Welcome to the Lake Eildon Fishing Guide. Lake Eildon in recent years has become a premier fishing destination for trophy-sized Murray Cod and Yellowbelly ( Golden Perch ). This is one of Victoria’s largest man-made lakes spanning over 500 kilometers. Located 3 hour’s drive northeast of Melbourne it was built in the 1950s for irrigation and generating electricity. The lake resembles a labyrinth as it connects with 15 other rivers and streams as it passes through townships such as Bonnie Doon ( Ah the serenity ) and Mansfield. Most notable as it flows into the Goulburn River, Delatitie River, Howqua River, and Eildon Pondage.
It can be a daunting task to fish Lake Eildon because of its size and variety of species to target. This guide will share insight on what to target and how to catch them. Lake Eildon is an amazing and scenic fishing destination that contributes heavily to local tourism. It’s a fantastic place for camping with many arms that hold amazing camping grounds along the river’s edge. The fishing is fantastic here and you can target trophy-sized Murray cod, yellowbelly, redfin, rainbow, or brown trout whilst enjoying the local birdlife, wildlife, and scenery.
BECOME A FISHINGMAD MEMBER AND UNLOCK ACCESS TO
Workshops | Giveaways | Podcasts | Competitions | Forums | Reports | Maps | GPS Marks | Rigging Tutorials | Sounder School | Exclusive Footage | Tackle Talks | Gear Guides | Kayak Club | Much More
Things to do at Lake Eildon
Lake Eildon is a premier destination for camping and Fishing. A large waterway perfect for watersports including boating, kayaking, canoeing, swimming, jet skiing, sailing, water skiing, paddle boarding, and more. Lake Eildon is home to many luxury houseboats and a good variety of caravan parks, accommodation, and boat hire for a weekend away in country Victoria. Such as Eildon Pondage Caravan park. Lake Eildon National Park is a great spot for bushwalks and spotting natural wildlife such as kangaroos, echidnas, and reptiles. You can also have bushwalks at Merlo Lookout and blowhard summit. As with all areas that have water and high grass just always be cautious of snakes in the area.
Lake Eildon spans over 500 kilometers of shoreline and passes the popular country townships of Bonnie Doon, Alexandria, Jamieson, Eildon, Thornton, and Mansfield.
Fishing at Lake Eildon
At Lake Eildon, you can catch
- Murray Cod
- Yellowbelly ( Golden Perch )
- Redfin ( English Perch )
- Carp, Roach, and Tench
Some time ago the water levels were very low at Lake Eildon but thankfully today the lake is almost completely full. Lake Eildon has always been known as an excellent fishing location for brown trout, rainbow trout, and redfin ( English perch ), but thanks to stocking programs in recent years it has become a premier fishing destination for trophy-size Murray Cod and Yellowbelly. It’s a very large waterway and picking the best locations to fish can be challenging however rest assured that all the species of fish here are widespread. We have spent many years fishing many of the different arms from Bonnie Doon all the way through to Howqua and have caught a variety of species far and wide. Perhaps seeing more cod found between Eildon Pondage and Howqua.
Taking the right fishing gear can be a challenge as certain species require specific setups. A 2-5 kilo spin rod paired with a 2500 size spin reel spooled with 8-12 lb line is suitable for trout, redfin, yellowbelly, and carp. However, if you are targeting a trophy-size Murray Cod then you will need to step up to a medium to heavy baitcast rod paired with a 200-300 baitcasting reel and 20-40lb line.
A variety of fishing techniques work well at Lake Eildon. Vertical Jigging heavily weighted soft plastics, vibes, and blades along the visible timber structures coming out of the water is great for yellowbelly, redfin, cod, and trout. When doing this don’t spend too long in one area and try to cover as much ground as possible. When you find fish or high concentrations of bait then you can fish those areas longer. Also, mix up the lures and colours if things aren’t working. Another very successful technique here is trolling along the shallow banks with med and deep diving hard body lures work well for redfin, yellowbelly, and Cod. Trolling shallow diving hard body lures and winged spoons for trout. Casting large lures and swimbaits works great for Murray Cod. Whilst throwing out simple baits like yabbies, scrub worms, and corn works great when land-based fishing for yellowbelly, redfin, cod, and carp. As you can see there is a wide variety of gear and techniques depending on where you fish and what you target.
We would highly recommend that you read our detailed guide on how to catch trout. This will be very important when targeting trout in both Lake Eildon and the Eildon Pondage. At Lake Eildon though there is also plenty of golden perch, redfin, carp, and cod. When fishing at Lake Eildon concentrate some of your time amongst the structure. This is where many fish will reside. Tying your boat or kayak up against trees and dropping baits and lures hard up against the structure is a real key to success. Take advantage of down scan and side scan technologies on your sounder and spend some time moving between the structure to find the fish.
It’s worth noting Murray Cod can be targeted all year round at Lake Eildon with no closed-season restrictions. However, you do tend to catch more Murray Cod in the warmer months. Spring is the best time of year for targeting golden perch and cod. They can be caught at any time of the day but often the last 2 hours of daylight can be the best. Trout are more active in the colder months and redfin ( perch ) are more active in the warmer months. Again you can catch all these different species during any part of the day, though some fish will be more active at Dawn and Dusk.
Fish Stocking at Lake Eildon
Since 1991 Victorian Fisheries have stocked over 12 million fish at Lake Eildon. A combination of trout, Murray cod, yellowbelly & Macquarie perch. It’s a phenomenal effort and it’s the reason why this system is flouring and providing exceptional fishing for local anglers and anglers who travel far and wide to fish here.
Fishing at Eildon Pondage
Eildon Pondage offers spectacular scenic views, good camping, and great fishing. It has become a go-to place during trout season opening. In 2019 7 tonnes of trophy-sized rainbow trout were released in the Goulburn River and Eildon Pondage. Including 2,000 large rainbow trout weighing 4kg released across 11 different locations.
Fishing here in the Pondage and along the shallow streams can be exceptional. In recent times trout hatcheries have spilled over, particularly the stretches between the townships of Alexandra and Thornton. Because of this, the fishing in this immediate area has been exceptional. Many trout are caught with shallow diving hard body lures, spinners, soft plastics, and mid divers in deeper pools. When it’s on you can just about throw anything and catch one walking the banks with lures and catching plenty. You may even catch a stonker trout or two which have also been stocked in recent years.
Pretty much fishing a kilometer on each side of Gilmore’s bridge. Take waders walk the shallow streams cast downstream work your lure back at a medium pace and get ready for some crazy fishing action. Now the grass is quite high so do take caution of snakes and the ground is very soft underfoot.
If you plan on fishing with bait then scrub worms, earthworms, power bait, yabbies, minnows, and mudeye are great choices. You can suspend baits from a float or use a basic running sinker or paternoster rig to great effect when bait fishing. At Lake Eildon, you can have great success fishing with a wide range of soft plastics & lures. Click here to read our guide on the best lures to catch redfin. If you targeting cod and yellow belly then some great lure choices would include lip-less crank-baits such as Jackall TN series, stump jumpers that can be cast or trolled, surface lures, vibes, spinnerbaits, bassman spinners, large grub style soft plastics in dark colors. The new range of Savage Gear swimbaits is also a great option for the larger species.
When targeting trout, redfin we recommend fishing with a light spinning rod. This will make the experience more enjoyable and improve your catch rates. We suggest a 1-3 or 2-4 kilo fishing rod coupled with a 2000, 2500, or 3000 size reel spooled with a decent quality braid between 4-8 pounds finished with roughly a rod length of a quality fluorocarbon leader. Trout and Redfin are notorious for feeding more heavily at Dawn and Dusk. Redfin is more active in the warmer months and trout is more active in the colder months. If your site is set on catching a big cod then you’ll need to up your outfit. A 4-8 kilo or 6-12 kilo class rod and a quality baitcasting reel spooled with 20 to 50 pound braid finished with a solid Fluro carbon leader of equal strength. There is a whole range of baitcaster options suiting different budgets.
Recommended baits Lake Eildon
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.
- Scrub worms
Recommended lures Lake Eildon
- Jackall TN50
- Megabass Mag drift
- stump jumpers S3
- Berkley powerbait grub
- Bluefox spinners
- Daiwa DR joint minnows
- Megabass Vatalion
- Tasmanian Devils
- Bullet lures 5-0 minnow
- strike tiger nymph
- Pontoon 21 paco spoon
- Daiwa Double Clutch
- Zman 2.5 inch grub
- Zerek fish trap
- eco gear ZX40
Targeting Yellowbelly at Lake Eildon
Yellow belly AKA Golden Perch is a beautiful freshwater fish and 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 feet 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 Lake Eildon
Murray Cod is Australia’s largest freshwater fish that grows to impressive sizes. Murray 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. Murray Cod is most active in low light conditions such as sunrise and sundown. A medium to heavy bait caster rod matched with a 300 size bait caster reel spooled with 20lb to 30lb braid and 30lb to 40lb leader. You can fish lighter if you wish to target smaller models.
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
Targeting Trout at Lake Eildon
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 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 Lake Eildon
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 responds 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.
Watch our detailed video guide on our top 10 redfin lures below
Targeting Carp at Lake Eildon
There is a large volume of carp which can be fun to catch. You can learn more about catching carp by reading our guide to carp fishing around Victoria. Standard baits such as corn, bread, and maggots work great for carp. Use a simple running sinker rig or suspend baits from a float. We have also fished well using unweighted baits. You can also target carp with hard body lures and soft plastics, it’s a difficult technique that requires sight casting. This means spotting a nearby carp and casting right in there and working the lure of plastic slowly hoping they will strike. It’s a challenging yet rewarding technique when you catch a carp using this method. Selecting a 2-4 or 3-5 rod kilo rod coupled with a 3000 or 4000 size reel is suitable. We like to target carp on sundown, particularly in the warmer months. This is often when you see carp swimming along the edges or jumping out of the water around September-November which is their spawning season. European carp must not be returned to the water.
A simple yet effective fishing rig is to thread a small running sinker through the mainline shown in blue, which is usually around 8 pounds. Then tie a medium swivel to the end allowing the sinker to run up the mainline freely. Then tie on the other end of the swivel 50cm of 8-pound fluorocarbon leader (the leader is shown in grey ). Finished with a hook. I generally use a size 6 bait keeper hook or size 10 long shank which is perfect for corn kernels or scrub worms, however, you can also use small treble style hooks which is a better setup if you use bread.
If you getting snagged up then you can also use a float rig. Attach a quill or bubble float to your mainline. Thread the line through and adjust the length using a size 6 bait keeper hook or size 10 long shank to keep your bait suspended at a good depth. Ideally cast down breeze which will stop the float from coming back to you. If you’re not getting bites then adjust the line depth and If necessary add a splint shot to add weight.
Always carry your Victorian fishing license, FishingMad encourages ‘catch & release’ of all native species to help maintain the water quality within the lake however European Carp must not be returned. Map from tourisminternet.com and header from macwaterskiworld.com. All other images and videos shown on the Lake Eildon Fishing Guide are Fishing Mad originals. Thank you for visiting the Lake Eildon 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 email@example.com with specific details in the email. Thank you