Arripis trutta

Southern WA, SA, VIC, TAS, NSW/ACT, Southern QLD
Bay, Ocean, River, Estuary, Creek, Beach, Structure

Australian Salmon are also known as Eastern Australian Salmon and Kahawai in New Zealand. As the names suggest, these fish are found in the cooler waters off the southeastern coast of Australia and around New Zealand. In actual fact, there are two types of Australian Salmon. They are the Eastern Australian Salmon and the Western Australian Salmon (Arripis truttacea).

Although Australian Salmon are referred to as Salmon, there are actually not related to Salmons or Trouts.

Australian Salmon are commonly called Bay Trout, Black Back, Black Backed Salmon, Buck, Buck Salmon, Cocky Salmon, Colonial Salmon, Eastern Australian Salmon, Western Australian Salmon, Native Salmon, Newfish, Salmon Trout and even Three Kings.

Australian Salmon are considered an outstanding sports fish because of their ability to fight and their signature jump when they are caught. The traditional Maori name, Kahawai, actually means “brave in the water”.


Australian Salmon have a dark blue body distinguished by rows of spots on the upper sides of the body. Australian fish normally weigh around 1-2.5kg but have been caught at as large as 6kg.

Both Australian Salmon species appear very similar. However, the Western species has fewer gill rakers and reaches a maximum size of 9kg whereas the Eastern Salmon normally only reach 7kg.

Adult salmon have a dark forked tail and eyes that are normally yellow. The Salmon’s body is the typical torpedo shape and looks loaded with power. Australian Salmon have distinctive brown dots (or very short stripes) along the dorsal. As they become larger, they can be dark across back. The Salmon’s belly is silvery and sometimes even white.


Eastern Australian Salmon are found from the south of Queensland on the border with New South Wales right down to Tasmania. Western Australian Salmon are found from the Kalbarri in Western Australia right around to the western coast of Tasmania.

The larger fish of both species are more commonly found in the northern region of the range during spawning migrations. They normally the northern regions of their range in late winter on the east coast of Australia and around the middle of April on the west coast.


Recreational fishos are competing with commercial operations when chasing Australian Salmon with the commercial catch on the decline since the mid-1990s. There is little doubt that commercial fishing has a big impact on local abundance and recreational fishing quality. This is an issue with Australian Salmon because they commonly form large schools as they move around the coasts, which makes them a target for commercial fishing.

Australian Salmon are a great fish to catch because of their sheer power and speed. Techniques for catching Australian Salmon are as varied as the fishos that go chasing them.

If you want to catch Australian Salmon, the key is to get skilled at spotting schools of the fish. Some of the most spectacular Salmon fishing is when the Salmon are schooling. If you like beach fishing, you will enjoy their strong runs and spectacular leaps.

They are also commonly found around break walls, headlands and deeper estuary mouths.

Australian Salmon feed on Pilchards, Whitebait, Bluebait and other smaller baitfish. Baits with white skin attached do better. Live bait is best used to entice Australian Salmon in areas that are heavily fished.

You will also do well with cast or trolled lures. Chrome spoons or slices, feather lures, surface poppers and hardbody minnow lures, metal lures (15-25gm) and smaller soft plastics. Australian Salmon will also bite on flies with deceiver patterns if you are one who really likes to work hard on light fly setups.