Welcome to the Altona Pier Fishing Guide a popular fishing location located along Millers road roughly 25 minutes drive from Melbourne. Altona Beach is a very popular spot, especially in summer and this pier welcomes a large volume of foot traffic and nearby swimmers so the fishing can be challenging at times. However, Altona pier can be a quality fishing location, particularly with its recent addition of an artificial reef located roughly 50 meters beyond the end of the pier. It’s also closely located to natural reefs and rocks which produce good numbers of large snapper in the warmer months. Often anglers will head towards the end of the pier and cast out as far as they can to get their baits amongst the artificial reef. This location is very popular with Kayakers who fish beyond the end of the pier drifting for flathead and snapper.


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Altona Pier ReOpened

On December 20th 2023 Altona Pier reopened after being closed for over 2 years. The pier was rebuilt and redesigned after a state government tender was approved in December 2022. The original timber pier was built in the late 1800s, later repair works were carried out in the 1980s. And in 2020 it was deemed that the pier is nearing the end of its life due to signs of structural failure that pose a risk to public safety.

In 2020 three designs were presented to key bodies and the general public. More than 60 percent preferred an angled pier as the final design. Funding has been committed by the Victorian Government under the $24 million Piers and Jetties Stimulus Packages to revitalize the precinct and improve accessibility for the future. It’s terrific to finally see this pier open once again as we lack of land-based fishing options in the immediate area, especially with the closure of Wyndham Harbor Rockwall.

The new Pier reopened in December 2023


Things to do at Altona Beach

Altona Beach is a great spot for the whole family. There are nearby adventure playgrounds, cafes, restaurants, and ice cream shops. The beach is a vibrant place that’s very popular in summer. Beachgoers visit to swim, wakeboard, sunbake, kayak and fish. Many families enjoy ice cream on the sand. Many also enjoy the Altona beach life-saving club. Parking is limited and during the peak of summer, this can be quite challenging. You will need to venture in early to avoid the crowds. In 2017 the pier had thousands of people gather on it to collect rare Pokémon characters playing Pokemon Go on their smartphones.

Check out this video recorded at Altona beach kayak fishing next to the pier and run into a large school of salmon.

Fishing at Altona Pier

At Altona Pier, you can seasonally target

  • Snapper
  • Flathead
  • Australian Salmon
  • Trevally
  • Mullet
  • Bream
  • Squid
  • Garfish
  • Leather jackets
  • Gurnard
  • Flounder
  • King George Whiting
  • Snook

Altona Pier historically has been a challenging fishing destination mainly due to the volume of general walking traffic on the pier, swimmers in the immediate area, and people jumping off the pier into the water. So do take care when fishing here. Parking can also be very tricky during summer peak times.

That being said you can still fish here and catch a few fish. At Altona, the most common catches will be pinkies, flathead, and salmon so you don’t need to fish too heavily but should be prepared for the odd large snapper. If your bait fishing from the pier then a light to medium rod between 7 feet and 9 feet is ideal. Casting directly from the end of the pier out towards the artificial reefs. We find that a 2-4 or 3-5 kilo rod will be enough. A good overall rig to use is a running sinker rig to a swivel and 50cm of strong leader finished with a pilchard tail or squid tentacles. Or a paternoster rig with pilchard, pipi, or raw chicken will fish well in the immediate area. When bait fishing at Altona Pier we would recommend staple baits like pilchards, pipis, blue bait, and squid. Using a basic running sinker rig or paternoster rig. Soft plastics work great in this area we recommend small curl tail and minnow imitations. Either cast out and retrieved slowly with some lifts and pauses or hard up against the structure of the pier. You’re likely to catch flathead and bream and seasonally pinkies and salmon.  We recommend you read our step by step guide on how to catch flathead with bait and lures.

In 2012 the VFA installed an artificial reef roughly 40 meters at the end of Altona pier to improve fishing and encourage fish into the immediate area as seen in the image below. Each reef consists of 99 hollow dome-shaped reef modules of different sizes arranged in three reef complexes of 33 reef modules each. The reef modules range between 170 and 340 kg in weight and 50 to 60 cm in height and have numerous external openings to allow the movement of currents and fish through the modules. By positioning clusters of reef modules within casting distance from these piers, fish species targeted by shore-based anglers become more available. The reefs also provide habitat for a range of other plant and animal species, increasing local biodiversity.

Altona Pier Artificial Reef

There are several outfit options and it depends on the species of fish that you’re targeting. For bread and butter species such as pinkies and flathead a 2-4 or 3-5 kilo rod around 7 feet in length coupled with 2000, 2500 or 3000 size reel spooled with 6-10 pound line and equivalent leader. When targeting snapper a rod between 7 and 8 feet in 4-7 kilo class is perfect. Coupled with a 3000, 4000 or 5000 size reel spooled with a 15-30 pound monofilament line. When rigging for snapper go with single or double-snelled size 5 or 6 hooks. You can fish these with a very small sinker or completely unweighted. This spot usually fishes well on the tide change often seeing pinkies caught on the incoming high tide and flathead caught on the outgoing low tide. But the surrounding areas tend to fish well at dawn and dusk. Many anglers have reported having more success on large snapper during windy conditions. Remember that certain fish are seasonal. Snapper is active in the warmer months and Salmon is active in the colder months.

Check out this instructional video guide on how to catch snapper with soft plastics filmed locally in Port Phillip Bay

Altona Boat and Kayak Access

Altona is a wonderful location for boat and kayak access. Firstly there is the main boat ramp facility at the end of Civic parade and Altona road. Launching is now free. The boat ramp has multiple launching lanes, toilet facilities, and fish-cleaning tables. This in snapper season is one of the business boat ramp facilities in all of Melbourne.  There is adequate parking however parking can be challenging in peak times. This is also a good launch facility with Jet Skis. Altona Pier Fishing Guide.

Kayaks have multiple options for launching around Altona. Firstly a brand new purpose-built kayak launch facility on Millers road between the main pier and boat ramp was completed in November 2019. This offers great access for kayakers and easy launching even during low tide. venture only a few hundred meters out to catch flathead and snapper. Parking can be a little restricted here. Otherwise, other great spots to launch a kayak near the main pier of millers road and apex park. Just be mindful that launching on your own in those areas can be challenging during low tide. Then there is kayak and launching access at the yacht club closer to the boat ramp. You will just need to be cautious of boats that will get close to kayakers in that particular area and be mindful that there are yacht club members who should get priority.

Places to fish near Altona Pier

Not far from here, you can also try fishing at these destinations

Best Baits Fishing Altona Pier

At this location, we would highly recommend the baits suggested below. There are several ways to present baits including a running sinker rig, paternoster rig, or dropper rig. The rig and sinker choice will be dependent on the species you are targeting and the conditions such as wind and tidal strength.

Bait Choices

  • pilchard
  • pipis
  • blue bait
  • silver whiting
  • salmon
  • raw chicken strips
  • prawns
  • maggots
  • squid
  • mussels

Best Lures and Soft Plastics for Altona Pier

Soft Plastics

  • Daiwa Bait Junkie 2.5-inch grub
  • Zman slim Swimz
  • Daiwa Baitjunkie 5 inch jerk shads
  • Berkley gulp turtleback worm
  • Savage Gear Fat Curl tails
  • Daiwa Bautjunkie 4 inch grubs
  • Berkley powerbait grub
  • Gulp 3 inch minnow
  • Dawia Bait Junkie paddle tail minnow
  • Zman grubZ
  • eco gear ZX40
  • Daiwa Double Clutch
  • EcoGear SX40
  • Squidges biotough grub
  • Zman StreakZ
  • Munroes 3.75-inch paddle tails
  • Kietech swim impact fat
  • Zerek fish trap
  • Samaki Vibelicious

Targeting Snapper at Altona Pier


Locally Snapper season starts around October and finishes towards April. The big reds migrate inshore due to the warmer water temperatures which provide ideal spawning conditions. Dawn, Dusk, and tide changes are considered the best times to catch snapper. Snapper will take a variety of baits and soft plastics. For bait a 7 to 8-foot rod with a 4-7 kg rating paired with a 4000 or 5000 size reel spooled with 15-30 pound line is great. Good bait options include pilchards, silver whiting, squid, and salmon. Regarding soft plastics, a 7 foot 3-6 kilo rod paired with a 3000 size reel is great. Good soft plastics include jerk shads, whip baits, curl tails, or paddle tails between 3 and 5 inches in a variety of colours. We encourage you to read our detailed guide on how to catch snapper.


Targeting Flathead at Altona Pier

Flathead is a year-round prospect that can be caught at any time of the day. They are an ambush predator that waits in disguise for smaller fish to swim by for easy feed. This highlights the importance of keeping your baits and soft plastics towards the bottom. If fishing from a boat or kayak we would recommend drifting around the sandy flats until you find a good patch of them. Also, keep an eye out for depth drop-offs which is a great location for an ambush predator to be waiting. We recommend targeting flathead with a 7 foot 2–4 or 3-5 kilo fishing rod paired with a 2500 or 3000 size reel spooled with 8-12lb braid and equivalent leader. You can go lighter, but flathead has bristly teeth that can compromise your fishing line.

Flathead is not fussy and will happily have a go at many various soft plastics and lures. We would highly recommend reading our detailed guide on the best lures and soft plastics to catch flathead. Top choices include worm and yabby imitations, paddle tail soft plastic, curl tail soft plastics, deep diving hard body lures, vibes, swimbaits, and blades. If you are targeting flathead with bait, we recommend using a paternoster rig or running sinker rig. Using a small ball sinker to swivel, then 50cm of 8-12 leader to a size 6 long shank hook. Good bait choices include pilchards, mussels, squid, chicken, white bait, Pipis, blue bait, and prawns.

Targeting Salmon at Altona Pier


Salmon are powerful sports fish that school up in big numbers. They punch well above their weight and when hooked produce strong bursts of speed, powerful runs, and vigorous head shakes. Keep an eye for gutters which are patches of deeper water that Salmon will swim through in schools. These can be identified by the darker color of the water. Salmon will happily take a range of soft plastics, lures, and baits. Including 3 and 4-inch soft plastics and long-casting metal spoons. You can target them with light spinning gear such as a 2-4 kilo rod and 2500-size reel. However, if you are targeting them land-based on the beach or surf then you will likely jump up to a 5-10 kilo rod that’s between 9-12 feet in length paired with a 3000-size reel spooled with 15-pound braid.

Check out this instructional video guide on how to catch salmon on soft plastics. Crazy action in this one.

Targeting Snook at Altona Pier


These toothy critters are fun to catch on light spinning gear. You will find them in shallow weedy waters often a bycatch for those targeting snapper, whiting and flathead. You can catch snook with staple baits such as pilchard, prawn, and squid. However, Snook loves natural-looking soft plastics retrieved at a medium pace including minnows, paddle tails, and grubs. Adding scent to the soft plastics really seems to help. Snook also respond well to shallow and mid diving hard body lures in shiny colors retrieved at a medium pace. Metal slugs and blades trolled slowly also work very well. Do handle snook with care as they have razor-sharp teeth. Despite their sharp teeth it’s still best to target them with light gear that you would generally use for pinkies and flathead. We recommend a 2-4 or 3-5 kilo spin rod paired with a 2500 size reel, spooled with 8-12 pound line and leader.


Targeting Bream at Altona Pier


This is a great location to target bream with lures and soft plastics. The options available are almost endless so make sure you read our guide on the best lures to catch bream. Recommended options include crab imitation, shallow diving cranks, paddle tail soft plastics, curl tail soft plastics, minnow imitations, vibes, and blades. Also, try your luck with surface lures which is an exciting form of fishing with light gear.

Bream is all about finesse fishing so you will need an ultralight spin outfit. We recommend a 7-foot rod in a 1-3 or 2-4 kilo class, paired with a 1000, 2000, or 2500 reel spooled with 2-6-pound braid and equivalent leader. There are so many amazing bream outfits on the market and budgets vary greatly depending on your skill level and spending habits. Bream reside within structures such as jetty pylons and stumps. Enticing them away from the structure onto your lure will take some time to master. Remember to work your lures and plastics slowly and mix up the retrieval techniques. If you are targeting bream with bait then we would highly recommend sandworms, maggots, scrub worms, mussels, yabbies, & chicken. A 2-4 kilo class rod paired with a 2500 size reel would be a great option spooled with a 6-pound line. We would encourage you to read our detailed guide on Bait fishing for Bream.

Targeting Gurnard at Altona Pier


In Victoria, you have the Red Gurnard a stunning fish with colorful wings like a butterfly. Then you have the common gurnard a dull-looking fish with venomous spines that inflict a lot of pain if stung. Gurnard inhabit shallow, flat sandy, or muddy areas looking for small fish, yabbies and prawns to feed on. Gurnard are often bycatch when targeting flathead. This means you will generally be using a light 2–4 or 3-5 kilo fishing rod around 7 feet in length. Paired with a 2000, 2500 or 3000 size reel spooled with 8-15 lb monofilament line. If your bait fishing then you can’t go past a simple running rig. A small bean sinker to swivel, then roughly 45cm of 6-pound leader to a size 6 long shank hook.

Targeting Trevally at Altona Pier


Trevally pound for pound is one of the best fighting fish. In certain parts of Australia surface popping for Giant Trevally is one of the bucket list fishing experiences that you must tick off. However, in Victoria, you will mainly be catching the much smaller silver trevally. Good bait options include blue bait, white bait, raw chicken, pilchards, pippies, squid and mussels. Trevally will also take a range of soft plastics including worm and minnow imitations, small surface poppers, and small metal spoons. We recommend targeting trevally with a 1-3 or 2-4 kilo fishing rod coupled with a 2000, or 2500 reel spooled with 4-8-pound braid and equivalent fluorocarbon leader. If there are larger trevally in the area then you can go heavier moving up the scale to a 3-5 kilo class spin rod spooled with fine 8-12-pound braid and equivalent fluorocarbon leader.

Targeting Gummy Shark at Altona Pier

Gummy Shark

We would recommend targeting gummy sharks with a 7 foot 8-15 kilo rod paired with a 4000 to 6000 size reel spooled with 20 to 40 pound line. Finished with a strong leader ranging from 40lb through to 60 pounds. Ideal rigs include a running sinker rig single or double snelled rig or paternoster rig. You can use an Ezi rig attaching a sinker to the clip and then tying on a pre-made double snelled rig. Octopus or circle hooks from 5/0 to 7/0 are preferred for presenting chunks of salmon, trevally, squid, mackerel, Eel, mullet, pilchard, yakka’s, & garfish.

Targeting Squid at Altona Pier

Targeting squid is a fun form of fishing growing in popularity with the reward of fresh calamari. Squid can be caught all year round, you will find them in shallow weedy areas and they respond well to jigs in clear water conditions. We recommend reading our detailed guide on How to catch squid around Melbourne. An egi rod between 7.5 feet and 9 feet in length is ideal and there are plenty of egi rods on the market fit for purpose. We recommend an 8 foot 3-inch rod paired with a 3000 size reel spooled with 15-pound braid. Squid jigs are prone to snags in this area, and we have found that using slow sinking jigs in the smaller size of 2.5 and 3.0-gram jigs will help avoid this problem. Cast your squid jig to allow time for the jig to sink then do a series of lifts and pauses to imitate a wounded prawn. The natural temptation is to strike Instead, a subtle lift to keep line tension and a constant slow reel is all that’s required.

Check out this instructional video guide on how to squid filmed locally in Port Phillip Bay


Children will need to be closely supervised when fishing on the pier. The pier can be quite slippery and there is a decent drop on the edges. There are also anglers casting quite close to each other, so they will need to watch flying hooks.

Often there are rows of anglers so the biggest danger will be avoiding line tangles or walking behind someone who is casting, so be wary of those around you. Also, you’re likely to catch toadfish, stingrays, and banjo sharks which are a pest, just make sure you handle them with care and put them back into the water safely.

Images of fish supplied VFA and DEPI. All other images and videos shown on the Altona Pier Fishing Guide are Fishing Mad originals. Thank you for visiting the Altona Pier Fishing Guide. If you feel this location guide is missing any key information or needs any corrections made, then please let us know by emailing our team at enquiries@fishingmad.com.au with specific details in the email. Thank you