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Government of Western Australia - Department of Fisheries

Catching a western Australian salmon from wide open surf beaches like this one is one of the truly iconic WA fishing experiences. Photo courtesy of Recfishwest 

Friday 15 March 2019

Common sense and courtesy make for salmon run fun

We are asking recreational fishers to be mindful of their safety and respect other beach users ahead of this year’s Western Australian salmon run.

Thousands of WA fishers and tourists flock to the coastline every autumn in a bid to catch a WA salmon as they embark on their annual spawning migration.

Western Australian salmon (Arripis truttaceus) are not true salmon (salmonid) but one of four species of fish (including Australian herring) belonging to the Arripidae family, which are only found in Australia and New Zealand.

The pelagic speedsters are responsive to ocean temperatures, and their seasonal movement is closely related to the strengths of the Leeuwin Current and Capes Current and subsequent water temperatures. In some years warmer coastal waters result in the fish aggregating in deeper, cooler waters offshore.

Hooking up with a thumping salmon and experiencing the often acrobatic fight that follows is one of the iconic WA fishing experiences that makes recreational fishing in this State so special.

However, struck by ‘salmon fever’, some fishers can take unnecessary risks  fishing from precarious rock locations without appropriate safety gear or riding roughshod over the enjoyment of other fishers or beach users in a bid to hook up with a fish.

No fish is worth risking your life over, and we recommend fishing from surf beaches rather than from often slippery and hazardous rocks.

Salmon schools are highly mobile at this time of year often patrolling up and down surf beaches coming in close to feed on prey fish such as Australian herring. So fishing from the beach will often afford you just as good a chance of latching into a salmon as fishing off the rocks.

If you are going to fish from rocks, please ensure you wear the correct safety gear – you can find out more about this and other fishing safety tips on Recfishwest’s informative Fish and Survive safe fishing website.

Don’t forget it is now compulsory to wear a Type 1 lifejacket if you fish from the rocks at Albany’s salmon holes as part of a trial being carried out on the infamous rocks which have claimed the lives of a number of fishers over the years.

Joint patrols in the trial are being carried out by our Fisheries officers and rangers from the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions.

Please also be mindful of other fishers by giving each other space and not casting over each other’s lines and also think of other beach users.

In WA we are blessed with wide open beaches – there should be room for everyone to enjoy the beach and the water including swimmers, kayakers and stand-up paddle boarders.

Also, please clean up after yourself taking away your rubbish and any fish waste – fish heads and frames have a habit of washing back up the beach and make for unpleasant sight and smell if left to rot in the sand.

When taking your fish for the table, it is important to dispatch them humanely with a swift hard tap to the head with a heavy, blunt object or by spiking the fish’s brain using the technique known as ike jime.

If you are going to bleed out your salmon on the beach or on a jetty, ideally please do it into a bucket and take the blood away for disposal – or at least, if on the beach, cover it over with sand.

While recent salmon stock assessments indicate there are no sustainability issues with salmon, it is important that fishers stick to bag and size limits for salmon (four fish, no smaller than 300mm), to ensure there will be plenty of this prized sportfish to catch in the future.

For more information see our recreational fishing rules. You can also download our Recreational fishing guide in booklet size or the A4 print-friendly version.

Last modified: 29/03/2019 9:59 AM

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