We have a beautiful resource right on our doorstep in Perth - one that is perfect for all water based pursuits; boating, picnicking, swimming and yes, fishing. But the amount of times I've heard, "you can't catch anything but blowies in that river can you?" usually turns many people off. Well the actual answer is, "yes you can," but you do need to know what you are doing and where to look at certain times of the year.
With the start of spring and its big tides, we get the first flush of salt water pushing upstream and along with it comes the fish. From the beginning of September through to November we will see fish such as flathead, flounder, mulloway and tailor moving upstream. Places such as East Fremantle, Point Walter, Mosman Park, the Old Swan Brewery site and Canning Bridge are all excellent spots to try. In fact anywhere along the river that has a jetty or rockwall should produce fish for you.
The best way to plan your fishing times is around the tides. When we have extremely low tides it concentrates predatory fish into smaller, deeper areas where they tend to lie until the tides come in again. Later on, during the high tide when the river fills again it pushes the bigger fish into feeding mode. This is always a great time to fish and the best is an hour or two before high tide.
A mulloway from The Narrows
Everyone who has fished the Swan or Canning Rivers knows all too well that the bane of all fisherpersons is the blowie. They'll strip your bait in seconds and you'll spend endless hours re-baiting just to feed them. A couple of tricks to avoid are to fish after dark as they tend to back off and go for a nap after a day feeding on people's baits. So at night, there is an opportunity to try for an elusive mulloway. During the spring tides a few good places to try for mulloway are Mosman Park, The Narrows and Canning Bridges. These are easy locations to get to and safe to fish and offer some shelter if it gets bit rainy.
Further upstream the fishing areas around the Windan Bridge also produce some mulloway as well as some of the deeper areas around Ron Courtney Island. They do travel up into the Canning River as well and have been caught as far as Riverton. If you are comfortable using lures then they can produce results as well without the constant baiting of hooks. Lures take a bit of getting used to and takes a bit of trial and error to get results, but can be a very relaxing and productive way to fish at this time of year.
During spring time our black bream move around a lot and can be found down in the lower reaches towards Fremantle and as far up as Caversham. In the Canning they move as far up as the Kent Street Weir. The great thing about these upstream areas is that the bream hang around here and the blowies aren't really a problem at all so this makes morning and daytime fishing more fun if you are taking the kids for a fish as well. The list of areas to drop a line and relax in a deckchair are too many to list but a few favourite places are Point Reserve in Guildford, Sandy Beach Reserve, Bassendean, Garvey Park in Belmont, Garrett Road Bridge in Maylands and most of the parks and riverside reserves all the way down to Perth city. Just about all have toilets and BBQ facilities to ensure it's a fun day out for all ages.
Mosman Park Jetty
Further downstream, west of Point Walter, is a great place to start looking for saltwater species like herring, whiting and tailor that move up and down with the spring tides. The jetties around Bicton, Mosman Park and Claremont are great places to start and are reasonably safe and usually well-lit if you are going for a night fish. Blackwall Reach is also a good place to fish but only for the experienced as the water here is very deep and not really suited for small children, more experienced fisherfolk will find this place irresistible with many options for hanging a line. If you like your prawns and crabs, this time of year can produce some good sizes in both species with drop nets and dabbing is always successful on the right tides.
If you want results and a productive day or night on the water check out the tide times, plan where you want to go, have a read or join a fishing forum like Western Angler and get to know our unique river a little better. All in all, spring on the Swan or Canning Rivers can be a fun and fulfilling experience.
Fishing at The Narrows
As always with our precious river and ecosystem, fish for the future. Release the tiddlers, keep only what you need and clean up the environment after you've used it.