Welcome to the Barkers creek reservoir Fishing Guide. This is a small reservoir also known as Harcourt roughly 90 minutes drive from Melbourne. Its located all the way down the Calder freeway past Bendigo up within the hills between the central goldfields and orchards of Victoria. Despite its quite small size, Barkers creek reservoir can produce quality Redfin and Trout. This system has happily accepted a massive boost from state target 1 million initiative. A native fish program which has seen 5,000 yellow belly fingerlings stocked in March 2019 and a total of 25,000 to date. In years to come, it will also produce quality Yellow belly golden perch which will be continually stocked. There are also plans to increase stocking of brown trout.
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 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 stocked by the Victorian Fisheries Authority throughout 2019 as well. You can see more details of kayak opening at Barkers Creek Reservoir on the VFA website.
Things to do at Barkers Creek Reservoir
It’s a lovely scenic area, probably not a great number of things to keep the kids occupied. So if your 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 redfin & trout in good numbers. 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 on 2019 4000+ Murray Cod stocked by the Victorian Fisheries Authority. The best baits include Scrub worms, Crickets, Power bait, Yabbies, 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.
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 mainline 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.
A good way of targeting multiple species is trolling minnow style lures from the back of your kayak. You may want to experiment with trolling lures that dive to different depths but redfin, yellowbelly, trout and cod will happily take a lure trolled.
Recommended baits Barkers Creek reservoir
- Scrub worms
Recommended lures Barkers Creek reservoir
- Bluefox spinners
- Daiwa DR joint minnows
- Daiwa Bait Junkie 2.5 inch grub
- Savage Gear minnow blade
- Jackall TN50
- Berkley powerbait grub
- Daiwa Presso minnows
- Tasmanian Devil Blade
- Bullet lures 5-0 minnow
- Bassman spinner bait
- 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
- Dawia Bait Junkie paddle tail minnow
- Zerek fish trap
- eco gear ZX40
- Savage Gear Fathead crank shallow diving
- Squidges biotough grub
- stump jumpers S3
Targeting Trout at Barkers Creek reservoir
We would highly recommend that you read our detailed 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 your 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 than 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.
We conducted a test to see which would perform better for stocked trout powerbait or lures. Watch the video below to find out the results which were interesting.
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 targeting 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
Yellow belly AKA Golden Perch is a beautiful freshwater fish found in this system. With a rich food source available the yellowbelly here grow too thick and plump sizes. Good lure choices include curl tail soft plastics with the zman 2.5-inch grubz and Gulp 3-inch grub minnow both in black are standout choices. Soft vibes such as the Zerek fish trap, Jackall transams and Samaki vibelicious are great options. lip-less crank-baits such as Jackall TN50 and TN60 continue to be very popular so do blades such as the eco gear ZX40 with stinger hooks. Other favourites are the reliable stump jumpers, spinnerbaits, bassman spinners, large grub style soft plastics in dark colours.
Soft plastics are worked best on a 1/8 or 1/4 jig head slow-rolled along any structure. This works particularly well when tying your boat or kayak up against trees and working the soft plastic slowly up against the tree and adding some noise to the action 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 to can be worked amongst the timber but in general work really well in open water being slow-rolled or trolled.
When it comes to rod selection we generally use a light spin rod around 7 foot in length in 1-4, 2-4 or 3-5 kilo class paired with a 1000, 2000 or 2500 size reel. Spooled with 8-12 pound braid and an equivalent fluorocarbon leader.
Baitcaster rods and reels are a very popular choice when targeting yellowbelly. Good options include a 3-5 or 4-6 bait caster with a 2000 bait caster reel. When bait fishing a 7 foot light rod paired with a 3000 size reel. Good bait rigs would 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 is Australia’s largest freshwater fish that grows to impressive sizes. Cod are an ambush predator 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 ideal when targeting cod. This might be a stiff 6-foot rods in 6-10 kilo class matched with a suitable size bait caster reel spooled with 20lb to 30lb braid and 30lb to 40lb leader.
Good lure options for Murray Cod include hard body lures, surface lures, spinnerbaits, swimbaits, shads, lipless crankbaits, paddle tail and curtail soft plastics. These should be worked slowly or tolled from your boat or kayak if access is permitted. There are some amazing surface lures on the market these days including imitation mice, frogs, ducks, and snakes with realistic action that are fun to target cod with. Bait anglers can target Murray cod with live yabbies and worms.
Images of fish supplied VFA and DEPI. Header image shown is from goldfieldsguide.com.au All other images and videos shown on the Western Port Fishing Guide are Fishing Mad originals.
Additions and corrections of this location
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