Freshwater fish are a highly threatened group and recovery of these threatened species is an increasingly difficult ecological and social challenge. There are many different on-ground recovery actions available to managers, but no synthesis of what, how or why these recovery actions have been deployed. The present paper reviews 428 reported on-ground recovery actions from a survey of practitioners of threatened freshwater-fish recovery in Australia. Recovery actions were grouped into 12 categories, with the most commonly utilised recovery categories being harvest control, translocation, habitat enhancement and stock enhancement. Major drivers of recovery actions were general conservation concern, recovery plans and emergency responses. The number of recovery actions grew significantly in the decade beginning 2000 as the impacts of prolonged drought in south-eastern Australia intensified. In all, 58% of recovery actions occurred in the Murray–Darling Basin, although this region holds only 27% of the 74 listed threatened freshwater fish in Australia. Few or no recovery actions were reported for many species, and few actions occurred in northern or western parts of the country. More than 80% of recovery actions reportedly had some form of monitoring. The diversity of management interventions is reviewed, and patterns and issues are identified to guide future recovery efforts.