Melbourne, Victoria

Melbourne (Williamstown) tides
Victorian stocked fishing spots
Port Phillip fishing spots
Western Port fishing spots
Melbourne dam levels
VIC fishing regulations
VIC marine parks

Most fishing in Victoria is done in Melbourne’s two large, shallow enclosed bays, Port Phillip and Western Port, but the city also has nearby stocked waters, with surf and rock fishing within easy reach.

Melbourne’s two giant bays are mainly sandy, with seagrass beds.

There is good boat and landbased fishing to be had within these bays, with boat ramps and jetties throughout.

Geelong’s jetties alone will keep family fishos occupied, with juvenile salmon, squid and bream all reliable.

Artificial reefs have been installed, and in recent times shellfish reef restoration projects have begun.

The artificial reefs have been placed so that boaters and jetty fishos can use them.

Pink snapper, spotted and sand whiting, yellow-eye mullet, black bream, luderick, garfish, flounder, flathead, salmon, silver trevally, elephant fish, gummy sharks, seven-gill sharks, school sharks, various rays, estuary perch and squid are the main catch in the bays.

In the surf, salmon prevail, with gummy and school sharks, mulloway, pink snapper and tailor adding excitement.

Gummy and school sharks are highly regarded as table fare.

Mulloway and snapper move in close after storms, and mulloway are targeted when rain flushes estuaries and creeks.

Offshore, pink snapper, flathead and kingfish are the prime targets, with bluefin tuna, albacore and striped tuna also available.

Mako and thresher sharks are caught by dedicated anglers.

Fit fishos will find good rock fishing along the state’s rugged coastline within an easy day trip of the city.

A highlight is the southern rock lobster, found along reefy foreshores out to about 100m deep.

Despite increasing fishing pressure, Victorian fishing has improved in recent times.

Snapper are often abundant around Melbourne, and big tuna have made a comeback in the state’s west.

Kingfish are usually in good numbers.

Inland around Melbourne are many lakes and streams with both native fish and trout. See our Victorian fishing map for details.

Regular fish stocking of freshwater locations is undertaken, and the state is considering stocking of some marine waters.

Significant rivers fished by Melbourne anglers include include the Ovens, Goulburn, Patterson, King, Loddon, Barwon, Rubicon, Snowy, Yarra, Mitta, Hopkins, Merri and Kiewa.

Lakes that fish well include Bullen Merri, Burrumbeet, Eildon, Eppalock, Hume, Mulwala and Purrumbete.

A recreational fishing licence is required to fish.

Gear and bag restrictions apply, including a maximum of two hooks. Set lines, mesh nets, cast nets, snares and mussel rakes are banned.

How to fish Melbourne


In Melbourne’s Port Phillip Bay, juvenile salmon bite all year, while bream are best from June to November.

Flathead, garfish and spotted whiting are best in the bay in summer, with whiting biting through to April.

Silver trevally and snapper are best from October to May.

Mullet are from April to October.

Kingfish are best in summer.

Squid can be caught all year, but are usually best from June to October.

Mulloway bite well around Melbourne in winter.

Bait, lures & tackle

Pilchards, bluebait, prawns and squid are popular baits.

For pink snapper, fish fillets or small whole fish work well.

For those who make the effort, local bait such as worms and bass yabbies, can make all the difference.

Lure fishing is popular, especially for salmon and kingfish, where chrome slices are a good all-round lure.

Bream and estuary perch are often targeted with small minnow lures and soft plastics.

Paternoster rigs are popular for bait fishing.

In Victoria’s estuaries, with small tides and often clear water, a light-tackle approach is crucial.

The fishing is easier in estuaries when the water dirties.


Victoria’s climate varies widely, despite the state’s small size.

It is semi-arid temperate with hot summers in the north-west, and temperate and cool along the coast.

The Great Dividing Range produces a cooler, mountain climate in state’s centre.

Winters along the coast are mild.

Victoria is the second wettest state after Tasmania.

The Victorian Alps in the north-east are the coldest part of Victoria.

Rainfall increases from south to north, with more rain at high altitude.

Rain is heaviest in the Otway Ranges and Gippsland in southern Victoria, and in the mountainous north-east.

Rain falls most frequently in winter, but bouts of summer rain are heavier.

At Melbourne Airport the mean wind speed is between 20km/h and 24km/h through the year, with April, May and June being calmest and August and September the windiest.

Melbourne winds tend to blow northerly in winter, and southerly in summer.

Easterlies are rare.

Winter fronts bring gales, while summer brings strong afternoon sea breezes.

Victoria’s tidal range is small, being near 1m at Portland and under 2m at the NSW border.

Special features

Some Victorian fishermen target the seasonal elephant shark run in Western Port between March and May.

The unusual and very large seven gill shark frequents both of Melbourne’s bays.

The volcanic crater that is Lake Purrumbete produces unusually high growth rates in trout, and is also stocked with chinook salmon, as is Lake Bullen Merri.

Many Victorian estuaries have estuary perch, a fish that looks like Australian bass. They sometimes respond well to baits and lures on ultralight gear, but are notoriously fickle.

Squid, snapper and spotted whiting are Victorian staples.

Fishing holiday locations

Melbourne has many coastal towns that are great destinations for fishing holidays. To the west some of the major stops are Lorne, Apollo Bay, Port Fairy, Portland and Nelson (Glenelg River). To the east are Port Albert, Lakes Entrance, the Ninety Mile Beach, and Mallacoota. There are many smaller communities with holiday facilities and good local fishing.

Fishing gear for Victorian waters

A 3kg spin outfit is ideal for gar, whiting, mullet, trout, redfin and bream. See eBay listing here.

A 3-6kg spin outfit is ideal for general Victorian saltwater and freshwater fishing. See eBay listing here.

A heavier surf rod is needed for surf mulloway, snapper and gummy shark fishing. See eBay listing here.

This surf rod can be matched with this spinning reel ... eBay listing here.

Metal slice lures are ideal for Victorian salmon, tailor and trevally. See eBay listing here.

Soft plastic grubs are good all-round lures for a range of Victorian species. See eBay listing here.

Jig heads are needed for unrigged soft plastic lures. See eBay listing here.

Squid jigs are essential gear in Victoria. See eBay listing here.

Star sinkers or snapper leads are generally used on a paternoster rig for surf and boat fishing. For most other fishing, ball sinkers are used, as part of a running sinker rig. See eBay listing here.

Hooks in mixed sizes (suggest 1# or #2 for whiting, 6# or #8 for garfish, 4/0 for salmon and flathead, 11/0 for large mulloway). See eBay listing here.

BOATS FOR SALE in Victoria - see current eBay listings here.


Email us any corrections, additions, pictures or video here.

Some external videos filmed around Melbourne are featured below.

Gummy sharks

Port Phillip flathead

Docklands LB snapper

iFish at Port Phillip

Port Phillip snapper

Melbourne landbased YouTube page

Melbourne pike fishing

Fishing the warmies

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