Freshwater Stocking

There is certainly something about fishing in freshwater that once you have given it a go will get under your skin and have you going back time and again to give it another shot.

Trout and redfin perch make up the majority of our freshwater fishing experience here in the west and is pretty much limited to the southwest corner of the state. The trout fishery is primarily maintained as what is called a “put and take” fishery. This refers to the fish being bred and reared in a hatchery and then “put” into dams and rivers for anglers to “take”. We have two types of trout, the most common is the rainbow trout, and the other is not stocked as heavily and is considered the prize species of the two and is the brown trout.

Redfin perch were released back in the late 1800s and have been here ever since. Redfin are not found in all waterways but the waterways that do have them are very popular locations to fish as they are very tasty to eat and offer a great by-catch when chasing trout.

Trout stocking takes place every year to replenish popular freshwater fishing rivers and dams. Trout are stocked in three discrete age classes. The biggest amount stocked, is of fry, these fish are about three to five centimetres long and in most years the quantity is about 450,000 fish. These fish will take a couple of years to grow to legal size. The next size of fish released is the yearlings. These fish are from 8 to 12 months old which will range in size from about 20 to 25cm in length. These fish will become legal size in the year of release or the next year. The third type of fish released is the ex brood stock, or the old breeding fish.

These are used for a year or two for their eggs and sperm and then replaced. Brood stock stockings, while very low, are big fish and are prized captures by those that manage to land them.
Not all suitable waters are stocked with trout. Water catchment dams, or those used for supplying drinking water are not allowed to be used for fishing.

Rivers of high conservation value are also not stocked. One particular river is simply not stocked so that there can be a reference point for unstocked waters if we ever need to use it for any sort of analysis. This river is the Shannon River and should not be fished at all by anyone.

Freshwater fishing in WA requires you to hold a freshwater angling licence and has its own set of rules and regulations. The great news is freshwater fishing is now open all year round.

Each year approximately 10,000 people give freshwater fishing a go in WA. If you have not given freshwater fishing a go then maybe you should get out there and see what these 10,000 anglers are getting out there and experiencing.

Learn how to catch trout here.

Some tips to remember when freshwater fishing:

  • Many streams are overgrown and are difficult to gain access to, be sure not to damage vegetation or river banks while trying to gain access.
  • Consider other users who have also gone fishing to get away from the masses. If someone is already fishing an area, consider going somewhere else, waiting for them to finish or at the very least ask if they would mind if you fished in the area.
  • WA is home to many poisonous snakes, overgrown wet areas are notorious for Tiger Snakes.
  • Razor grass and blackberries are prolific around some southwest waterways, make yourself familiar with what they both look like and be aware that they can both cause painful injuries.
  • Take plenty of water with you if you intend to go for any sort of long walk.
  • Wear protective clothing. A long sleeved top and long pants are both highly recommended along with a hat and sunscreen.
  • Remember to let someone know where you are going and when you intend to be home.

Click here for more information on freshwater fishing safety.

Fish Stocking Projects

Check out some of our articles on fish stocking projects to find out more about this important initiative:


World Class Fishery for Kununurra


Prawning Back to the Future


Latest Broome Barramundi Restocking

If you are keen to try your luck at freshwater fishing, here is a list of stocked waterways for 2020 to help you narrow down the most suitable location for a family outing, a holiday camping trip or maybe just a day trip.

The first release is expected to occur early Winter, along with a community stocking event on 3 October, where you have the opportunity to learn from some of WA’s best freshwater fishers, try your hand at spin or fly fishing, and release thousands of fish into Drakesbrook Dam. Make sure you register to attend here.

2020 Fry stocking locations and number of fish

Rainbow Fry

Locations and numbers to be confirmed in the coming weeks 

Rainbow Yearlings

Big Brook Dam Advanced yearlings 1250
Blackwood River 2100
Collie Gorge 1000
Donnelly River 1000
Drakesbrook Dam Advanced yearlings 700
Glen Mervyn Dam Advanced yearlings 200
Harvey Dam 100 standard yearlings & 2800 advanced yearlings
Lefroy Brook 1000 standard yearlings & 600 advanced
Logue Brooke Dam 500 standard & 200 advanced yearlings
Murray River 1400 standard & 200 advanced yearlings
Norolup Dam 200
Waroona Dam Advanced yearlings 2100
Warren River 2100
TOTAL 10300 standard yearlings & 8050 advanced yearlings

Ex Brood Rainbow

Big Brook Dam 200
Drakesbrook Dam 200
Harvey Dam 1500 *water level dependent
Logue Brook Dam 200
Waroona Dam 400
TOTAL 1800

Ex Brood Brown

Big Brook Dam 50
Collie Gorge 50
Drakesbrook Dam 50
Harvey Dam 200
Lefroy Brook 50
Waroona Dam 100

Brown Yearlings

Collie Gorge 1400
Donnelly River 700
Harvey Dam 350
Lefroy Brook 750
Warren River 1200
TOTAL 4400