Fishing & Crabbing

Mandurah is renowned
for its seafood and
fantastic fishing.

The Mandurah fishery is also the first joint recreational and commercial fishery that received the international tick for sustainable fishing and quality from the Marine Stewartship Council in 2016.

This means that both the commercial and recreational fishers of Mandurah are showing the world how sustainable fishing should be done. Something we’re very proud of, so we hope you follow the rules and guidelines too when you go out to catch yourself dinner.

Fishing

Fish for herring, sand whiting, bream, cobbler, tailor or garfish in the Mandurah Estuary. In season you can fish for salmon and tailor on the beach, and the Dawesville Cut is the best place to catch King George whiting.

You can also catch trout and redfin all year in Lake Navarino (also called Waroona Dam) and Drakesbrook Weir in Waroona. If you love some black bream, mulloway and whiting, Murray River is a great spot to try your luck. Upstream, the river has been stocked up with trout. At Preston Beach, fish for whiting, herring, skippy and salmon (when they run) straight from the beach.

A licence is required for freshwater and boat fishing and you can obtain it via fish.wa.gov.au. Fishing gear is available for hire in Mandurah.

Seafood and Fishing Tours

Learn tips and tricks from the pros and get access to the best spots to catch seafood on a tour.

On Mandurah Cruises’ Wild Seafood Adventure you’ll journey out to the Indian Ocean and help haul in crayfish pots, before enjoying the rewards of your labour with a delicious barbecue lunch with local wines, served on board as you cruise the calm estuary waters.

Mandurah Cruises also offers 2 hour, half day and full day fishing charters, which include fishing lessons so you can cast out for a dhufish, snapper, samson or baldchin groper.

Port Bouvard Charters offers full day fishing charters from Port Bouvard marina for experienced and novice fishers.

If you’d prefer to go out fishing by yourself, boats and fishing gear can be hired from Mandurah Boat and Bike Hire.

Crabbing

Mandurah is well-known for its blue swimmer crabs and excellent crabbing.

Crabbing season opens on December 1st, just as the weather warms up for summer. By January the Peel-Harvey Estuary is swimming with full size crabs ready to be caught.

Early morning or evening is the best time to catch them and you can go crabbing from a boat, a jetty using drop nets, or wade into the shallows with long-handled scoop nets.

Rules for crabbing

You don’t need a licence to catch crabs, however they can only be caught from 1st December to 31st August and there are minimum size and bag limit regulations.

The minimum size limit is 127mm. The size of a crab is measured from the tips of its spikes across the widest part of the shell. Measure accurately using a crab gauge available from the Mandurah Visitor Centre and fishing tackle shops.

Keeping undersize crabs or egg-carrying (‘berried’) females is illegal and you could be fined up to $5,000. These crabs must be returned to the water immediately, before attempting to catch another crab.

The bag limit in the Mandurah area is 10 crabs per person per day. You must not catch crabs for anyone else. A bag limit of 20 crabs per boat per day applies.

If you use a powered boat to fish for crabs or to reach your fishing location, at least one person on board needs a Recreational Fishing from Boat Licence (RFBL), available for purchase from the Department of Fisheries.

See full details on crabbing rules in the Mandurah area here.

Best Locations

You’re more likely to catch full size crabs in January, and early morning and evening are the best times, when crabs come into the shallows.

Here are our tips for some good places to go crabbing:
  • Mandjar Bay
  • Mandurah Estuary
  • The Peel Inlet-Harvey Estuary by Boundary Island
  • Sticks Channel
  • Mandurah Estuary Bridge
  • Dawesville Cut

Our Tip: Visit the Mandurah Visitor Centre before heading out and ask if there are any new good spots this crabbing season.

Please check: Some areas around Mandurah are protected nature reserves and off-limits for crabbing all year around. Look out for signs before you start crabbing to make sure it is an approved area.

How to clean & prepare a blue manna crab

Now you’ve caught some nice full-sized crabs, but what to do next to be able to enjoy them?

Well, here you go:
  1. Ensure your crabs are dormant by putting them into the freezer for about 20 minutes.
  2. Turn the crab over.
  3. Pull the triangular flap down.
  4. Pull the triangular flap away from the body of the crab.
  5. Ensure that the triangular flap and attached underside of the crab are completely removed from the main body of the crab.
  6. Remove the grey gills of the crab.
  7. Scoop out the insides of the crab.
  8. Once you have washed your crab under freshwater it’s ready to use and cook.

It’s best to cook crabs a few hours after they’ve been caught, as they usually die quickly. Bring crabs to the boil in salted water, then simmer for 5-6 minutes (longer for more crabs). Once cooked, place in cool water. Serve with bread, lemon, vinegar or seafood sauce.

Crabbing Tours

Are you looking for a crabbing adventure but need some advice from the experts? No worries, we have you covered.

Mandurah Cruises will take you crabbing on their customised crabbing vessel where you can try your hand at “scooping” for Mandurah’s famous crabs in the shallow waters of the Peel Inlet. They will steam cook the crabs aboard and even throw some crabs on the BBQ. Sounds like a perfect day out, doesn’t it?

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