Dunsborough has the enviable position of being at the centre of some really popular and worthwhile fishing spots. This favourite recreational activity can be done either by beach fishing or by boat on the waters of Geographe Bay.
Fishing spots can be difficult to find if you are new to an area so we will break down where you can find good fishing for most times of the year.
Dunsborough is a bayside town in a spectacular area of the South West of Western Australia. If you are a wine aficionado you can mark the town of Dunsborough by its northern proximity to Margaret River and the world renowned wine region.
The bay is a wide curve of coastline extending from Cape Naturaliste past the towns of Dunsborough and Busselton, ending in the north near the city of Bunbury. The bay is protected from the rough seas of the Indian Ocean by Cape Naturaliste, which makes it a popular destination for recreational boaters and beach fishers.
Dunsborough township sits beside a stunning turquoise beach tucked around Geographe Bay. Whilst fishing is not a common activity on Dunsborough beach, there have been fish caught off the Old Dunsborough Boat Ramp. 5 kilometres to the east is Quindalup Jetty and 10 kilometres further is Siesta Park beach and Abbey boat ramp. These spots and in between have been known to yield flathead, flounder, King George and yellowfin whiting. Following a storm event it’s not unusual to see fishers pull in pink snapper off the small jetties. If you prefer you can also set a crab net or two along the beach and try your luck for a feed of Blue Manna crabs. Squid have also been known to frequent these waters over the sea wrack meadows but you would need a boat or kayak to reach them.
Heading back into Dunsborough if you continue towards the west you can enjoy a scenic drive down to Castle Rock, Meelup Beach and further up Bunker Bay where catches of herring, King George whiting, flathead, skippy and tailor are common along any of the small beaches or rocks abutting the bay through this area.
Dunsborough township has a number of tackle stores where you can buy bait, rods or lures, they are happy to offer advice about the current fishing conditions and what’s biting.
Further to the east of Dunsborough is the city of Busselton, also an oceanside town it is the home to the 1.8km long Busselton Jetty. From the shallows close to shore you can catch herring, gardies, skippy, tarwhine, whiting, crabs and squid. Fishing from the jetty regularly reaps rewards in the early evenings and mornings. Further along the jetty use a heavy line with live bait and try for a samson fish, mulloway, yellowfin tuna and sharks. Halfway along the jetty is a great place to try for mulloway and john dory with live bait near the pylons. There are a number of fishing platforms available to try your luck and squid is a common catch from these using squid jigs or lures. Immediately following stormy weather you may also catch pink snapper, but be aware there are season restrictions and an exclusion area if you are fishing from a boat at the jetty.
Safety note – Beach fishing from the rocks should be avoided during large swells or storms. Wear shoes that grip well and avoid slippery rocks and bring a companion to fish with you.
The best time to fish for Australian salmon is during the annual salmon run, usually between March and April. Some of the best places to catch salmon off the beach are between Old Dunsborough boat ramp and Eagle Bay. Rock and beach fishing are both successful ways to catch salmon, just make sure you have a beach rod and strong line. Salmon are happy to grab a lure so using metal slices, stick baits, poppers and shallow diving bibbed minnows will improve your success rate of a catch during the salmon season. There is an individual Bag Limit of 4 (min. size 300 mm) but catch and release is a good method if you love the adrenaline of fishing!
If you own a decent fishing boat you can head out onto the Indian Ocean around the tip of the cape, past Yallingup beach down to Sugarloaf Rock or further south to Cowaramup in the Margaret River Region you can troll for pelagic species to be caught from yellowtail kingfish, southern bluefin tuna, dhufish and other deep sea species like groper, breaksea cod, and bronze whaler.
What Else Can I Do in Dunsborough?
One of the most spectacular experiences when visiting the Dunsborough area and Geographe Bay is seeing whales on the bay. It’s something big on the wish list for some so if you are visiting between August and November booking a whale charter is a must do. Naturaliste Charters is based in the Dunsborough township so booking is easy. During this period humpback whales and their calves can often be seen frolicking in the bay. Migrating back to the Antarctic they spend time resting before heading further south along the Indian Ocean. The blue whale has also been spotted on occasion crossing the bay. To book a tour you can phone or call into Naturaliste Charters shop or get online and search up whale watching and book a tour. These whale watching charters have a 99% success rate and they guarantee that you will see whales or you can board again for free within the next 2 years. That’s too good an offer to pass up.
When visiting this beautiful region don’t forget to throw in a rod or two, you never know what you may catch, but if you prefer the gentler side of seeing the ocean’s wildlife then you should watch whales in Dunsborough instead.