How to catch marron

Marron are a Western Australian species of freshwater crayfish, somewhat like southern Australia’s yabbie and northern Australia’s redclaw.

Marron are the third largest freshwater crayfish in the world, growing to an impressive 38cm.

There are two species of WA marron, the main one being Cherax cainii, and the other being the rare Cherax tenuimanus of the upper Margaret River.

Marron exist natively in the temperate rivers and dams of south-west WA, being endemic between Harvey and Albany.

They were historically stocked in waters from Hutt River north of Geraldton through to Esperance in the south.

Marron are farmed in WA and elsewhere, with a feral population existing on South Australia’s Kangaroo island.

Marron dislike high salinity, low oxygen and high temperatures.

They prefer to live in rivers and dams where there is permanent cool water and native forest, with the best marron waters located south of Perth.

WA has a limited amateur fishing season in summer, with permits required, minimum sizes and possession limits enforced, and strict gear limitations applying.

In 2023, the season ran from 12 noon, January 8 to 12 noon February 5. Marron fishing gear could also only be sold in WA at that time.

Marron are taken using drop nets, scoop nets, or a snare.

In some waters only a snare – arguably the least efficient method – may be used.

Shrimp traps and opera house type traps are not permitted.

In 2023, snare-only waters included Margaret River (outside of the closed section), Big Brook Dam, Drakes Brook Dam, Glen Mervyn Dam and Logue Brook Dam, Harvey Dam and the Harvey River upstream of the South Western Highway including tributaries, Waroona Dam and its tributaries, and Wellington Dam (all waters and tributaries upstream of the Wellington Dam wall, excluding the Collie River upstream of Mungalup Road Bridge).

Noted WA marron waters are Murray River, Blackwood River, Donnelly River, Warren River, Capel River, Moore River, Hutt River and Preston River, and Harvey, Waroona Dam and Wellington Dams, but they exist in other waters.

Public water supply dams are generally closed to fishing, as is the Shannon River. The Margaret River and its tributaries above the Ten Mile Brook junction are closed.

Many of WA’s marron waters also contain trout, but marron may not legally be taken with a trout landing net.

Marron drop netting

In 2023, up to six drop nets per licensed fisher could be used.

Nets must have a rigid marron mesh base with a mesh dimension 32mm by 80mm or greater, with a maximum hoop diameter of 650mm.

Nets are usually baited with meat baits, with high-protein chook pellets retained in a mesh being effective, but chicken pieces, red meat, liver, kidney and even dry pet food also working well.

The best place to drop a net is near where marron can hide and in water that is deep enough to give them cover.

Near submerged timber or rock crevices are always good places to start, but marron do move into more open areas at night.

Nets can be left in the water for up to an hour, if you haven’t caught marron by then there may not be many around.

Marron snaring

Marron snare is a self-tightening noose presented on a pole that entraps the marron as the pole is raised.

A snare that can otherwise be tightened by the fisher is not allowed.

Snares are usually used at night by pre-baiting a shallow area during the day, then hunting for marron at night with a torch.

The snare is placed under the visible marron and tightens.

You place the snare behind the marron and over the tail and then lift the pole.

Marron scoop netting

Scoop netting is usually done at night using a torch.

In 2023, one scoop net – being a wire basket crab scoop – could be used per licensed marron fisher.

The wire basket must have a maximum of six vertical wires and a maximum of 75 individual rectangles.

Fine mesh nets were illegal.

The scoop net handle could be up to 1400mm long, with the scoop net itself being a maximum of 210mm deep and 375mm in diameter.

Scoop netting methods are simple enough – the marron are simply scooped in the shallows under torchlight.

Pre-baiting an area may be helpful.

A headlight is useful when chasing marron at night but keep in mind that lights can also spook them.

When to catch marron

The annual legal season only runs for a few weeks in summer.

Marron can be caught during the day, but night fishing is more effective, especially when the moon is not bright.

How to cook marron

Marron are usually boiled in salty water and then the meat is extracted from the tails, most easily done by cutting them in half down the middle.

Marron can also be fried, grilled or roasted.

Some fishos keep live marron in freshwater before cooking so they can purge.

Marron meat makes great salad sandwiches, try using sourdough bread, crisp lettuce, sliced tomato or avocado, and mayo or peri peri sauce.

WA marron fishing regulations
Perth dam levels
WA Govt freshwater angling guide
WA fishing regulations

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