Time to start planning a spring fishing trip

By: Caravan World, Photography by: John Willis

Winter is officially half over so it’s time to warm your hearts with thoughts of spring and start planning your spring fishing trip, says CW’s resident fisho, John ‘Bear’ Willis.

Time to start planning a spring fishing trip
Spring heralds the arrival of plenty of species, says John Willis.

Spring is an epic time to be on the water with plenty of species starting to run all over the country.

The temperate waters of our east and west coast come alive with both demersal and pelagic species as the spring yields to summer with all sorts of action hotting up. So grab your tackle box and head out there! Whether you catch and release or keep to eat, there's no better time to be on the water.


A water craft of some sort will mostly improve your available opportunities, however, there’s often nothing more pleasurable than simply fishing from a bank, beach or pier.

The beach and rock fishing can be superb for those without a boat especially immediately after a big spring blow that stirs up the food and oxygenates the water particularly near the shoreline.

Inland the warmer conditions make way for more insect hatches and the circle of life that erupts with it.


The snapper spawn takes a slaying as huge schools of fish arrive in local bays, and mostly those within casting distances of major CBDs like Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney.

It’s mayhem at local boat ramps that are filled to capacity with keen contenders infected with snapper fever.

You often have to launch in the very early hours of the morning just to get a place in time for the dawn peak period.


King George Whiting are yet another species that kick off in spring in southern climates, yet many will disregard their presence until the snapper frenzy backs off toward Christmas. These terrific little battlers will be available through until the following winter but peak in the warmer summer months.


Trout will become more active in both the rivers and lakes and the bream and mulloway will follow the icy flow and low salinity of the snow melt upstream to spawn. Estuary perch do the opposite often moving out of their upstream lairs to lower estuaries to spawn. Mulloway will be on the move both off and inshore with increased activity as the water temperatures rise.


Mako, bronze whaler and thresher sharks make haste in the warmer water and its ensuing feast. The yellowtail kingfish will again start marauding the coastal headlands and channels. Yellowfin tuna and striped marlin will move down the coast with the warm currents with early runners hitting southern NSW in late November and following the Continental Shelf right down to Tasmania as the summer unfolds.


Spring yields many smaller species including huge numbers of pilchards, garfish, small barracoota, slimy mackerel, tommy ruff and yakkas and, with them, often follows the pelagics such as pike, kingfish and all manner of shark.


Up in the far north, the big black marlin season opens with a bang in late spring and it’s also a terrific time to visit the rugged beauty of our far north before the heat and oppressing tropical climate of the Wet begins again and the annual migration of our Aussie nomads sets its compass southward for it all to start again.