Complete Guide to Obtaining Your Class Fishing License in South Australia

Complete Guide to Obtaining Your Class Fishing License in South Australia

South Australia is a fishing paradise, boasting diverse waterways teeming with a variety of fish species. Whether you’re an avid angler or a newcomer to the sport, obtaining the proper fishing license is crucial for enjoying this beloved pastime legally and responsibly. This comprehensive guide will walk you through the process of acquiring your recreational fishing license in South Australia, ensuring you’re fully prepared for your next fishing adventure.

Do You Need a Fishing License in South Australia?

Unlike many other states, South Australia does not require a license for recreational fishing in most waters. However, there are a few exceptions where permits or registrations are necessary:

  • Reservoir Fishing: To fish in certain reservoirs, you’ll need to purchase a Reservoir Fishing Permit from the Department of Primary Industries and Regions (PIRSA).
  • Charter Boat Fishing: If you plan to go fishing on a charter boat, the operator will need to hold a specific license and follow specific bag, boat, size, and trip limits.
  • Aboriginal Traditional Fishing: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people can continue their cultural practices and customs without a license, but they must still adhere to fishing regulations.

For general recreational fishing in South Australian waters, including rivers, lakes, and the ocean, no license is required. However, it’s essential to familiarize yourself with the fishing rules and regulations to ensure a sustainable and enjoyable experience for all.

Fishing Rules and Regulations in South Australia

While you don’t need a license for most recreational fishing activities in South Australia, there are several rules and regulations you must follow. These include:

1. Size, Bag, and Boat Limits

To protect fish populations and promote sustainable fishing practices, PIRSA has implemented size, bag, and boat limits for various species. These limits specify the minimum and maximum sizes of fish you can keep, as well as the maximum number you can catch per day or have in your possession.

It’s crucial to check the limits for the specific species you’re targeting before heading out. You can find this information on the PIRSA website or by using their official fishing app.

2. Fishing Gear Restrictions

South Australia has regulations regarding the types of fishing gear you can use, as well as gear combinations and bait/berley restrictions. These rules are in place to ensure fair and ethical fishing practices and to protect the environment.

For example, there may be limitations on the number of rods or lines you can use, the types of nets or traps allowed, and the use of certain baits or attractants in specific areas.

3. Fishing Closures

Certain areas in South Australian waters may be subject to temporary, seasonal, or permanent fishing closures. These closures are implemented to protect fish during spawning seasons, preserve sensitive habitats, or manage fish stocks.

Before planning your fishing trip, check for any closures in the areas you intend to visit. PIRSA provides up-to-date information on their website and through their fishing app.

4. Protected Species

Some fish species in South Australia are fully protected and must not be taken or disturbed at any time. These species may be vulnerable, threatened, or play a crucial role in the ecosystem.

It’s essential to familiarize yourself with the protected species in your fishing area and take appropriate measures to avoid catching or disturbing them.

5. Responsible Fishing Practices

In addition to following the rules and regulations, PIRSA encourages all recreational fishers to adopt responsible fishing practices. These include:

  • Handling and releasing fish carefully to minimize stress and injury
  • Properly measuring and identifying fish before keeping them
  • Disposing of fishing line and other waste responsibly
  • Reporting any illegal fishing activities or aquatic pests to the Fishwatch hotline

By following these practices, you can help ensure the sustainability of South Australia’s aquatic resources and preserve the fishing experience for future generations.

Obtaining a Reservoir Fishing Permit

As mentioned earlier, if you plan to fish in certain reservoirs in South Australia, you’ll need to obtain a Reservoir Fishing Permit from PIRSA. Here’s how to get one:

  1. Visit the PIRSA Website: Go to the PIRSA website ( and navigate to the “Recreational Fishing” section.
  2. Find the Reservoir Fishing Permit Information: Look for information on obtaining a Reservoir Fishing Permit, including the list of reservoirs where a permit is required.
  3. Purchase the Permit: Follow the instructions to purchase the permit online or through other available channels.
  4. Carry Your Permit: When fishing in a reservoir that requires a permit, make sure to have it with you at all times.

It’s important to note that reservoir fishing may have additional rules and regulations beyond the general fishing guidelines. Be sure to familiarize yourself with these specific requirements before your trip.

Tips for an Enjoyable Fishing Experience in South Australia

To make the most of your fishing adventures in South Australia, consider the following tips:

1. Plan Your Trip

Research the areas you plan to fish, including the species present, fishing conditions, and any specific regulations or closures. Plan your trip accordingly, ensuring you have the necessary gear and equipment.

2. Respect the Environment

Practice catch-and-release whenever possible, and handle fish with care. Dispose of any waste properly and avoid disturbing sensitive habitats or wildlife.

3. Stay Safe

Familiarize yourself with water safety guidelines and wear appropriate safety gear, such as life jackets and sun protection. Inform others of your fishing plans and locations.

4. Consider Hiring a Guide

If you’re new to fishing in South Australia or want to explore unfamiliar waters, consider hiring a professional fishing guide. Their local knowledge and expertise can greatly enhance your experience and increase your chances of success.

5. Join a Fishing Club or Community

Connecting with other anglers through local fishing clubs or online communities can provide valuable insights, tips, and camaraderie. These groups often organize fishing events and outings, allowing you to learn from experienced anglers and make new friends who share your passion.


Obtaining your recreational fishing license in South Australia is a straightforward process, but it’s essential to understand and follow the rules and regulations to ensure a sustainable and enjoyable fishing experience. By familiarizing yourself with size, bag, and boat limits, fishing gear restrictions, closures, and responsible fishing practices, you can contribute to the preservation of South Australia’s aquatic resources while enjoying this beloved pastime.

Remember, even though a general fishing license is not required in most waters, it’s crucial to obtain the necessary permits for reservoir fishing or charter boat trips. With proper planning, respect for the environment, and adherence to regulations, you’ll be well on your way to creating unforgettable fishing memories in the beautiful waters of South Australia.

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