There are several companies that can offer you this opportunity. Taking a holiday on the lake would be an experience of a lifetime.


Water activities – you won’t believe how many!

With our perfect salt water lake that is twice the size of Sydney harbour, joining the ocean through the channel at Swansea, there is so much you can do on the water.


For those that like to enjoy the peace and quiet you can hire stand up paddle boards or kayaks to explore the hidden nooks and crannies of the lake.


Want to explore the lake a little further? How about booking a cruise, hiring a yacht, becoming a member of a boating club or hiring a boat to go fishing?


For those that like a little more speed and excitement, take a fast boat onto the lake and experience wakeboarding or water skiing. If you don’t own your own boat you can book these activities.


Want even more excitement? How about booking a thrill ride either on the lake or out onto the ocean?


Want to come close to nature? From May to November whale and dolphin watching tours are also available.  


If you are more of a deep sea fisher, you can also book offshore fishing charters with friends. These depart from Swasea.


Our top 3 spots to visit on the lake

If you only get the chance to spend a few hours on the lake now and again, these are our top 3 spots to visit. We shouldn’t really be sharing them but we will love to see you there!


Sand Islands – A beautiful spot to pull up your boat, jump out and do a spot of fishing, have a picnic, a swim in the lake or go exploring. This is a popular spot so try and arrive early to secure your space.


Channel at Swansea under the bridge before you enter the ocean – This is where the lake meets the ocean. Enjoy boating under the Swansea bridge, anchoring up to throw in a line and watch the jet skis and surf lifesavers in their vessels jumping the waves.


Public jetty at Toronto, Warners Bay or Belmont – Fancy a coffee, a late breakfast or lunch? Pull up to the public jetty at any of these suburbs to enjoy a great choice of cafes and restaurants that will meet your needs. Let the kids have a quick play in the park and a visit to the toilet before you climb aboard to continue your voyage.