The management of recreational fisheries benefits from good collaboration between scientists, managers and recreational fishers. However, the level of collaboration largely depends on the levels of effective communication among the different stakeholders. This paper presents the views of scientists, managers and fishers concerning the quality of communication in eleven case studies of recreational fisheries. Case studies were synthesised and common reasons why communication did not always flow as intended were identified. The prevalent barriers to good communication, and therefore collaboration included a lack of rigorous scientific information transfer from scientists to fishers and managers, a fear from fishers that management actions will limit fishing opportunities, pre‐existing antagonism between commercial and recreational fisheries, and fishers' suspicion of science. Overcoming these issues is paramount to improve collaboration and participatory processes that help lead to robust, well‐accepted management actions.