The Powlett River Estuary, five minutes from the township of Kilcunda, is often blocked to the sea. Causing it to form a wide, shallow lake.

The estuary, however, is fishable.

Containing a variety of species. Including Mullet, Australian Salmon and even Bream.

Sitting on the sand dunes and casting out as far as you can often yield small Australian Salmon and at times some fair-sized bream.

Powlett River Fishing Overview

Toadfish are a major hassle in the Powlett River. Remember to return them safely to the water alive. They are fully protected.

I have caught a small sea-run Brown Trout while the estuary mouth was blocked from the sea.

I say “sea-run” as the waters were decided brackish, even without the inflow of fresh seawater.

Powlett River Fishing – Floods Frequently

I found the upper reaches to be normally discoloured.

While the area before the mouth to be often very clear.

The river does flood quite often.

This is when it breaches the rock and sandy bar and the mouth and flows freely into the ocean.

Over the years it has produced some good catches of mullet, black bream and even estuary perch for me.

As with many estuaries in Victoria, the short-finned eel spends are a good part of its life in the upper reaches of the Powlett River and tributaries.

Often up to Twenty Years.

These eels are capable of traversing surprising distances over land. Including dam walls.

They then move downstream into the estuaries and out into the ocean.

Travelling up into the Coral Sea. Where they spawn.

The offspring are then pushed by the East Australian Current south. Where they re-enter the estuaries and move upstream.

Repeating their parent’s lifecycle.

Even after hearing about this decades ago I still find it awesome. Just to contemplate the eels lifecycle.

Fish Light On The Powlett River

I’d recommend fishing light here. It’s what I’ve always done finding it more successful.

The toadfish can cause a problem for bait fishing. So a soft plastic is often ideal. As are hard body surface lures.

While toadfish will certainly take some lures it reduces catching them to a larger degree than bait.

Look. That’s been my experience with most places with high numbers of toadies. Places like Melbourne’s Black Rock when fishing Half Moon Bay is a prime example.

There is now a caravan park at the Powlett. This has been added in the years since I first began fishing there.

Back then you needed to stay in Kilcunda then driven to the Powlett. This is no longer required. Though I never found it hard to do so.

What Fish Can You Catch At The Powlett River?

Fish Species Quick Info
Australian Salmon
Arripis trutta
All Year Round
Common for schools to move through, chopping up the water before moving on. Can be common during cooler months.
Black Bream
Acanthopagrus butcheri
All Year Round. But much more prevalent during warmer months.
Platycephalus sp
All Year Round
Mugilidae sp
All Year Round
Can sometimes be the only game in town during cooler weather.
Pinky Snapper
Chrysophrys auratus
All Year Round. But much more prevalent during warmer months.
This name applies to juvenile specimens of Snapper
*Some fish species vary according to time of year and local environmental conditions.

Powlett River Fishing Review Summary

Overall the Powlett River Estuary is a great place to fish – best fished when the river is open to the sea in my experience.

This is usually the case for some months after flooding upstream.

With caution, it is family-friendly when not in flood.  Obviously small children always require continuous observation in any environment!

Be careful of snakes.

Tiger snakes, in particular, inhabit the dunes as they prey on ground-nesting birds, like Mutton Birds and even penguins.  As well as native small mammals and introduced rodents.

Treat the local environment with respect.  People have lost their lives in the Powlett River.  No fish is worth your life!

Some of the local tourist attractions have taken a battering in recent years. One such was the “Big Worm” featuring a, er, very large giant worm statue. I seem to recall some effort was made to keep it open with government support promised. However the state government seems to have managed tow wriggle out of that commitment.


  • Beautiful Environment for both fishing, swimming and site-seeing
  • Can produce some excellent fishing at times
  • Close enough to Melbourne for a Day Trip – but staying over recommended.
  • Accomodation both locally at the Powlett and nearby Kilcunda and Wonthaggi.
  • Choices are Caravan Parks or Motels.
  • If the fishing is slow on the Powlett you can choose from miles of Ocean Beaches as well as the rock platforms at Kilcunda.
  • Nearby Attractions include the Fairy Penguins, Seal Rocks and the Koala Sanctuary at Phillip Island. As well as Coal Creek Museum at Korumburra.


  • Fishing can slow down when the river is blocked to the sea by the sand bar
  • A lot of toadfish at time which can be a pest by-catch. Return them safely to the water please!
  • Toilets – other than the Caravan Park, which is private, I’m not aware of any here.
  • The Powlett has claimed lives during flooding. So caution required. Always the case of course with little children.

Features At A Glance

FishabilityParkingFamily Friendly
Environment & PollutionPublic Toilets
Mouth of Powlett Rd, Dalyston VIC 3992, Australia , -38.5780792 , 145.5131989

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