The Camden Haven still holds the record for the largest bream ever caught. Can you catch the next big one?
The Camden Haven River starts high on the Great Dividing Range running east down through a picturesque valley and the historic river town of Kendall. The river then flows into Watson Taylor Lake, Queens Lake and Gogleys Lagoon before entering the Pacific Ocean at Laurieton, Dunbogan and North Haven.
Fishing is particularly popular from October through to June each year with peaks during Christmas and Easter. Water and air temperatures are generally mild during winter and very pleasant during summer.
The river has a wide range of fishing opportunities from freshwater bass in the upper reaches to estuarine species such as bream, flathead and luderick throughout the lakes.
Beach and rock fishers should try the beautiful Diamond Head, Perpendicular Point and the small village of Bonny Hills. The North Haven and Dunbogan break walls in the estuary mouth are popular for a mixed bag of fish. Bream, flathead, whiting and luderick can be caught on a basic running sinker rig and fresh bait.
The best time of the day to fish is early morning or evening, at either high or low tide as the fish can feed voraciously in the slack water between tides. The best baits are worms, nippers, pilchards or fresh mullet.
A boat is an ideal way to see the expansive Camden Haven waterways. Explore Queens Lake, downstream into Stingray Creek and then back up into Watson Taylor Lake on your way to the Camden Haven River.
The Dunbogan Boatshed offers an array of boats and kayaks for hire to explore the waterways. There are many shallow sections in the waters of the Camden Haven, so care must be taken with navigation.
The Camden Haven is renowned for its prawn and crab fishing and during the warmer months a great night can be had chasing them. Queens Lake and Watson Taylor Lake, which both run into the Camden Haven Inlet, are some of the most productive grounds for prawns and crabs on the north coast. During the dark moon (new moon) each month, prawns head for the sea on the run-out tide. Dip or scoop nets are the most popular methods used by recreational fishers. A light will be required to spot the prawns and crabs. Prawn’s eyes appear red in the light, while a crab’s white underbelly is visible in the light when they swim. Hand hauled prawn nets can also be used to catch prawns. This net is 6 metres long and requires at least two people to drag it through the water. This net must be registered with NSW Department of Primary Industries (NSW DPI) and the best spots to use it are in shallow sandy bottom areas of the lakes.
Spearfishing is popular around the Camden Haven. Diamond Head and Perpendicular Point are good areas for big drummer, bream or snapper. However, spearfishing is prohibited in the entrance of the Camden Haven Inlet from the Dunbogan Bridge and the North Haven Bridge downstream to the ocean, including Gogleys Lagoon. Spearfishing on ocean beaches (except within the last 20 metres at the end of each beach) is not permitted. It is illegal to spear blue, red or brown groper, lobster or any protected fish. For more information about fishing regulations & requirements please visit: Department Primary Industries