Welcome to the Lake Eildon Fishing Guide. Lake Eildon is one of Victoria’s largest man-made lakes spanning over 500 kilometres located just under 3 hour’s drive northeast of Melbourne. Built-in the 1950s for irrigation and generating electricity. The lake flows into the Goulburn river and Eildon pondage resembling a large waterway labyrinth as it passes many townships such as Bonnie Doon ( Ah the serenity ). It can be a daunting task to fish Lake Eildon because of its size and variety and some local know-how can be very important. Lake Eildon is an amazing and scenic fishing destination that contributes heavily to local tourism. It’s a fantastic place for camping and targeting trophy-sized rainbow or brown trout during winter. There is also plenty of golden perch, redfin, carp and Murray Cod.
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Things to do at Lake Eildon
Lake Eildon is home to many luxury houseboats and with this comes action watersports such as boating, kayaking, canoeing, swimming, jet skiing, sailing, water skiing, paddle boarding and more. However, for many Lake Eildon is a premier destination for camping and Fishing. There is also 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.
No boating is allowed in Eildon Pondage however the land-based trout fishing during season-opening is quite epic.
Fishing at Lake Eildon
10 years ago water levels were very low at Lake Eildon. Thankfully things have improved and it once again is a premier destination to catch Brown Trout and Rainbow Trout. 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.
If you plan on fishing with bait then scrub worms, earthworms, power bait, yabbies, minnows and mudeye are a great choice. You can suspend baits from a float or use a basic running sinker or paternoster rigs 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 which can be cast or trolled, surface lures, vibes, spinnerbaits, bassman spinners, large grub style soft plastics in dark colours. The new range of Savage Gear swimbaits is also a great option for the larger species.
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.
When targeting freshwater species such as 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 that’s been spooled with a decent quality braid between 4-8 pound. Then finished with roughly a rod length of a quality fluorocarbon leader. Trout and Redfin are notorious for feeding more heavily at Dawn and Dusk. With redfin more active in the warmer months and trout more active in the colder months.
We conducted a test to see which would perform better for stocked trout powerbait or lures.
If your site is set on catching a big cod then you’ll need to up your outfit. A 6 foot to 7 foot rod in a 4-8 kilo or 6-12 kilo class rod and a quality baitcaster 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. An affordable starting point would be a either a Savage Gear black savage bait caster rod and reel combo or a Shimano raider cod 642 with a Casitas baitcaster reel.
Spring is the best time of year for targeting golden perch ( yellow belly ) 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.
If you plan on targeting carp, then you will want to have a medium 4-6 kilo bait rod spooled with heavier line. Click here to read our guide on How to catch carp in Victoria. Corn kernels, bread and worms are great options.
Recommended baits Lake Eildon
- Scrub worms
Recommended lures Lake Eildon
- 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
- Daiwa 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 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 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.
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 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.
Watch our detailed video guide on our top 10 redfin lures below
Targeting Yellowbelly at Lake Eildon
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 Lake Eildon
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 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.
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.
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.
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