Newcastle is a fisherman's paradise. About 160 kilometres south of Sydney, this New South Wales city is situated at the mouth of the Hunter River. It's home to a wide array of natural and manmade attractions that lure visitors in, from majestic mountain views to colonial attractions to a multitude of wineries. But the calm waters of this beautiful locale make for a relaxing retreat with just you, your guest and a couple of rods and reels.

Fishing Regulations

The City of Newcastle implements regulations to protect the area's fish stocks and their habitats. Visitors may notice that officers often patrol the shores and waterways to make sure people are fishing responsibly. In order to cast your line in this locale – both its salt and fresh waters – you must pay a recreational fishing fee and bring your receipt with you to show proof of payment if an officer requests it. This regulation applies to anyone who is in possession of fishing gear while in or near the water as well as when trapping, bait collecting, hand lining and gathering, spearfishing and prawn netting.

The funds raised by these fees go toward government-run recreational fishing projects, such as maintaining angler facilities and creating advisory programs. Note that the fee may not be required if you're fishing under the direction of a professional guide or on a charter boat that holds a recreational fishing fee exemption certificate.

Where to Fish

Lake Macquarie and the Hunter River are the two main bodies of water in Newcastle, and they offer a wide array of opportunities for angling. There are 30 spots along the coast that are designated for recreational fishing where you can cast your hook from rock platforms, beaches and jetties. Among the diverse variety of underwater creatures you will find here include Australian salmon, kingfish, luderick, whiting, bream, leatherjacket and mulloway.

The district's primary fishing haven is Lake Macquarie, but there are also bays, creeks, canals and tributaries available. Kooragang Island, for instance, is an ideal place for finding flatheads, while Belmont Bay is ideal for catching whiting and leather jacket.

General Rules

Newcastle has set a number of rules in place to ensure your safety and to promote a sustainable fishing environment. For example, to avoid conflict between commercial and recreational fishers, the government charges a fine of up to $5,500 for disturbing commercial fishing gear located along the waters. Additionally, you can't use any explosives or chemicals in Newcastle waters. While catching some seafood in this destination, keep these other rules in mind: It's illegal for recreational fishers to sell their catch.

Filleting or removing fish heads must be done at a reasonable distance from the water, unless you're at a cleaning table or other designated cleaning area. Abalone gut cannot be used as bait, a measure taken to prevent abalone viral ganglioneuritis from spreading. Pipi, a type of shellfish, cannot be taken more than 50 kilometres from the high water mark, though it may be used as bait at the site it was found.

Safety Tips

While fishing can be a fun and relaxing experience, it's important to remember that this water activity can be dangerous. Follow these tips for staying safe during your fishing excursion: Check weather forecasts to ensure the conditions are appropriate. Contact the fishery office to learn about closures in areas you intend on fishing.

Wear a life jacket when aboard a boat or at dangerous waterside locations as well as non-slip shoes. Never enter the water to retrieve your fish or tackle. Do not jump in the water to save someone who has fallen in - rather, locate a buoy, angel ring or other floating object to throw at the person and call for emergency services.