Sweeneys Flats Fishing

Geelong Waterfront

Fishing Sweeneys Flats Eltham is a well-known hotspot for locals. With its bushland setting sitting on the Yarra River it offers a number of freshwater habitats for fishing.

On occasion, you’ll hear people referring to fishing Sweeneys Lane. This is the same spot. The lane provides access to the flats.

It’s only around 40 minutes from the Melbourne CBD in Victoria, Australia.

Including faster-flowing rapids. Larger pools and several tributaries meet the Yarra River in this area. Including the Mullum Mullum Creek. The Diamond Creek and further downstream towards Heidelberg the Plenty River.

Sweeneys Flats Fishing – Eltham Overview

While brown and rainbow trout are not a common catches – they do exist and are caught from time to time in this stretch of the river.

Redfin can be caught at times. I’ve had the most success using a blade-spinner

Surprisingly Murray Cod do appear in the Yarra within this area. For the most part, they are more common to the north around Templestowe and Warrandyte.

Eels are a common catch. Both in the Yarra and in the creeks that join it – such as the Diamond Creek.

However, European Carp, the introduced and damaging pest species, is extremely common.

Fish light. I’d select a 30cm leader with a running sinker to give you a chance at keeping out of the snags.

You shouldn’t need anything more than a 10lb line here. 6lb probably being optimal for most fishing.

Choose a regular spinning rod. 6ft with a maximum of 9ft being the upper practical limit.

Fish At Sweeneys Flats Eltham – But Don’t Eat Them!

While I do fish at Sweeneys Flats Eltham I do not eat my catch. For most species, except European Carp, I catch and release.

Carp, on the other hand, are not allowed, by law, to be returned to the water.

Carp must be killed humanely. The carcass can then be returned to the water, you can take them home for compost (my preference) or eat them as some folks like to do.

Look. I take them home as fertiliser for the veggie garden.

Why pay for “Carp Fertiliser” when you can catch it yourself, for free, right?

Slice them into thin steaks and bury them and the head.

Or reduce the fish to a paste by using a large blender. Cutting it up to fit. Then spread that into the soil, or add with another compost.

Note that Macquarie Perch are quite common in the Yarra here (and upstream to Healsville.) These fish species are completely protected and must be returned unharmed to the water.

Murray Cod season rules apply and no cod may be taken from the Yarra between September and November inclusive.

Sweeneys Flats Eltham Yarra River Fish Species

Fish SpeciesQuick Info
Carp Carp
Cyprinus carpio

Bait: Earthworms, Corn, Chicken.
Murray Cod Murray Cod
Maccullochella peelii
Common for schools to move through, chopping up the water before moving on. Can be common during cooler months.
Bait: Earthworms, Scrubworms, Chicken Breast, Cheese.
Macquarie Perch Macquarie Perch
Macquaria australasica
Common for schools to move through, chopping up the water before moving on. Can be common during cooler months.
Bait: Earthworms, Scrubworms, Chicken Breast, Cheese.
Eel Eel
Anguilla australis
Often caught as a bycatch. Breeds in the Coral Sea and migrates to live until adulthood in Victorian Rivers and streams.
Bait: Bluebait, Chicken Breast, Crabs, Earthworms, Mussels, Pilchards, Pipis, Prawns, Sandworms, Whitebait
Weather Loach Weather Loach
Misgurnus anguillicaudatus
Invasive Imported Pest species. Do Not return to water.
Rainbow Trout Rainbow Trout
Oncorhynchus mykiss

Bait: Earthworms, Soft Plastic Lures, Spinners, Spoons, Flys
Brown Trout Brown Trout
Salmo trutta

Bait: Earthworms, Soft Plastic Lures, Spinners, Spoons, Flys
Redfin Redfin
Perca fluviatilis
Also known as English Perch. Imported and considered invasive. Please do not return to water.
Bait: Earthworms, Chicken
Flathead Gudgeon Flathead Gudgeon
Philypnodon grandiceps

Goldfish Goldfish
Crassius Auratus

Roach Roach
Rutilus rutilus
All Year Round Seasonal Note: Invasive Imported Pest species. Do Not return to water.
Bait: Earthworms, Chicken
Tench Tench
Tinca tinca
Invasive Imported Pest species. Do Not return to water.
Bait: Earthworms, Chicken
Short-head Lamprey Short-head Lamprey
Mordacia morda

Yabby Yabby
Cherax destructor
A native crustacean similar to the Crawdad found in the USA.
Bait: Lumps of meat, pet food.

When I first started fishing Sweeneys Flats, Eltham was a lot less populated than it is now.

There was a fair bit of Crown Land, a number of farms and scattered private residences. A good proportion of the area was bushland.

Now its comprised of numerous residences, bushland where it belongs to the Crown and far fewer farms.

Be mindful of private residences and do not trespass. The same goes for farms.

Bushland is freely accessible for the most part. Though the landscape can be pretty rough, making some parts of the river impossible to access.

At Sweeney’s Flats itself, there’s an area you can park your car. It’s a dirt track. So be mindful of mud and getting bogged after heavy rains.

Further upstream, within Westerfolds Park towards Templestowe, was signed as no fishing by the Vic government the last time I visited.

You may want to stay clear of that zone. If this has changed please let me know using the Contact Form.

I’ve never understood the complete ban on fishing in areas like Westerfolds Park. It must be European Carp heaven there. As there are many deep pools.

Letting an environmentally damaging noxious, alien species, such as carp, thrive seems counterproductive.

Surely a ban on other species, particularly native fish while encouraging Carp fishing would make more sense?

Rangers are a common sight at the park, so it’s not like enforcement would be impossible.

Sweeneys Flat Eltham Fishing Hotspot Video

Sweeneys Flats Fishing Review Summary

Fishing Sweeneys Flats is a definite hotspot at times. But it is heavily fished and very inconsistent.

Hence my fishability rating of only two stars.

A lot easier to access this section compared to some other sections of the Yarra River locally.

Sweeneys Flats, like other Yarra River locations, is Tiger and Brown Snake territory.

Take care between October and March. These venomous snakes make their homes near their food supply., which live near rivers. They often sun themselves on the river bank and adjacent grass and scrub areas.

Wear appropriate, protective attire.

Sweeneys Flats fishing means no facilities. There’s no BBQ area there, nor toilets. You will need to go to Eltham if you need to use these.


  • Close to the city and North Eastern Suburbs
  • Can product a lot of European Carp if that’s your thing
  • Some reports of Murray Cod over the years
  • Eels fairly abundant if you enjoy targeting them


  • Parking consists of pulling over to the side of the road.
  • Very muddy after rain.
  • Not suitable for small children.
  • Banks can be difficult to access in some weather
  • Fishing can be a bit spotty at times
  • Bait fishing can lead to a lot of Long Necked Turtle hooks ups. Please safely return this protect species back to the water

Other Fishing Spots Near Sweeneys Flats