Recreational fishing

Recreational fishing is enjoyed by many South Australians.

A recreational fishing licence is not required in South Australia.

A permit is required when fishing in certain reservoirs in South Australia.

It is important to be aware of and follow the rules for:

The Department of Primary Industries and Regions (PIRSA) is the government agency responsible for managing South Australia’s fish stocks on behalf of the government and community. PIRSA manages the fishing activities of an estimated 277,000 recreational fishers.

This is done through:

  • administration of the Fisheries Management Act 2007
  • enforcing closures and aquatic reserves
  • regulating recreational fishing gear
  • enforcing size, bag, boat and catchand possession limits
  • protecting species
  • the FISHCARE volunteer program
  • Fishwatch.

2021–22 recreational fishing survey

The latest survey compares traditional telephone survey methods, such as paper diaries and phone calls, with a survey hosted on the SA Fishing app.

If you’re a recreational fisher, we enourage you to participate in our survey. The data we collect will help us maintain the long-term sustainability of fish stocks, which all fishing communities will benefit from.

Find out more about the 2021–22 survey.

Size, bag, boat and possession limits

Size, bag, boat and possession limits are enforced by PIRSA to protect aquatic stocks and make sure there are enough fish for the future. They make sure that the number and correct size of fish are taken. This allows juvenile species to continue to grow and breed.

See the fishing limits page for more information.

Tips for using bait and berley

Before you go fishing, make sure you are familiar with the bait and berley guidelines.

Closures and aquatic reserves

Closures and aquatic reserves protect significant habitat, ecosystems and communities in South Australian waters. Fishing activities and other activities might be prohibited or restricted within these areas. Aquatic reserves provide protection to nursery areas allowing the species to breed and grow without interference.

See information on closures and aquatic reserves.

Regulating fishing gear

We enforce regulations about the:

  • number of devices allowed
  • type and legal specification of devices that can be used
  • marking of devices.

PIRSA's compliance officers are responsible for monitoring fishing gear to make sure it is compliant.

Protected species

Some fish species are protected and must not be taken:

  • at all times
  • during certain stages of their life cycle
  • during certain times of the year
  • from particular closed areas or reserves

See the protected species page for more information.

FISHCARE volunteer program

The FISHCARE volunteer program raises awareness among the fishing communities about the need to protect and preserve our resources for future generations.


  • educate fishers about rules and regulations
  • give advice and assistance
  • hand out fisheries information material
  • attend community events.

Learn more about the FISHCARE volunteer program.


We run Fishwatch to make sure fishing rules and regulations are followed.

The Fishwatch 24 hour hotline lets members of the public:

  • report illegal fishing activities
  • ask for information about rules and regulations
  • find out about licencing and regulation
  • report unusual activity around fish.

See the Fishwatch section for more information.


Surveys provide consistent and comparable information on recreational fishing to inform fishery stock management. They help in setting access and allocation resources for fishers.

See the recreational fishing surveys page for more information.

Page Last Reviewed: 11 Mar 2021
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