Welcome to the Barwon River Fishing Guide. The Barwon River stretches for 160 kilometres starting in the Otway ranges, then flowing through the township of Geelong then through townships along the Bellarine peninsula such as Ocean Grove before going out to sea at the Bass straight adjacent Barwon Heads. The river is home to many species of birds, fish, eels, rats wallabies and platypus. 15 different creeks and rivers flow into the Barwon River with Lake Connewarre and Moorabool the most notable. The Barwon River is a unique place to fish along with many popular rural townships. These days we often see massive carp being caught in the lower reaches and a healthy volume of fish near the mouth entrance.
Things to do on Barwon River
The Barwon River passes through rural townships including Geelong and Ocean Grove along the Bellarine peninsula before going out to see in the Bass straight near Barwon heads. Along the Barwon river, you can enjoy a picnic at riverside, camping on the river, Queens Park and views at Buckley Falls. Native birds at Balyang Sanctuary and Barwon Valley adventure playground for the kids. There are many walks, parks, wetlands, golf courses, gardens and fishing platforms. Things to do in townships along the river includes.
Geelong is located 70 kilometres away from Melbourne with many shops, parks, piers, restaurants, cafes, and adventures. Some of the local attractions include the beautifully maintained Geelong botanic gardens. If you’re after a bit more excitement then Geelongs adventure park which has world-class rides and waterslides. Including the new Tsunami waterslide. There is Serendip Sanctuary closer to Lara which offers access to Australia’s wildlife and gardens. Geelong waterfront area is a vibrant spot full of piers and great for walking, picnics and eating.
Barwon Heads is 90 minutes drive from Melbourne. Surrounding townships include ocean grove and Queenscliff. This area is renowned for clean beaches which is very popular with holiday goes most school holidays. Swimming, paddleboarding, kayaking, snorkelling and fishing are prime activities here. It’s a great spot for kids who enjoy playing on the sand and in shallow water safely. Within the town, 13th beach offers great surfing with qualify waves coming directly from the Bass straight. You also have the Jirrahlinga Koala & Wildlife Sanctuary. 5 acres of land dedicated to the welfare of local animals. In town, there is also stand up paddle boarding hire available, many cafes, restaurants and parks to keep the family busy. Or skydiving and scenic flight tours in surrounding townships.
Fishing the Barwon River
The Barwon River is a diverse fishing ecosystem. We will break this up into 2 different sections the lower reaches around Geelong and beyond which have freshwater and the upper reaches closer to the mouth entrance which has estuary species.
Fishing the lower freshwater reaches of the Barwon river
The lower reaches provide great freshwater fishing with redfin and carp the most frequently caught species. You can also catch trout, eels, and tench. However, redfin is the most targeted fish in this area and sections of the Barwon hold them in good numbers and good sizes. These can be targeted with both bait and lures. Those fishing with lures have done this flicking along the banks or trolling in a small boat or kayak. We like using bright coloured soft plastics and shallow diving lures which stand out in the brownish water. Redfin in winter will hold the middle of the river in deeper areas and in summer hold against the reeds and shallows. Why not have a read on our detailed guide on the best lures to catch redfin. Good bait options include scrub worms, mudeye, crickets, yabbies and corn.
Huge carp are caught regularly in the Barwon river around Geelong. These can easily be targeted by fishing the banks and using corn, bread or worms as bait. We would suggest using heavier fishing gear due to the sheer size that some of the trout can grow to. If you would like to learn more about catching carp then please read our guide on mastering carp fishing.
Eels are a common catch particular when it’s dark. Some meet and worms on a small hook has been a sure way to catch a few of them.
Fishing the upper estuary reaches of the Barwon river
The upper reaches of the Barwon river around Ocean Grove and Barwon heads have a very high volume of yellow-eye mullet, salmon and whiting. Fishing along the jetties on river parade or sheepwash road you can catch countless of them using small hooks. You will also find trevally, flathead, gurnard, pinkies, bream. The best baits include bass yabbies, scrub worms, pilchards, pipis, blue bait, and raw chicken. You will also have great success here flicking small and lightly weighted soft plastics and using scent sparingly to encourage bites.
Rare trophy fish along these stretches will include Mulloway, Snapper and Elephant fish. They are significantly harder to catch, and often more active at night seasonally. They can be caught using larger baits such as whole pilchards and bigger soft plastics such as 5 inch jerk shads or swimbaits.
Barwon River Boat and kayak access
There are two ramps along the river the first is a ramp, at Ocean Grove accessible on Guthridge Street. The other is on the Barwon Heads side on River Parade accessed on Sheepwash Rd.
Barwon River Fishing hazards & Regulations
The Barwon river holds a large volume of snakes particularly tiger snakes so do take care in these areas. I have encountered these many times walking along the populated walking tracks, or along the river edge. There is a river health program in progress. Rock-ramp fishways have been installed at Baum’s Weir, Buckleys Falls, Lower breakwater, Pollocksford Weir and Ricketts Marsh gauge. Willow management, revegetation with native species and erosion control is also in progress.
Additions and corrections of this location
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