Welcome to the Barkers Creek Reservoir Fishing Guide. This is a small reservoir also known as Harcourt roughly 90 minutes drive from Melbourne. It’s located down the Calder freeway past Bendigo up within the hills between the central goldfields and orchards of Victoria. Despite its small size, Barkers Creek Reservoir produces quality Redfin and Trout and has been stocked heavily with natives in recent years. This system has happily accepted a massive boost from the state target 1 million initiative. A native fish program that has seen 5,000 yellow belly fingerlings stocked in March 2019 and a total of 25,000 to date.


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exciting news for kayaks and Canoes in April 2019 with this system finally being opened up to Kayakers, Canoes and boats with small electric motors. This is all part of an initiative from the local government. Details of this can be seen here. The news only got better as 4000+ Murray Cod were stocked by the Victorian Fisheries Authority throughout 2019 as well. You can see more details of the kayak opening at Barkers Creek Reservoir on the VFA website.

Watch our detailed video guide on our top 10 redfin lures below

Things to do at Barkers Creek Reservoir

It’s a lovely scenic area, but probably not a great number of things to keep the kids occupied. So if you’re taking the family maybe keep the fishing to short sessions and enjoy the surrounding views, birdlife, orchids and townships. Of course, now that this spot is open for kayaking why not bring the family down for a kayak session?


Fishing at Barkers Creek Reservoir

At Barkers Creek Reservoir you can catch

  • Brown trout
  • Rainbow trout
  • Murray cod
  • Yellowbelly ( Golden Perch )
  • Redfin ( English Perch )
  • Carp
  • Eels

Golden Perch and Murray Cod will soon be regular catches as well thanks to native stocking initiatives. At the start of 2019, a whopping 5,000 golden perch fingerlings were stocked here. Also in 2019, 4000+ Murray Cod were stocked by the Victorian Fisheries Authority. The best baits include Scrub worms, Crickets, Power bait, Yabbies, and Mudeye. When the water level is high enough and you can get past the weed beds flicking a wide range of spinners, soft plastics & lures can be a great method of catching a prized reddie or trout. Why not read our guide on the best lures to catch redfin.

This is a great location for lures and soft plastics. Long-casting metal lures, vibes and spoons are a must when fishing from the banks. They will allow you to cover great distances and target multiple freshwater species at once. Another effective method is trolling old-school favourites like Tassie Devils. Traditional lures such as spinners and Tassie devils will also work well, especially in bright colours. You won’t need to get too fancy here a simple cast and slow roll will be effective. When targeting trout and redfin we encourage you to fish as light as possible. This will make the experience more fun and improve your catch rates. Redfin will actively take many baits or lures. To maximize your chances fish with a 1-3 or 2-4 kilo rod. A reel size of 2500 is perfect. The main line is spooled with 4-6 pound braid finished with a good quality leader. You will need to go a little heavier in years to come when Yellowbelly has had a chance to grow and flourish. This is also a terrific spot for the fly fisherman who can drift nymph flies with great success for trout. Any time of day, though some fish will be more active at Dawn and Dusk. In the early mornings, you may spot trout breaking the surface to take insects.


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Fishing Gear Guide for Barkers Creek Reservoir

Good gear selection here would include a light spin rod or a light to medium baitcaster depending on what you’re targeting and how you plan on fishing. For trout, redfin and even yellowbelly a 2-4 kilo or 2-5 kilo spin rod coupled with a 2000 or 2500-size spin reel spooled with 6-10 pound braid and equivalent fluorocarbon leader is a great option. It’s nice and light so you can enjoy the experience but heavy enough to land a decent fish. If you intend to target Murray Cod and Yellowbelly by casting or trolling bigger lures then a medium to light baitcast outfit would be more suitable.

Trolling Tassie Devils, stump jumpers and minnow imitations such as the Daiwa double clutch at different depths is a great way to fish here. We have also had great success fishing with a range of soft plastics & lures. Click here to see our best lures & plastics to catch redfinIf bait fishing Mudeye, live minnow and power bait on a float is a great choice when targeting trout. Other good options include scrub worms and yabbies. I would do so using a very simple running sinker rig with a small hook or treble, and a small pea size sinker.


Stocking at Barkers Creek reservoir

Barkers Creek Reservoir has been stocked with over 400,000 fish since 1990. In more recent years since 2018 Barkers Creek Reservoir has been stocked with 160,000 fish. As you can see from the table below a combination of brown trout, golden perch and murray cod.

Barkers Creek Reservoir Stocking

Recommended baits for Barkers Creek Reservoir

Bait Choices

The video below demonstrates the best baits for trout and how to rig them correctly.  

  • Scrub worms
  • Mudeye
  • Powerbait
  • maggots
  • Earthworms
  • yabbies
  • live minnows

Recommended lures Barkers Creek reservoir

Soft Plastics

Need some help choosing lures and soft plastics. The video below is a detailed guide to get you started. 

  • Stump jumpers
  • Spinnerbaits
  • Bluefox spinners
  • Daiwa DR joint minnows
  • Jackall TN50/60s
  • Berkley powerbait grub
  • Daiwa Presso minnows
  • Tasmanian Devil Blade
  • Bullet lures 5-0 minnow
  • Bullet lures 3cm lure
  • strike tiger nymph
  • Nories Wasabi spoon
  • Rapala countdown floating minnow
  • Pontoon 21 paco spoon
  • Daiwa Double Clutch
  • Tasmanian Devil lure
  • Gulp 3-inch minnow
  • Zman 2.5 inch grub
  • Zerek fish trap
  • eco gear ZX40
  • Savage Gear Fathead crank shallow diving
  • Squidges biotough grub

Targeting Trout at Barkers Creek Reservoir


We recommend you read our guide on how to catch trout which details our favourite lures, baits and techniques. You can follow trout stocking timelines by reading the Victorian trout stocking guide as part of the target 1 million by 2020 and 10 million by 2022 initiatives. When targeting trout with lures we recommend using shallow diving hard body minnows, metal spoons, spinners, Tassie devils and soft plastics which are also very effective on trout. If you’re bait fishing, then Mudeye, scrub worms, power bait, yabbies and minnows suspended from a float or a running sinker rig are great options when targeting trout at this location. Trout are more active in cold conditions with most catches on the first and last light of the day. We recommend targeting trout with a 1-3 or 2-4 kilo fishing rod coupled with a 1000, 2000, or 2500 reel spooled with 4-8-pound braid and equivalent fluorocarbon leader. If there are larger trophy-size trout around 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 Redfin at Barkers Creek reservoir

We recommend targeting redfin with a light spin outfit. This will make the experience more enjoyable and improve your catch rates. A 1-3 or 2-4 kilo fishing rod coupled with a 2000, 2500 or 3000 reel spooled with 4-8-pound braid and equivalent fluorocarbon leader should be perfect. Redfin respond really well to lures and soft plastics so do check our guide on the best lures for catching Redfin When using soft plastics, we highly recommend curl tails, minnow imitations, and paddle tails in both natural and bright colours. Rigged with a jig head that’s 1/8 through to 1/20 in weight. The most effective way to use these is to cast towards visible structure and slow roll the soft plastic with lifts and pauses for the retrieve. Shallow diving hard body lures, blades and vibes are also very effective in this system. So are traditional spinners and Tassie devils in bright colours. Metal spoons also play a role allowing you to cast great distances and target the bigger size reddies. Just remember they are quite heavy and very prone to snags in small inland systems like this one.

Targeting Yellowbelly at Barkers Creek reservoir

Golden Perch

Yellow belly is a beautiful freshwater fish found in this system and with a rich food source available the yellowbelly here grow to good sizes. Curltail and paddle tail soft plastics in black colours are standout choices so are soft vibes, blades, lipless crank-baits such as Jackall TN50 and TN60s.  Other favourites are the reliable stump jumpers and spinnerbaits. Soft plastics work best on a 1/8 or 1/4 jig head slow-rolled or jigged along any structure. Even tie your boat or kayak up to trees and work the soft plastic adding noise by tapping the butt of your rod or by hitting the jig head into the timber. This brings out the predatory nature of the yellowbelly. Take advantage of down scan and side scan technologies on your sounder and spend some time moving between the structure to find the fish. Other lures can be worked amongst the timber but in general work well in open water being slow-rolled or trolled.

A light spin rod around 7 feet in length in 2-4 or 3-5 kilo paired with a 2000 or 2500 size reel. Spooled with 8-12 pound braid and an equivalent fluorocarbon leader. Light to Medium baitcaster combos is also a very popular choice when targeting Yellowbelly with spinnerbaits and larger lures. Good bait rigs include a paternoster rig with a small sinker at the bottom or a running sinker rig with scrub worms or yabbies.


Targeting Murray Cod at Barkers Creek Reservoir

Murray Cod

Murray Cod have been stocked here in recent years as part of the VFA’s target of 1 million by 2020 and target 10 million by 2022 campaigns. Building a state of the art self-sufficient hatchery in Arcadia. Murray Cod is Australia’s largest freshwater fish that grows to impressive sizes. Cod are ambush predators that love the cover of structure so make sure you concentrate your efforts on any visible structure including logs and submerged trees. They will also seek shelter in deeper holes and rock ledges. Cod are most active in low light conditions such as sunrise and sundown. A medium to heavy bait caster rod is needed when targeting these large and powerful fish. Good lure options for Murray Cod include hard body lures, surface lures, spinnerbaits, swimbaits, shads, lipless crankbaits, paddle tails and curtail soft plastics cast towards structure or trolled.

Images of fish supplied VFA and DEPI. The header image shown is from goldfieldsguide.com.au All other images and videos shown on the Barkers Creek Reservoir Fishing Guide are Fishing Mad originals. Thank you for visiting the Barkers creek reservoir Fishing Guide. If you feel this location guide is missing 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. Please also feel free to share any fishing pictures you have from this location with us. Thank you