What Kind Of Freshwater Fish Do They Eat In Australia? Australian continent has over 5,000 known species of marine fish and most of it is endemic.  Their population has evolved and adapted for millions of years in their own unique habitat. Aquaculture and seafood are highly rated industries and fishing for freshwater and marine fish is very popular.

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Freshwater fish of Australia are limited only to approximately 280 species. You may be wondering why this large continent only has a little amount of contribution to all freshwater fishes all over the world, that is because the continent of Australia is a very dry continent with sporadic rainfall and a big area of desert.

Fish survival is closed down to zero in some desert parts of South Australia and West Australia and one major requirement for freshwater to survive is to have tropical weather.

Freshwater Fish For Australian Cuisine

Seafood is one of the most appetizing and delicacies this continent has to offer. With its big size and diverse species, you can almost get any seafood you like in the most coastal area. Seafood is the term used to describe the marine and freshwater species that serve as food to people.

A lot of Australian people tend to consume a lot of High Protein, Omega-3 fatty acids, Calcium, and Zinc which can be found in Salmon, Tuna, and Trout. Here are some of the top freshwater fishes that Australians love to eat.

Australian Bass

Australian bass can be small to medium in shape freshwater fish found in rivers and streams along the eastern side of Australia. It is part of the family of Percichthyidae and the Genus Macquarie. This species is a predatory native fish and one of the popular angling fish.

They can be found normally in the streams and rivers of Wilsons Promontory in Victoria and along the eastern side of Bundaberg in Queensland. Commonly known as perch but later on, was named as Australian Bass.

These well-known fish are commonly targeted by anglers and fishermen for sport and eating.

The size of an Australian bass varies. They normally have an elongated body and a forked caudal tail, angular anal and very soft dorsal fins which are high and sharp. Their mouths are in medium size and have huge eyes that can be dark in low light and red in bright light. Their gill covers are extremely sharp that it can cut you in plain sight.

Bass has a clean white flesh that can be cooked in whatever you like. They have the softest flesh that’s good for eating. They don’t smell or have some odor which is perfect because you can eat them straight from the dam either big or small.

Murray Cod

Murray cod is one of the largest Australian freshwater fish and in the world. It is very important in Australia’s ecosystem wildlife to act as a predator in the Murray Darling River system.

They are mostly found in the slow-flowing, turbid rivers and creeks with little elevation. They range from golden-yellow to green to dark brown mottling in color.

They have a soft dorsal, anal and caudal fins that have white margins. They have a concave head and largemouth all over to the back of their eye. They are quite large fish, they have an approximate 65 centimeters in length and can grow up to 180 centimeters and can weigh up to 113kg.

Murray cod can live up to so many years. It is one of the characteristics of freshwater native fish in Australia. They can live up to 48 to 70 human years. They are the aquatic predator of Murray Darling basin, they will eat any kind smaller than itself. 

Some people enjoy it as fishing other than eating because of the declining numbers and its bizarre issue of reproduction.

But its size and creamy flesh are one of the books to try. The raw flesh is grey/white in color, with a pinkish flesh and a layer of creamy fat belly.

You can cook in whatever you like, afterward, the flesh is brilliant white with a rich aroma and creamy flake and a mild flavor that is totally unique.


Barramundi is a loanword from the aboriginal language of Queensland that means large-scaled river fish. Barramundi is one of Australia’s famous freshwater fish. It became famous for most anglers because of its strong physique and a large body.

They are mostly found from the Mary River in the southeast of Queensland to the Gulf of Carpentaria. It has been discovered that they demonstrated such sustainability and were able to reproduce and grow in RSA as well as in open ponds.

They have an elongated body with a very large, oblique mouth and an upper jaw extending up to their eyes. They have large, silvery scales that can be either light or dark depending on their habitats.

They can reach up to 1.8 meters long and can weigh up to 60 kilograms. They are considered to be demersal, mostly living in coastal waters, estuaries, rivers, streams, and lagoons.

Barramundi has a mild, flaky and white flesh and with a good amount of body fat. It is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, protein and Vitamin A and D. It is very gentle and makes a lot of seafood lovers drool over this fish.

It has a very flaky pink in color flesh and is very easy to cook. It does not give any odor and is very versatile in the kitchen.

Golden Perch

The Golden Perch, most commonly known as Yellowbelly is a medium-sized freshwater fish found primarily in the Murray-Darling system. There are three distinct strains for golden perch.

The one from the Murray Darling System, the one from the Lake Eyre Drainage system and the Fitzroy Dawson River system. It is mostly known as Callop in the south. Mostly carnivores that eat yabbies, fish, shrimp, and insect larvae. 

Golden Perch are medium size fish, commonly ranging from 30 centimeters up to 40 centimeters. Fish that can be found in the rivers are smaller than the ones in the streamlined. 

They have a very elongated body with a very distinct concave forehead. They have a protruding jaw and truncate tail fins. Their caudal, dorsal and anal fin are round shaped. They were often mistaken as Australian bass.  

A golden perch can be sold whole or in a fillet form. They have a very lustrous skin with a slippery mucilaginous coating. It has firm flesh and a fresh smell. The flesh is yellowish-white in color, firm and moist without any brown marking or oozing water and it also has a very fresh smell.

They have a very mild flavor compared to other freshwater fish, low in oil and moist, and they have medium-textured flesh. It has a few bones and can be easily removed. You can poach, steam, pan-fry, bake, grill and barbecue it. Perfect pairing with soups, curries, and even casseroles.

Silver Perch

Silver Perch are moderate to large species of freshwater fish that can be found in the Murray-Darling system. It is endemic to Australia. They prefer open space and fast-moving water.

They were once widespread and abundant but now are declining in numbers and now only commercially available on the farm. They are oval-shaped with a tiny head that acts like a beak when they become a more mature and larger fish.

As the name said, they are quite in the gray area that can also be greenish, silver and darker on the back and later on each side. They commonly weigh up to 450 grams to 1 and a half kilograms and can grow to 8 kilograms and 70 centimeters in length.

They are omnivorous, feeding on algae, worms and insect larvae.  

Silver perch are perfect as a whole of the fillet. They are well suited for baking, shallow frying, poaching, and grilling. The fillet stays in shape even after cooking very well suited for stir-fries, pasta dishes and even in risotto.

They can be a little bit dry but moist when bought fresh. It’s perfect to be paired with the medium flavored sauce.

Brook Trout

Also known as Mud Trout or Squaretail is a species of freshwater fish of the Salmon family Salmonidae. It is widespread to Eastern North America and Canada but has been introduced to Iceland, Asia, and Europe and presently in New South Wales and Tasmania.

Brook Trout have a very slender body shape and are elongated fish. They can be differentiated from other species by their huge mouth which extends up to their eyes. They have an olive-green body-color with pale lines and spots.

Their pelvic, pectoral and anal fins are on the darker side and are dark grey. They are smaller compared to other trout. They only weigh about 2 kilograms but can grow up to 4 kilograms. Their lengths vary from their habitats from 25 to 65 centimeters.

They mostly eat larval, pupal, and other adult forms of an aquatic insect as part of their diet.

In general, trouts are bony but their flesh is essentially considered to be delicious. They contain one of the lowest amounts of dioxins, which is a type of environmental contaminant, of all oily fishes. A good source of omega-3 fatty acids.

Steaming, poaching, smoking, and grilling are popular methods in cooking trouts, just be mindful that they cook very quickly. If you plan to pan-fry or grill them, it’s a good practice to leave the skin to hold it together. Nuts, cucumber relish, and wild mushrooms are suitable to partner when eating trouts.

European Carp

Also known as common carp, is a known freshwater species of Eutrophic waters including lakes and rivers in New South Wales. Known to be a pest because of their destructive feeding habits. European carps have a little mouth with no teeth and one pair of barbels to each side.

They have very distinct body scales up to 33 to 40 lateral scale lines. They have a long dorsal fin with 3 to 4 spines. They normally have a body color of olive green to a golden brown. Color adjustments and variations vary depending on their habitats.

They can grow up to 120 centimeters and weigh up to 40 kilograms and these types of fish can live for at least 40 years.

Common carp are mostly omnivorous. They eat a lot of herbivorous diet plants but also prefer to look out for bottom crustaceans, insects, larvae, planktons, crawfish, and some worms.

They are most tolerant of their environment but they preferred large bodies of slow or standing water. They prefer to be in a group of 5 or more.

Carp can be eaten when caught from the wild or raised in aquaculture. They are quite delicious species of fish that have the same texture and taste like salmon. They are on the oily side but never had the muddy flavor.

They are best for deep-fried, pan-fried or grilled. They have the best flesh that is sturdy enough to handle enough heat. They are mostly prepared as soup mixed with other freshwater fish. 

They can also be poached to make gefilte fish. And also their eggs are used for caviar which is getting a buzz nowadays.


With the number of resources being limited in this continent, Australians do find some time to maintain a balance and sustainability in their natural resources specifically in partaking freshwater fish.

They find leisure and enjoyment of participating in the sports aspect of it rather than the eating aspect.

It just shows that people do care for our environment and try to implement new ways of reproducing. All food production and intake will always have an impact on society. You have to inform yourself about these matters because it will become beneficial for your health and the environment.

Overall, the amount of freshwater fish is enough for the next couple of years. Be adventurous and respectful of your seafood selections by experimenting with choices that will be both healthy and sustainable.