Fishing Altona Pier

Altona Pier, in recent times, had an artificial reef placed just off the end of the pier. Making the pier one of the best Altona fishing spots for land-based…

Altona Pier, in recent times, had an artificial reef placed just off the end of the pier. Making the pier one of the best Altona fishing spots for land-based fisho’s.

That’s the facing south end looking out into Port Phillip Bay.

The reef is designed to improve fish stocks in the locality of the pier by providing a structural habitat.

The deepest part of the pier is the end, so it tends to fish best on the rising tide.

I’ve personally witnessed a school of whiting feeding right off the end of the pier.

Be warned – approach quietly as they are extremely shy and will dart off quickly into deeper water.

While Altona Pier can certainly fish well I’ve found its popularity with swimmers and kids diving off the pier can make it difficult at times. Particularly during summer!

altona pier

One year I set-up at the very end of the pier, facing the artificial reef. Overnight the temperature hadn’t dropped below 25C. The day was set to be 40C plus. A couple of guys who obviously wanted to dive off the end of the pier tried to convince me there was a huge snapper swimming halfway down. A rather sad attempt at getting me to move!

However, even from the North Eastern suburbs, Altona Pier is a great fishing spot that’s not too far from most West and North and North Eastern suburbs.

My advice is to check out Google Maps (satellite view) or Google Earth before you get there.

These tools give you a pretty good look at the structure in the water.  The artificial reef, sandbanks, holes and submerged seagrass areas.

There’s plenty of parking and a number of cafes and food outlets nearby.

The park, located opposite the pier, has well maintained public toilets with electronic “smart locking and cleaning”. Be advised, at least when I’ve been there, they are closed before 6:00 am.

Target Fish Around Altona Pier

While Flathead is present at Altona Pier year-round. Snapper, Pinkie Snapper and King George Whiting can be targetted during the summer months.

Like flatties, bream are present year-round too.    You’ll often find them lurking under the pier itself.  Just be wary of getting caught in the pylons when the bream make a dash for it.  Some good size fish are taken at times.

Like most piers, the Altona Pier tide plays a role in fishing. My best times have nearly always been an hour or two before and after a high or low tide.

Plus I nearly always fish here before and just after dawn. I set up an hour to two hours before first light. Staying around two hours after sunrise.

I find the pier to be quieter at this time than during the evenings. Particularly during summer.


Altona Pier Squid

Altona Pier Squid are best targeted in the sand flats between weed beds.

You’ll often be able to see them as the water is quite clear.

Consider trying some darker coloured squid jigs* first.

Black, dark browns with a flash of luminescent green. If these aren’t producing the desired results then change to something a little brighter. Moving you way towards lumo bright.

I go a step further and treat my jigs with a light spray of Ultraviolet Spray*. Charging this all up with 60 seconds under a portable black light*.

Little things like this can really make a difference when it comes to bagging out on squid.

Fish Species Suggested Bait

Black Bream
All Year Round.
Can become less active during Winter. Activity picking up late August. Active during warmer months.

Bluebait, Chicken Breast, Crabs, Earthworms, Mussels, Pilchards, Pipis, Prawns, Sandworms, Whitebait

Australian Salmon
All Year Round
Common for schools to move through, chopping up the water before moving on. Can be common during cooler months.

Bluebait, Chicken Breast, Flathead Fillets, Mullet Fillets, Mussels, Pilchards, Pipis, Prawns, Sandworms, Squid Hoods, Squid Tentacles, Whitebait, Whiting Fillets

November to April
Known to migrate from Victoria to South Australia during cooler months.

Bluebait, Chicken Breast, Mussels, Pilchards, Pipis, Prawns, Sandworms, Squid Tentacles, Whitebait

All Year Round.
Can sometimes be the only game in town during cooler weather.

Bluebait, Chicken Breast, Earthworms, Mussels, Pilchards, Pipis, Prawns, Squid Tentacles

Pinky Snapper
All Year Round. But much more prevalent during warmer months.
October through to March.

Bluebait, Chicken Breast, Flathead Fillets, Mullet Fillets, Pilchards, Pipis, Squid Tentacles, Whitebait, Whiting Fillets

Later September to end of March.
Adult specimens often come closer towards shore to feed on reefs during rougher weather.

Bluebait, Chicken Breast, Crabs, Flathead Fillets, Mullet Fillets, Mussels, Pilchards, Pipis, Prawns, Sandworms, Squid, Squid Hoods, Squid Tentacles, Whitebait, Whiting Fillets

All Year Round. Best fished when waters are clear with little turbulence.
Top times can be during June to September.

Squid Jig

All Year Round. Can be more sluggish during cooler months.
Often more active between late September and March.

Bluebait, Chicken Breast, Chicken Liver, Flathead Fillets, Mullet Fillets, Mussels, Nippers, Pilchards, Pipis, Prawns, Sandworms, Squid, Squid Hoods, Squid Tentacles, Whitebait, Whiting Fillets

All Year Round.
Often targeted during July to August in Port Phillip & Western Port Bay

*Some fish species vary according to time of year and local environmental conditions.

Bait & Tackle

Best baits are the traditional ones. These include Pipi, pilchard, garfish, tuna and squid. Prawns are worth a shot for the flathead, ‘cos, you know – “lizards and prawns.”

Soft plastics, fished properly, with some scent are absolutely worth using at Altona Pier. Try any of the small fish type plastics, prawns, Gulp sandworms* etc.

With your soft plastics, you can try casting and jigging, retrieving and even “dead sticking” as you would a natural bait.  Experimentation is key.

I usually fish with at least two rods.  One soaking a soft plastic or natural bait.  The other with something like a Berkley Gulp* on a jig with which I work the water.

I usually fish with a paternoster rig* here. A whiting rig* making a good all-round and well-balanced choice.

Altona Pier Fishing Map
Altona Pier Artificial Reef Location

Altona Pier Artificial Reef

The artificial reef is best accessed from the end of Altona Pier using a surf rod*.

The reef was added specifically to attract fish species into the area. Providing a marine habitat.

It’s made up of concrete structures and seems to have been extremely effective in attracting marine species to colonise it.

Use live, fresh, frozen or even soft plastics on the reef.

Under less windy conditions you shouldn’t need to fish too heavy.

So you can keep the sinker weight down.  Allow just sufficient for casting out.

The current is generally quite light and shouldn’t drag too much.

A small star sinker in the range of 30 to 40g (1 to 1 1/2 oz) is about right for most purposes.

Altona Pier Fishing At A Glance

Juvenile or Pinky Snapper
Juvenile or “Pinky” Snapper
  • Artificial Reef, located off the end of the pier, has improved fishing significantly.
  • I tend to fish light. 6 to 10lb mainline. No more than 20kg (or less) leader. 5 – 9foot rod.
  • My preferred rig for bait fishing is paternoster here. But running sinker will work fine.
  • For whiting, flathead, pinkies and snapper cast off the end of the pier.
  • For bream cast around the pier sides and directly below. Take care not to snag pylons.
  • Recommend Zman Motoroil colour paddletails here if you’re spinning soft plastics.
  • Suggested bait: pilchards, bluebait, whitebait, pippis, sandworms, mussels, chicken breast.


Address: Altona Pier, Esplanade, Altona VIC, Australia
Lat: -37.8723658
Lng: 144.8301757
Proximity: 14.6 km from Melbourne's GPO via M1

Location Review & Rating


  • Close and easy access
  • Good parking
  • Toilets are a distance away, but extremely well maintained (self-cleaning.)
  • Family-friendly  - children under strict supervision
  • Good range of fish habitats and fish species In the right conditions, you can target big Snapper In clear, calm conditions
  • Squid fishing can be productive.


  • Can be very busy in the summertime
  • Has sporadically attracted some youth gangs in recent years.
  • Some people "party" on the pier on hot nights and leave a terrible mess of litter and food scraps behind them.

Review Overview

Pier Condition
Public Toilets
Family Friendly
Environment & Pollution


A truly great fishing pier.

Bream under the pier, whiting and snapper off the end, towards the reef.

With flathead scattered along the length.

Well worth a fishing trip!


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I'm Dave, I live and fish in and around Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.
When it comes to fishing I love going out to land-based fishing spots, heading out in the tinny (aka an Aluminum Boat) and kayak fishing.

I've been fishing since I was a teen. Beginning way back in the 1970s. It was a hobby I picked up myself as my family certainly had no interest. Making me the black sheep! My favourite fish is Flathead and Snapper. Though I'm partial to Flake (Gummy Shark) and Calamari too! While I enjoy fishing for freshwater species like Redfin and Murray Cod I prefer eating saltwater species. They're just so mouth-wateringly tasty!

I love writing about some of my favourite Melbourne Fishing Spots while fishing around Victoria. As well as the tackle I use and test.
If you see me while you're out fishing say "G' day" - I'll be the one in a bush hat.

When I'm not fishing I'm working on my websites, such as Getfished, or writing computer software (my profession.)

I try to be as accurate as possible on this website. Most of the information is based on personal experience. However, if you spot an error or think there's something that I should add - no worries! Please use the Contact Form.