Dusky Flathead

Flathead dusky
© Tasmanian Government. Image Peter Gouldthorpe
Season: Open all year

bag limit20


possession limit30


boat limit-

Limits apply to flathead species other than bluespotted and rock combined.

Guide to symbols

bagBag Limit
housePossession Limit
boatBoat Limit

Minimum size


Most scalefish are measured from the nose to the end of the tail. Get your scalefish measuring ruler or sticker at any Service Tasmania outlet.

Other names

black flathead, mud flathead, river flathead

Scientific name

Platycephalus fuscus

Grows to

Up to

1.2m and 15kg

Identifying features

​Dusky flathead are sandy brown in colour with small spots over the body and fins. The tail fin has a dark spot which may disappear with growth. There are two prominent angled spines on the gill cover, the lower one longer than the upper one. These spines are similar in length to those found on the southern bluespotted flathead.


Found in shallow sand and muddy estuaries, lagoons and inshore areas.

Fishing information

This is the largest of the flatheads in Australia. In Tasmania, it is sometimes confused with other flathead including the southern bluespotted flathead because of its size. Not common in most parts of Tasmania, it is reported to occur in small numbers around Flinders Island and the north coast but there have been no confirmed identifications. They can be taken from a boat or from shore as they are known to come into shallow waters including river mouths and estuaries. Duskies are usually targeted using hard or soft bodies lures or bait.


Beware of short, sharp spines on the flathead’s gill covers and dorsal fin.


Low oil content with a pleasant, sweet flavour. Fine textured flesh which can dry out slightly with some cooking methods but remains moist and flaky when cooked in batter. The long shape of flathead means that it fillets well as most of the bones are at the head section of the fish. Also retains moisture well when cooked as whole fish. Suitable to bake in foil, shallow or deep fry, marinate, poach or steam.

Flathead Fact Sheets

How to Increase the Survival of Released Flathead

How to Release Flathead using a Fish De-hooker


Fishwatch Report illegal fishing

0427 655 557

What to report? arrow button

Contact us

Recreational Fishing

Level 3, 134 Macquarie St

Hobart TAS 7000

Phone: (03) 6165 3233, 1300 720 647

Email: fishing.enquiries@nre.tas.gov.au

Commercial Fisheries

Level 3, 134 Macquarie St

GPO Box 44

Phone: (03) 6165 3000, 1300 368 550

Email: commercial.fisheries@nre.tas.gov.au

Commercial Fisheries Licensing

Level 3, 134 Macquarie St

GPO Box 44

Phone: (03) 6165 3000, 1300 368 550

Email: fishing.licensing@nre.tas.gov.au