Melbourne Fishing

Melbourne Fishing Overview

Melbourne FishingFishing around Melbourne includes the fantastic Port Phillip Bay, nearby Western Port Bay, the Yarra, Marrybinong and their tributaries.

When fisho’s think of Melbourne they often think “Port Phillip Bay Snapper.”

While snapper fishing is fantastic, Melbourne has a smorgasbord of other species and fishing opportunities that are easily overlooked.

These not only include saltwater species. Freshwater fish like Trout, Redfin and even natives like Murray Cod can be caught within the Melbourne suburban region. Many of these waterways are actively restocked by the Fisheries department.

Many land-based fishos choose some of the wonderful piers in Melbourne and the wider Victorian area.


Altona Boat Ramp

Altona Boat Ramp

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Ramp Overview Altona boat ramp is a great place to launch a boat. Be it…


Altona Pier Fishing

Altona Pier Fishing

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Altona Pier fishing, in recent times, has seen an artificial reef placed just off the…


Diamond Creek

Diamond Creek

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Diamond Creek fishing is largely overlooked by locals when it comes to locals, let alone…


Mordialloc Fishing

Mordialloc Fishing

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I have a soft spot for Mordialloc fishing. I love fishing off the Pier. It’s…


Plenty River Fishing

Plenty River Fishing

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Plenty River fishing can be challenging.  The banks can be steep.  The water is often…


Port Melbourne Fishing

Port Melbourne Fishing

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Port Melbourne fishing is a great experience.  It is also the closest Port Phillip Bay…


Sandringham Fishing – The Rock Wall & Anchorage

Sandringham Fishing – The Rock Wall & Anchorage

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Sandringham fishing largely centres around the rock wall and the Anchorage. The area has proven…


St Kilda Boat Ramp

St Kilda Boat Ramp

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Ramp Overview St Kilda Boat Ramp is part of the extensive St Kilda Marina complex.…


St Kilda Pier Fishing

St Kilda Pier Fishing

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St Kilda Pier Fishing on a warm summers night was how I started targetting flathead…


Sugarloaf Reservoir Fishing

Sugarloaf Reservoir Fishing

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Sugarloaf Reservoir isn’t too far from Melbourne, Victoria. Located in the outer North East near…


Sweeneys Flats Fishing – Eltham

Sweeneys Flats Fishing – Eltham

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Fishing Sweeneys Flats Eltham is a well-known hotspot to locals. With its bushland setting sitting…


Werribee Fishing

Werribee Fishing

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Werribee Fishing opportunities include the Werribee South Pier, Beach and of course access to the…


Williamstown Fishing

Williamstown Fishing

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Williamstown fishing goes back to the early days of Melbourne.  Located on Port Phillip Bay…


Melbourne Fishing FAQ

What Fish Are In The Yarra River?

In the Yarra Estuary, common fish species include Pinkies (Immature Snapper) and Adult Snapper during the warmer months. Mullet, Flathead, Mulloway, Bream, Whiting at times throughout the year.

Upstream in the freshwater stretches Redfin, European Carp, Eels are quite common. Occasional Murray Cod are present north of Eltham around the Warrandyte area. Trout, both Rainbow and Brown can be caught in the shallower, faster sections from Launching Place upstream past Warburton.

What type of fishing can you do around Melbourne?

From the beautiful Port Phillip Bay.  The large tidal flows of Western Port Bay.  The estuaries of the Yarra, Maribyrnong, Werribee and other rivers – Melbourne has a lot of fishing variety.

You can fish from the beaches for bream, mullet, flathead and whiting.  The piers for all of those species – plus snapper, Australian Salmon, Silver Trevally, Calamari (squid) and even gummy shark.

You can get out in the estuaries and the bays in a boat, increasing your fishing opportunities and available species.

While in the “fresh” you can target freshwater species such as Murray Cod, Redfin, trout, eels and even the insidious European Carp

What licenses do I need to go fishing in Melbourne?

Most people will need a fishing license.  This is available at most tackle stores – or online from the Victorian Fisheries Authority website.

There are exceptions to the license requirement including people over 70 or under 18 years of age.  Some pensioners including aged and disability.  As well as some indigenous people.
Always check the VFA website above to see if you meet any exceptions.

In addition, you need to familiarise yourself with regulations including catch limits, size, seasons and protected species.

If you are using a powerboat you will require a boating license.  There are exemptions for interstate boats – providing you have a license in your state of origin.

Are there sharks in the Yarra River?

Yes. At times. Though in most cases they are harmless Gummy Sharks (known as flake when cooked and served with fish and chips) Some smaller Schooling Sharks are present at times.
Larger species have been reported and caught in the lower reaches around the docklands but they are extremely rare. In February 2021 I caught (and released) a Broad Nosed Shark in the Yarra River mouth,

What Are The Best Fishing Times In Melbourne?

The best fishing times in Melbourne are usually an before and after dawn and dusk. When those times coincide with a high or low tide then these times are considered to be more ideal.

Additionally some people believe the moon plays a factor in selecting fishing times. While this is hotly contested (and has no scientific evidence to support it) it is said a new moon is a peak fishing time. When combined with the tide and sunrise/sunset the day is considered to be the best day that month.



Melbourne Target Fish Species - Fresh & Saltwater

Fish SpeciesQuick Info
Australian-Salmon
Australian Salmon
Season: All Year Round
Seasonal Note: Common for schools to move through, chopping up the water before moving on. Can be common during cooler months.
Suggested Bait: Bluebait, Chicken Breast, Flathead Fillets, Mullet Fillets, Mussels, Pilchards, Pipis, Prawns, Sandworms, Squid Hoods, Squid Tentacles, Whitebait, Whiting Fillets

Black Bream
Season: All Year Round
Seasonal Note: Can become less active during Winter. Activity picking up late August. Active during warmer months.
Suggested Bait: Bluebait, Chicken Breast, Crabs, Earthworms, Mussels, Pilchards, Pipis, Prawns, Sandworms, Whitebait

Brown Trout
Season: All Year Round. Has a Closed Season in Some States of Australia. Victoria’s Trout Season can be checked here.
Seasonal Note: More active during cooler months.
Suggested Bait: Bardi Grub, Earthworms, Soft Plastic Lures, Spinners, Spoons, Flys

European Carp
Season: All Year Round - Noxious Imported Species. Must *not* be returned to waterways alive. Help our freshwater systems - actively target carp.
Seasonal Note:
Suggested Bait: Earthworms, Corn, Chicken

Flathead
Season: All Year Round
Seasonal Note:
Suggested Bait: Bluebait, Chicken Breast, Flathead Fillets, Mullet Fillets, Mussels, Pilchards, Pipis, Prawns, Sandworms, Squid Tentacles, Whitebait, Whiting Fillets
Garfish
Garfish
Season: All Year Round - More common in cooler months.
Seasonal Note: 40 or More Species found in Victorian Waters
Suggested Bait: Small pieces of fish, bread, pippis or chicken suspended beneath either a float or feeder float are popular garfish rigs.

Golden Perch or Yellow Belly
Season: All Year Round
Seasonal Note:
Suggested Bait: Bardi Grub, Chicken Breast, Earthworms, Scrub Worms, Yabbies

Goldfish
Season: All Year Round
Seasonal Note: Invasive Imported Pest species. Do Not return to water.
Suggested Bait: Bardi Grub, Chicken Breast, Corn, Earthworms, Scrub Worms

Gummy Shark
Season: All Year Round
Seasonal Note: Larger species are caught in Port Phillip & Western Port during April to July. With the Peak Month considered too be May.
Suggested Bait: Flathead Fillets, Mullet Fillets, Pilchards, Squid, Squid Hoods, Squid Tentacles, Whiting Fillets

Mullet
Season: All Year Round
Seasonal Note: Can sometimes be the only game in town during cooler weather.
Suggested Bait: Bluebait, Chicken Breast, Earthworms, Mussels, Pilchards, Pipis, Prawns, Squid Tentacles

Mulloway
Season: All Year Round
Seasonal Note:
Suggested Bait: Squid, Pilchards, Whitebait, Bluebait, Pippis, Prawn, Chicken, Fish Fillets

Murray Cod
Season: Fishing Season Closed 1st Sept to 30 Nov Inclusive. Some Exceptions Apply (eg: Lake Eildon Exception)
Seasonal Note: More active during warmer months. December through to April and early May
Suggested Bait: Bardi Grub, Chicken Breast, Earthworms, Yabbies

Pinky Snapper
Season: All Year Round. But much more prevalent during warmer months.
Seasonal Note: October through to March.
Suggested Bait: Bluebait, Chicken Breast, Flathead Fillets, Mullet Fillets, Pilchards, Pipis, Squid Tentacles, Whitebait, Whiting Fillets

Rainbow Trout
Season: All Year Round
Seasonal Note: Has a Closed Season in Some States of Australia. Victoria’s Trout Season can be checked here.
Suggested Bait: Bardi Grub, Earthworms, Scrub Worms,Soft Plastic Lures, Spinners, Spoons, Flys

Redfin
Season: All Year Round
Seasonal Note: Sometimes known as English Perch. Can be less active in warmer weather.
Suggested Bait: Bardi Grub, Chicken Breast, Earthworms, Scrub Worms, Yabbies. Soft plastics. Spinners - love dashes of Red and even a bit of green colour on lures

Roach
Season: All Year Round
Seasonal Note: Invasive Imported Pest species. Do Not return to water.
Suggested Bait: Earthworms

Snapper
Season: Later September to end of March.
Seasonal Note: Adult specimens often come closer towards shore to feed on reefs during rougher weather.
Suggested Bait: Bluebait, Chicken Breast, Crabs, Flathead Fillets, Mullet Fillets, Mussels, Pilchards, Pipis, Prawns, Sandworms, Squid, Squid Hoods, Squid Tentacles, Whitebait, Whiting Fillets

Squid
Season: All Year Round.
Seasonal Note: Best fished when waters are clear with little turbulence. Top times can be during June to September.
Suggested Bait: Squid Jig - artificial or with a bait such as minnow, whitebait, bluebait, pilchard or prawn.

Tench
Season: All Year Round
Seasonal Note: Invasive Imported Pest species. Do Not return to water.
Suggested Bait: Earthworms, Scrub Worms

Whiting
Season: November to April
Seasonal Note: Known to migrate from Victoria to South Australia during cooler months.
Suggested Bait: Bluebait, Chicken Breast, Mussels, Pilchards, Pipis, Prawns, Sandworms, Squid Tentacles, Whitebait
*Some fish species vary according to time of year and local environmental conditions.




Fishing Hotspot Map

Fishing Pressure vs Melbourne Hotspots

As Melbourne is Australia's second-largest capital city there is significant fishing pressure for much of the year.

In local waters, much of the commercial fishing industry has been curtailed.  This has led to improved catches in Port Phillip Bay.

However, much of the freshwater system, rivers and lakes, still face stiff competition at times.

Plus many areas can be difficult to access. The Yarra River, for example, is almost impossible to reach the water in many places where it flows through suburbia.

However, patience and perseverance do pay off.   Carp fishing, for example, is a highly recommend pastime due to this species being declared a noxious imported pest.

Fishing for carp in Melbourne's waterways is environmentally sustainable and there's plenty of the darn things there.

Just remember - it is illegal to return carp to the water in Australia.  They must be dispatched.

The carcass can be left by the stream, binned or taken home.  I personally use them in the veggie garden.  Very effective on tomatoes.

Pros

  • Choice of some excellent fishing environments
  • Great snapper fishing on Port Phillip Bay
  • Some great piers and rock walls for Landbased fishing
  • Fisheries Department doing some excellent restocking work and published fish science

Cons

  • Fishing neglected by state governments. Recent promises yet to be fully realised.
  • Poorly serviced for boat fishing in freshwater. Proposed Maribyrnong ramp may address this slightly
  • Freshwater fishing difficult in terms of access in many places - especially if physically disabled
  • Most council parking and toilets inadequate compared to interstate
  • Most boat ramps poorly maintained even after extra state government finance
  • Major rivers prone to pollution by criminal dumping and toxic leaks to this day
  • Parking can often be prohibitively expensive at many piers and rock walls

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David Scott Kane - Fishing Writer, Software Developer, Founder Getfished

G'day!

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.