It doesn’t matter if you’re a Melbourne local or on a destination fishing trip. The spectacular fishing offered in Port Phillip Bay is enough to get any angler excited. And if the weather isn’t cooperating, there’s a vibrant and bustling café and restaurant scene to take advantage of in Melbourne.

While Port Phillip Bay is teaming up with a variety of different fish species, including Whiting, Snapper, Kingfish, and Flathead, there are a bunch of fantastic fishing locations within easy reach.

In the following Melbourne fishing guide, we’ll cover:

If you enjoy fishing, you’ll love this article, Do Fish Bite Better in the Rain? Exploring the Impact of Rainy Weather on Fishing to learn about the effects weather has on the fish bite.

When it comes to finding the best fishing spots in Melbourne, Australia, including secret locations and local hot spots, you’ll need a little help. If you want to land fish on your Melbourne fishing trip, you’ll need the premium Fishing Forecasting App, Fishbox App. Thanks to the Fishbox App, you’ll know the perfect time to go fishing in Melbourne and when you’re better off staying home and catching up on work around the house.

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Expert Opinion on Melbourne Fishing

Pierce Latta

16 years fishing experience

“Australia has been one of my dream fishing destinations for a very long time now. Something about a whole new world of species and tactics excites me and I hope to one day be able to plan a trip to Australia. And, having read this article, the city of Melbourne is definitely a top destination for me now. Before reading the article, I had only really considered fishing the Great Barrier Reef when I thought of Australia. I had no clue of the other gems that Australia offered in fisheries like Melbourne. As someone who has never been to Melbourne myself, I very much appreciated the different fishing spots that the article gave out. This gives anglers new to the area a place to start so they aren’t completely lost as I would be without this article and further research. Additionally, the article also offers a breakdown of some of the more popular species you could catch. This personally helped me to better understand what I would need in terms of gear to tackle these new species. This is a point I try to iterate in all my own writing. To be the best fisherman you can possibly be, you have to know what you’re up against. This goes for rules, regulations, weather conditions, fish species, and more. The more you know, the more you can prepare, which gives you a better chance of landing the fish of your dreams. The article continues and gives some awesome advice regarding regulations and licenses for anglers. Because a lot of the readers of this article will likely be from the United States, knowing these regulations and license fees can mean the difference between fishing peacefully or getting in trouble with law enforcement in Australia. The author John Smith also gives the readers a bit of detail regarding the best times to fish in Melbourne. For those planning trips (which will hopefully be me one day), this information is nice to have given the fact it can save you from fishing during a more unproductive season as opposed to another. The last awesome thing this article touches on is the importance of fishing with sustainability in mind. The United States does a decent job of this, but it seems like Australia, and Melbourne specifically, are ahead of the game. Australia does an excellent job of educating its anglers so they can be better at preserving the amazing habitat that they are blessed by. I honestly hope and pray that one day the US will be more productive about promoting this same level of angling education. It would cut back on overfishing and educate anglers and the general public on how to better preserve the creation God has blessed us with. I hope these comments further boost your excitement about fishing in Melbourne and better preserving our own environment. Have a great day and as always, tight lines!”

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Prime Fishing Spots in Melbourne

Some of the best fishing locations in Melbourne include the Mornington Peninsula, Rye Pier, Flinders Street Pier, and Portsea Pier. However, Port Phillip Bay is a big area with hundreds of smaller fishing hot spots located throughout the estuary.

In the following section, we’ll check out ten of the best fishing spots in Melbourne and some of the famous Australian fish species you can expect to catch. It doesn’t matter if you’re fishing from a boat or the shore; there’s a fishing spot in Melbourne that’s great for you!

  1. The Rye Pier – Located just an hour from Melbourne’s CBD, Rye Pier is a local hot spot, especially in the evening, for catching giant Squid. Early morning and late afternoon/evening are the best times to fish the pier. You can expect to catch Whiting, Squid, Salmon, Snapper, Flathead, Trevally, small Sharks, and Leather Jacket.
  2. Patterson River – The Patterson Lakes area is just an hour’s drive from the heart of Melbourne and this river entrance is well-known for Flathead, Squid, and Snapper. As you journey further up the river, you’ll likely encounter Bream, Mullet, and Salmon. There are a lot of local BBQ areas, fish cleaning stations, and amenities such as toilets.
  3. Mordialloc Pier – Known as Mordi Pier by the locals, this prime fishing spot is less than an hour from the heart of Melbourne. Well-known as a local Snapper hot spot, you can also expect to catch Trevally, Mullet, Squid, Flathead, Garfish, and Leather Jackets.
  4. Brimbank Park – Located on the banks of the Maribyrnong River, thirty minutes from Melbourne’s CBD, Brimbank Park is a popular destination for Trout anglers. You can expect to catch Trout, Bream, Salmon, Redfin, Eels, and Carp.
  5. Anglesea – This destination is well worth a weekend fishing trip. Located close to the entrance of the Great Ocean Road, there are lots of clean beaches for surf fishing and large estuaries to fish. You can expect to catch Salmon, Snapper, Trevally, Sharks, Garfish, Flathead, Leather Jackets, Mullet, and Bream.
  6. Portsea Pier – A great family fishing location, Portsea Pier is located amongst some of the most sought-after seaside Melbourne real estate. The pier can get crowded during the peak summer fishing months, but you should expect to catch Trevally, Flathead, Snapper, Salmon, Squid, Whiting, and Leather Jackets.
  7. Barwon Heads – It’s hard to do a top ten fishing list in Victoria without mentioning Barwon Heads. Located on the Bellarine Peninsula, this seaside town offers both excellent surf fishing and charter fishing trips into the deep ocean waters. You can expect to catch Snapper, Salmon, Snook, Barracouta, Sharks, Tuna, and much more!
  8. Flinders Streer Pier – Weed beds line the seafloor under this nostalgic pier, the perfect habitat for a variety of different fish species, including Sharks, Trevally, Whiting, Salmon, Barracouta, Leather Jacket, Snapper, and Flathead.
  9. Sorrento Pier – Another great pier fishing opportunity for shore-based anglers in Melbourne is the Sorrento Pier. The Mornington Peninsula is a destination fishing location in Melbourne, so allow plenty of time to explore all the different options. You can expect to catch Trevally, Flathead, Snapper, Whiting, Leather Jackets, Squid, and Whiting.
  10. Bostock Reservoir – It’s hard to keep any local fishing spots in Melbourne a secret, but the Bostock Reservoir is probably the closest you’ll get. If you love freshwater angling, you’ll rate the fishing on offer here. You can expect to catch both Brown Trout and Rainbow Trout, along with Redfin, Carp, Eels, and Roach. European Carp must be kept and not returned to the water. However, the catch and release of native species is encouraged.

Read also: Maximize Your Catch: Guide to the Best Freshwater Fishing Baits

Melbourne is home to a variety of delicious table fish and sports fish, which makes it an angler’s paradise. The best part? You don’t even need to have access to a boat, with hundreds of shore-based fishing locations, including piers, jetties, and beaches. In the following section, we’ll cover some of the most popular fish species in Melbourne!

Pink Snapper

Despite their size, Snapper have a very hesitant bite, better known as bait nibblers than biters, Snapper will strip your bait before you know it, so keep your hands on your rod and be ready. Locals refer to small Snapper as Pinkies and Big Reds as they get older.

The most common Snapper size is approximately 40-50 cm, or 16-20 in, but in deep water, expect to run into some much larger specimens. There are plenty of land-based opportunities, including St Kilda Pier or Morning Pier, but boat-based anglers can expect to catch Snapper in the 10 kg (22 lbs.) range.

Australian Salmon 

As you head into Autumn, it’s time for the great Australian Salmon runs. The best time to target Australian Salmon is a few hours before and after high tide, especially late in the afternoon. Salmon move in big schools, and often, birds working the surface are a giveaway for a school of Salmon feeding on large schools of bait fish. 

Metal lures are an effective way to target Salmon when spinning or surf fishing from one of the many coastal beaches spread around Melbourne.

Bream

While not the most sought-after table fish, Bream is a staple of estuary fishing in and around the city of Melbourne. Thanks to the introduction of soft plastics, sight casting for large Bream on light tackle has become increasingly popular throughout Australia. 

Located in almost all estuaries, Bream can be caught on soft plastics, or if you’re patient, bait fishing, especially at night, can be very productive.

Garfish

For light tackle enthusiasts, Garfish can be a lot of fun. These silver bullets are great for kids or just afternoon bait fishing with light tackle. Despite their small size, Garfish are incredibly good to eat and can reach lengths up to 30-40 cm. 

Leatherjacket

Regardless of the time, or season, there is a Leather Jacket swimming somewhere waiting to get caught. The best bait for Leather Jackets is small pipis or strips of Squid, but watch out for their large and sharp teeth! 

Often found lurking around piers and wharves, Leather Jacket move in and out of the weed beds using their prominent teeth to crush shellfish.

King George Whiting

We couldn’t mention the top fish species in Melbourne without mentioning King George Whiting. These absolutely delicious tablefish are prized for their delicate white flesh and fantastic flavor. The sandy bottoms and weed beds of Port Phillip Bay and Western Port are prime locations to target these fish.

Sizes of Whiting range between 30-40 cm, but they have been known to grow up to twice that size. The subtle and small bites of Whiting make them a true challenge to catch, but once you master it, you’ll never be without a delicious meal of fish again.

Flathead

While they might not look like the most glamorous fish in the sea, Flathead are easily one of the best eating, and their sweet white flesh is highly prized by recreational anglers. Almost anywhere you fish the bottom in Melbourne, you’ll encounter Flathead, but they love bait and soft plastics.

Larger Flatheads are often female, so it’s generally considered a good idea to return these fish to the water. When catching Flathead, be wary of the poisonous spines on their gills and also the top of their head.

Garfish

Garfish may not be the most glamorous fish in the ocean to catch, but they make up for that with how tasty they are. The best thing about Garfish is that not only do they taste great, and they’re available in abundance, but they’re also a fun fish for young or new anglers to catch as they don’t require any expensive fishing equipment or a lot of skill.

Regulations and Guidelines

Any angler planning on casting a line or going fishing in Melbourne, Vic, will require a Victorian Recreational Fishing License. You can purchase your recreational fishing license online by visiting the Victorian Fisheries Authority website. You can also purchase recreational fishing licenses in person at authorized local fishing outlets. 

License TypeOnline PriceFull Price
3 Day License$10$10
28 Day License$22.70$22.70
1 Year License$37.50$39.90
3 Year License $102.40$108.10

Dates Effective from 1st July 2023 to 1st July 2024.

Every species of fish has specific size and bag limits, and some fish will also have season closures to allow for spawning, so it’s essential to check the regulations before catching or keeping any fish.

If you don’t have any fishing equipment, or you’re on holiday in Melbourne and still want to get involved with all the fishing action, hiring a charter boat for the day is a great way to get out on the water. Local charter captains are well-versed in bag and size limits and can also help clean and filet your fish ready for you to take home and enjoy.

The Best Time to Go Fishing In Melbourne

Melbourne’s fishing season is year-round, including the cooler winter months. The summer season starts in December, and runs through until late February and early March, with long days of sunshine and warm evenings.

In Autumn, March through to May, your best bet is to target the large Australian Salmon migration, and it’s also the start of the Bream fishing season.

Although June to November aren’t the greatest fishing seasons in Melbourne, they still offer plenty of cold water fishing for species such as Bream, Leather Jacket, and Garfish.

Fishing for A Sustainable Future

While the fishing in Melbourne is excellent, without fishing regulations, bag limits, and season limits in place, future generations won’t be able to enjoy the same great fishing opportunities we currently experience.

If you’re planning on fishing in Melbourne and don’t need all the fish you catch, then release them to live and breed for another angler to get an opportunity to catch them. Be sure to clean up after yourself when you go fishing, remove any rubbish, tackle, or fishing line, and leave the local area as pristine as you found it.

Another great aspect of the Melbourne fishing scene and the work of the Victorian Fisheries Authority is their dedication to conservation and stewardship. After all, we’re not the only generation of anglers who should have the opportunity to catch great fish in Melbourne.

Their goal is to increase awareness, acceptance, and understanding of fisheries rules and regulations, with the goal of having a healthier and more robust fishery for years to come.

Their education initiatives involve a number of different strategies, including:

  • The promotion of fishing regulations and how the general public can get more access to up-to-date fishing regulations, season information, bag limits, and size limits.
  • Distribution of approximately 300,000 copies of the annual Victorian Recreational Fishing Guide through over 900 outlets throughout Victoria.
  • Distribution of Fish Length Rulers and plastic measuring equipment for Rock Lobster, Abalone, and Spiny Freshwater Crayfish.
  • On-site education for anglers by local Fisheries Officers patrolling popular fishing locations in and around Melbourne.
  • School education through programs run by the Marine and Freshwater Discovery Centre at Queenscliff.

Local Fishing Events and Tournaments

Spotters Peninsula Snapper Challenge

One of the most well-known fishing tournaments in Melbourne is the Spotters Peninsula Snapper Challenge, which is held in Port Phillip Bay and Westernport. It’s one of Melbourne’s most exciting and lucrative fishing competitions, and the best part is that you don’t even need a huge offshore boat to be competitive.

The event itself spans a 9-day period and offers a unique catch and release format to better promote sustainable fisheries for future generations. It’s a great tournament to enter as a team or just get out on the water solo or with a team of friends. All you need is a smartphone to take pictures of your Snapper on a brag mat or similar measurement device and send the photos to the Challenge Headquarters for judging. 

The longest Snapper in the Open Division, Junior Division, and Kayak Division wins. One of the great things about the Spotters Peninsula Snapper Challenge is that if you catch a bigger fish later in the tournament, you can send it in as an upgrade. There’s no limit to how many times you upgrade your fish.

If you’re not lucky enough to score a prize-winning fish, they also offer a variety of lucky draw prizes, which are open to all entrants in the competition.

Victoria Bream Classic

Another recreational fishing tournament is the Victoria Bream Classic. There are two days of fishing, and these anglers take this tournament exceptionally seriously, so be sure to bring your game! The entry fee for the Victoria Bream Classic is $200 per team, with a team consisting of two anglers.

Similar to large Bass fishing tournaments in the United States, the Bream Classic offers two days of extremely competitive fishing with an official pre-fish day, and blackout dates where anglers aren’t allowed to fish if they’re planning on entering the tournament.

During the event, it’s lure and fly fishing only. Teams can fish together for a combined bag limit of five Bream per day, which are weighed in life and released. All the tournament rules are as per the ABT Tournament rules and regulations.

The tournament area includes the Yarra River, Maribyrnong River, and Port Phillip Bay area, which is home to some large and challenging Black Bream that are as wily as they are aggressive.

Melbourne Fishing: Your Comprehensive Guide – Conclusion

When it comes to fishing in Melbourne, you’re spoiled for choice, with salt water, estuary, pier, freshwater, and offshore charter fishing opportunities all close to Melbourne’s CBD. If you’re planning a fishing trip to Melbourne or just recently moved there, Melbourne Fishing: Your Comprehensive Guide is the perfect place to start your research.

We’ve covered the hottest fish species in Melbourne and the best prime fishing spots to catch them along with fishing regulations, local fishing events, and even fishing tournament opportunities.

Before you cast a line in Melbourne, Victoria, be sure to visit the Victorian Fisheries Authority to brush up on all fishing regulations, including bag limits, seasons, and size limits. Regardless of when you visit Melbourne, Australia, there’s sure to be a fish to catch!

By utilizing the technology in the Fishbox App, you’ll be able to track weather conditions accurately and predict the best times to hit the water when you’re planning on going fishing in Melbourne, Australia. It combines predictive fish behavior with weather, lunar, and tidal conditions to deliver optimal fishing opportunities in Melbourne, regardless of whether you plan on going fresh or saltwater fishing.

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The Fishbox App was developed in collaboration with accurate weather data and expert fish behavioral analysis. These advanced forecasts will significantly increase your catch rate while reducing your time on the water. Take your fishing to the next level thanks to the expert advice from the Fishbox App team.

If you have some tips that you’d like to share with other anglers planning a fishing trip to Melbourne, then drop a comment below! We’d love to hear your thoughts and feedback on our complete guide to fishing in Melbourne.

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