Lake Macquarie, New South Wales

Lake Macquarie tides
NSW fishing regulations
NSW marine parks

Lake Macquarie is a vast estuary with 170km of shoreline.

The 11,000ha area averages 9.7m deep. The lake has an artificial reef system.

The main species caught are yellowfin bream, dusky flathead and sand whiting.

Luderick, snapper, chopper tailor, tarwhine, blue crabs and prawns are also abundant at times, as are flounder and squid.

Mulloway, kingfish, big tailor and trophy flathead are targeted by some, usually in or near the entrance channel.

Snapper and mulloway inhabit deeper areas, mostly biting at night.

Dolphin fish (dorado) have been caught in the lake, although this is unusual.

Fishing has improved markedly since commercial netting was stopped in 2002.

There is usually somewhere sheltered to fish in almost any wind, but the lake is shallow and can become rough, especially in a southerly.

Skippers should watch for flats that trap boats on a falling tide.

Swansea Channel is the pick of the spots and has an easily accessible wall along the entrance’s north shore, but is problematic because strong currents flow despite small local tides.

The artificial reef is productive.

In recent years Salts Bay has been home to large numbers of salmon, and mulloway and pink snapper captures have increased.

Being shallow and clear, the lake should be fished with light tackle and fresh bait.

Week days may fish best when there is less boat traffic.

Summer sees prawns taken at night on the run-out tide and dark moon.

Squid are best at the channel entrance and near the bridge. Hire boats and canoes are available.

Lake Macquarie Artificial Reef

The reef system is off Galgabba Point in 6m of water.

There are six sites, comprising 600 hollow concrete reef balls, each 1m square, within a 3sqkm area.

About 42 species are known to live on the reefs.

The GPS supplied here is the central mark followed by four corner marks for each site.

Site 1.
33 05.604S 151 36.612E
33 05.614S 151 36.616E
33 05.605S 151 36.602E
33 05.597S 151 36.607E
33 05.606S 151 36.624E
Site 2.
33 05.680S 151 36.738E
33 05.697S 151 36.738E
33 05.670S 151 36.748E
33 05.666S 151 36.739E
33 05.692S 151 36.728E
Site 3.
33 05.764S 151 36.790E
33 05.755S 151 36.787E
33 05.759S 151 36.782E
33 05.773S 151 36.791E
33 05.770S 151 36.799E
Site 4.
33 05.814S 151 36.891E
33 05.807S 151 36.885E
33 05.813S 151 36.877E
33 05.822S 151 36.899E
33 05.817S 151 36.905E
Site 5.
33 05.880S 151 36.879E
33 05.879S 151 36.870E
33 05.885S 151 36.874E
33 05.884S 151 36.888E
33 05.875S 151 36.881E
Site 6.
33 05.985S 151 36.942E
33 05.978S 151 36.949E
33 05.976S 151 36.942E
33 05.990S 151 36.933E
33 05.997S 151 36.942E

There are also some ‘private’ (illegal) artificial reefs in the lake.

Lake Macquarie (Newcastle) Offshore Artificial Reef

This reef is 3.5km north-east of the Swansea bar, offshore from Blacksmiths Beach, at a depth of 28.5m. It was deployed in August 2019.

The reef is two single steel pinnacle towers of 7.8m wide by 10.9m deep and 6.4m high, each having a central vertical tower of 12m.

Yellowtail kingfish, snapper, silver trevally, mulloway, yellowtail and slimy mackerel exist around the reef.

Site 1.
33 04.300S 151 42.018E
Site 2.
33 04.380S 151 41.891E


Email us any corrections, additions, pictures or video here.

Some external videos filmed around Lake Macquarie are featured below.

Lake Macquarie fishing

Lake Macquarie fishing

Lake Macquarie flathead

Lake Macquarie bream

Lake Macquarie jewfish

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