Fishing on the Clarence Coast
From the Harwood Bridge downstream Flathead can be caught on the drift almost the full year around, while Jewfish can be found in the deep water along the bank at Palmers Island as they chase the schools of Mullet preparing for their spawning run. Browns Rocks and the shoreline of Goodwood Island produce good Bream and Flathead, with the deeper water along the southern bank carrying plenty of fish during a fresh.
Lake Wooloweyah, the Oyster Channel and Romiaka Channel, near Yamba are all top spots particularly after heavy rain. Lake Wooloweyah carries a lot of Flathead and Bream and is a popular spot for crabbing. Oyster Channel and Romiaka are favourite spots for those seeking Blackfish, with some of the best estuary fishing in Australia.
Access to the Middle Wall, Collis' Wall and the Turkeys Nest can only be obtained by boat, but in the winter months the rocks are crowded with fishermen seeking the Blackfish which are moving to sea on their spawning run. One of the secret baits used by locals for the Blackfish is a black weed known as "black magic" which is almost unknown elsewhere. Supplies are usually available at most bait shops or can be obtained from some of the drainage canals through the cane fields.
During the summer months the river's training walls are an ideal location for fishing for the large Flathead which spawn in the hotter weather. There are plenty of small Herring to use as bait as well as the traditional Mullet strips or White Pilchards.
The walls are also a favourite feeding place for the big Jewfish which feed on schools of fish as they move to sea. They appear in large numbers when the river carries a fresh or is in flood, feeding on the stupefied fish as they are washed out in the dirty water. In these conditions they bite on almost anything, including feathered lures.
The numerous headlands and long beaches offer plenty of opportunities for those who wish to have a more relaxed fishing holiday.
Woody and Iluka Bluffs, just to the north of the entrance to the Clarence are renowned for large Tailor and Jewfish. Blue Pilchards are preferred baits but the fish also bite freely on metal and plastic lures. During the winter months big Snapper also move into the shallower water and can be picked up off the rocks.
Offshore boats, up to about six metres, have beach access to the sea from launching ramps at Iluka, Yamba and Sandon, while lighter boats can be launched over the beach at Woody Head and Brooms Head. All boats putting to sea are advised to contact the local coastguard at Iluka so that action can be taken in an emergency.