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Discover Dorrigo Fishing

Fresh Water & Estuary Fishing

When you plan your next fishing trip come to Dorrigo in north eastern NSW. It’s a comfortable 1 hour drive from Coffs Harbour, 2 hours from Armidale and an easy days drive from either Sydney or Brisbane. Enjoy what the locals already know, plentiful and varied fishing options all within 1-2 hours of downtown Dorrigo! Whether you come for a day or spend a week, the magic of stream and river fishing for wild and stocked rainbow and brown trout, eels and Australian Bass can create memories that last a lifetime.
Dorrigo has a variety of accommodation options to make it a comfortable base for your fishing and all amenities to provide supplies for those adventurous enough to camp on the beautiful Plateau.

rainbow trout dorrigo

Dorrigo-Ebor Freshwater Fishing Association (DEFFA)

dorrigo fishingThe Dorrigo-Ebor Freshwater Fishing Association (DEFFA) is the organisation responsible for the stocking of Rainbow and Brown Trout in the streams on the Dorrigo Plateau NSW. The aim of the Association is to promote responsible recreational freshwater fishing and to further the interests of all in matters relating to improving freshwater recreational fishing and fisheries.

Members of the Dorrigo-Ebor Freshwater Fishing Association have to conform to stringent NSW Fisheries and National Parks and Wildlife rules and regulations and are under legal obligation to ensure these rules and regulations are fully complied with.

Trout can only be released into waterways with the specific consent of NSW Fisheries and the National Parks and Wildlife Service. Any Person found releasing fish into unauthorised waterways now risks being legally liable for any problems that may arise. Only financial members of the Dorrigo-Ebor Freshwater Fishing Association are authorised to release trout on the Dorrigo Plateau.

DEFFA advocates sustainable fishing in harmony with the conservation of all flora and fauna associated with the area. Public access is available at most road bridges that cross streams and at Travelling Stock Routes that border streams. Permission should be sought from landowners before crossing private property to fish. A polite phone call if the owner is known or a visit at an appropriate time will often result in permission being granted. A recreational Fishing Licence is required for most people wishing to fish.

If you are interested in becoming a member of the Dorrigo-Ebor Freshwater Fishing Association please contact the Secretary on [02] 65697287 or download a membership form here: DEFFA Membership Application Form

Dorrigo Trout Fishing

The Bielsdown River flows through the middle of the town. In less than a 5 minute walk from Dorrigo’s shopping and accommodation centre you can be soaking a worm, casting a small lure or a wet or dry fly for rainbow trout up to 2.5 kg.

The fishing around Dorrigo is varied as rain and spring fed streams flow through open highland meadows around Ebor. Others streams flow through rainforest and heavy undergrowth that delivers a true wilderness experience. Both rainbows and browns can be caught. Even the small streams have very large trout but they didn’t get that big from being easy to catch. Some of the main streams around Ebor, for example, can be found here.

Catch and release is encouraged as a lot of effort has been made by the community to make sure that trout stocks are plentiful for visitors and locals.

Dorrigo is the eastern part of the large New England trout fishery which is the northernmost in Australia. The lifeblood of the fishery is the L.P Dutton Trout Hatchery, near Ebor (an hours drive from Dorrigo), which supplies local angling clubs with brown and rainbow fry that are then regularly stocked into New England trout waters.

It is well worth visiting and touring the hatchery which is on the Point Lookout Road that branches off the Armidale Road south of Ebor (about an hours drive from both Armidale and Dorrigo). This wonderful facility, only one of two in NSW, has bred and released millions of trout hatchlings. It is a great place to bring the family for a picnic.

dorrigo trout fishing mapDownload a copy of this map HERE

Visitors can and should buy some feed at the hatchery and feed the fish. This inexpensive activity promises to not only educate, but also excite, the smallest child to grown adults. But it is very difficult to visit the hatchery and not want to fish every stream on the Dorrigo Plateau! More information about the L.P Dutton Hatchery is at http://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/fishing/recreational/resources/stocking

Wild Australian Bass

The great part of fishing on the Dorrigo Plateau is that when conditions are not suitable for trout there are other fishing opportunities available within a short drive of Dorrigo. There are wild bass in the Nymboida (about an hours drive), Macleay (two hours drive) and Bellingen River (15 minutes to Thora) catchments.
These big, hard fighting wild bass can be caught using an array of methods including bait, lures and fly. Walking along riverbanks is a very productive and affordable way to access these fish. Kayaking and canoeing offers a fantastic way to stalk these iconic Australian sports fish as you silently glide down these ancient river systems.

Coastal Fishing

When conditions are unsuitable for Trout or Bass fishing there are a host of coastal fishing options within a short drive of Dorrigo. The closest is the Bellingen and Kalang Rivers that flow to the sea at Urunga (45 minutes drive from Dorrigo). These two river systems have a variety of tropical and temperate “bread and butter” species such as bream, flathead and whiting that will keep the whole family entertained for hours. But there are also jewfish/mulloway, tailor and mullet that can be caught in the rivers and along the beaches. The rivers also hold a small population of mangrove jack if one is lucky enough to tangle with these brutes!
Offshore there are regular mackerel and tuna runs during the late summer and autumn months with great bottom bouncing for snapper also available.

Accessing Water and Rules/Regulations

Permission should always be sought to access water through private property. Always be polite and respectful of property owners and listen to their requests. Do not leave rubbish or litter behind. If you can bring it in, you can take it out.

A recreational fishing licence is required to fish in NSW. Relevant information can be found here https://www.service.nsw.gov.au/transaction/apply-recreational-fishing-licence.

The size limit for both brown and rainbow trout is 25cm at the time of publication. There is a daily bag limit is 2 fish per person per day and an overall possession limit of 4 trout per person. More details can be found here http://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/fishing/recreational/fishing-rules-and-regs

Only two bass can be kept per person. There is no minimum length for bass but only one over 35cm can be kept. Total possession is 4 with only one over 35cm. Further information on lengths and bag limits can be found here http://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/fishing/recreational/fishing-rules-and-regs/freshwater-bag-and-size-limits

Public Access Trout Fishing Dorrigo

Please be mindful of not venturing onto private property without consent of the owner.

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About Destination Dorrigo

Destination Dorrigo is a free directory website showcasing all there is to offer on the Dorrigo Plateau.  This site contains information on Accommodation, Local Businesses, Tourism, and our local Community Organisations as well as information on experiences and events which makes Dorrigo your destination. The website is an initiative of Destination Dorrigo Inc. and forms part an all-inclusive Destination Marketing Strategy. Click HERE to view our progress timeline.

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