Can You Use Carp As Bait In NSW?

Carp for bait

Recreational fishing and camping are popular pastime activities in New South Wales. The region has various beautiful destinations where you can practice your craft and enjoy the serene environment. However, before you release your hook into the calm waters, you may wonder whether using carp as bait for your catch would be appropriate.

You can use carp as bait in NSW. However, its use is highly regulated. You can only use dead carp when fishing in freshwater bodies. These rules are put in place to protect the environment and fish populations in the region.

The rest of this article will answer the question further and discuss various topics, including the regulations surrounding bait in NSW, accompanying penalties, and alternative baits. Let’s get to it!

What Are the Regulations Regarding Carp As Bait In NSW?

You are not allowed to use carp as bait in inland waters while they are still alive. The carp must be dead before setting it up on your hook and capturing fish. The same applies to other fin fish and pest species.

There are various regulations governing baits while fishing in NSW waters. The laws ensure environmental conservation and promote safe and humane fishing practices.

Other live animals prohibited as bait include mammals and birds. You also may not use frogs or non-native fish as bait, whether they are dead or alive. Artificial baits are also prohibited from use in trout breeding streams.

These regulations only govern NSW and may differ in other states.

Carp For Bait

Are There Penalties For Using Live Carp As Bait?

There are penalties for using live carp as bait in NSW. Using live carp as bait in fresh waters such as rivers, streams, and lakes in NSW is an illegality that can earn you a fine of up to $11,000. The penalty also applies to people who illegally stock carp in freshwater bodies.

Going against bait regulationsOpens in a new tab. set by the NSW Department of Primary Industries can earn you hefty fines. For example, relevant authorities may ban you from active fishing. You do not want to lose your hobby rights because of a few avoidable mistakes.

The regulations are meant to rid NSW fresh aquatic habitats of destructive carps. Once introduced into the waters, the species are considered pests that cause detrimental environmental impactsOpens in a new tab.. They reduce water quality, destroy river banks, and lead to algae blooms at the expense of other aquatic life. 

Therefore, carp’s introduction to fresh waters poses a danger to the environment, especially once they drop viable eggs and continue breeding.

However, it is not illegal to catch and release carp back into the water you captured it in under the current regulations. So, if you are out engaging in recreational fishing and net a carp, return it to the water immediately; you will not be fined.

How to Use Dead Carp As Bait

Although the use of live carp as bait is illegal, it is okay and legal to use dead carp for recreational fishing. The species have tough skin, making them the perfect bait for any salt or freshwater catch. However, you have to prepare them adequately before utilizing them in this way.

If you’re planning to use dead carp as bait, below are a few steps that may help.

1. Kill The Carp

If you’ve captured the carp yourself, the first step is to ensure it is dead before using it as bait.

Although the fish are destructive, they still need to be killed humanely. You can use euthanasiaOpens in a new tab. by placing it in a solution of anesthetic agents or concuss it with a blow to the back of its head.

Remember, carrying around a live carp away from the water body is illegal.

2. Cut It Up

The next step is to prepare the fish bait. Before conducting this step, you should take the fish far away from the water body.

Dissect the fish, remove its guts and watch out for any eggs the carp may have. Ensure you discard present eggs carefully to ensure they do not make their way back into the fresh waterway.

Filet the fish into sizes of your liking. If the carp is small, you can cut off its head for use as bait.

3. Salt And Use

Pour salt on the filet pieces and let them dry to preserve them if you’d like to use other parts in later escapades.

After this step, your dead carp bait is ready for use. You can place it on your hook and try your luck capturing fish at the destination of your choice.

Another Bait To Try Is Squid

Baits To Use As Alternatives To Carp

If you’re having a hard time using dead carp as bait, you could consider many other alternatives.

Alternative legal fishing baits are available in various tackle shops, which provide options such as the following:

  • Beach worms
  • Sardines
  • Squid
  • Pipi
  • Prawns

These baits should be fresh to attract fish when setting up your rod. Similarly, you can go for artificial bait such as lures and soft plastics, which also present a viable option.

When purchasing these baits from local vendors, they must check their origins and labels. Imported baits should be marked as having been treated to prevent the possibility of infesting the waters with exotic diseases.

What Should I Do With The Carp I Catch?

Everyone should play a part in eradicating invasive carp from NSW water habitats.

You should find the best way to utilize the carp you catch. You could prepare a meal out of it, use it as pet food, or implement it as organic fertilizer for your crops and garden. Avoid capturing and recapturing the species, as this is counterproductive.

If you have no idea how to use a captured carp, use appropriate means to dispose of it.


Using live carp as bait in NSW is a frowned-upon practice that can get you in trouble with authorities. The species pose a significant threat to the fresh waterways due to their negative environmental impact. They endanger aquatic life by reducing the quality of freshwater bodies.

However, you can always use dead carps as bait when fishing. It is easy to prepare and is an excellent bait for fresh and salty water fishing. If you cannot use this option, other alternatives are offered in your local tackle shop.

Daniel Clarke

The website is run by myself Daniel Clarke, I’m lucky enough to have been living in Hervey Bay, for 31 years so I’m classed as a local I have seen many changes over this time. Read more about us here

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