Welcome to the Goulburn River Fishing Guide. The Goulburn River is a large stretch of waterway. In fact, it’s Victoria’s largest river stretching 570klm starting in Northern Victoria around Shepparton and going all the way past Alexandria. A labyrinth of water systems that interconnects with the Murray River, Lake Eildon, and more. It’s a popular fishing spot in various townships around Seymour and Nagambie. It holds great numbers of redfin and trout. However, the prized catches along this stretch are native freshwater fish including golden perch and cod. It offers many beautiful country townships. In recent years thanks to trout stockings and festivals fishing the streams from Eildon Pondage through to Alexandra have been exceptional.
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Things to do along the Goulburn River
There are lots of families and fishing-friendly accommodations along the Goulburn river including the Goulburn River lodge. This is a great fishing destination either fishing the Goulburn itself or joining Eildon or Eildon Pondage. There are 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. There are also other family activities such as Rubicon Valley horse riding adventures, and Snobs Creek Vineyard. There is also the Alexandra family market held every 2nd Sunday and lots of local fresh produce.
Fishing the Goulburn River
At the Goulburn river, you can catch, ( see how to target each species below )
- Murray Cod
- Golden Perch
- Rainbow Trout
- Brown Trout
In recent years thanks to stocking efforts from the VFA the trout fishing on the Goulburn particularly in areas from the Eildon Pondage, through to Thronton and Alexandra have been fishing exceptionally well. Fishing a variety of shallow diving hard body lures, spinners, soft plastics, and baits accounting for many rainbow trout. Even some stonkers. Walking the banks and fishing both the shallow and deep pools with a constant retrieve works great. Mixing up the retrieval speeds is also a good idea.
In 2022 there were 10 sites along the Goulburn River, between Eildon and Molesworth that shared in 1500 trout, with Eildon Pondage set to receive 500. The surrounding areas where stonker-size trout up to 5 kilos in size have been stocked include Molesworth Caravan Park, Alexandra Bridge, Breakaway Bridge, McMartins Lane, Gilmore’s Bridge, Thornton Beach River Reserve – Back Eildon Road, Eildon Waters, Walnuts River Reserve, Point Hill Reserve Boat Ramp, Blue Gums & Eildon Pondage.
This area has been extensively stocked with trout in recent years. Here is a quick snippet of stocking in Eilon Pondage alone for the last few months
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. Here 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.
We would highly recommend that you read our detailed guide on how to catch trout. Concentrate some of your time on 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.
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. 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.
Recommended lures fishing the Goulburn River
Need some help choosing lures & soft plastics. The video is a detailed guide to get you started.
- Rapala countdown floating minnow
- EcoGear MX48
- YoZuri pins minnow
- Daiwa presso minnows
- Nories laydown minnow
- Bluefox spinners
- OSP bent minnow
- Daiwa DR joint minnows
- Strike tiger nymph
- Daiwa bait junkie 2.5-inch grub
- Daiwa double clutch
- Berkley powerbait grub
- Tasmanian devil blade
- Bullet lures 5-0 minnow
- Tasmanian devil lure
- Zman 2.5-inch grub
- Bullet lures 3cm lure
Recommended baits fishing the Goulburn River
The video below demonstrates the best baits for trout and how to rig them correctly.
- Scrub worms
- live minnows
Targeting Murray Cod at Goulburn River
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.
Targeting Trout at Goulburn River
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 Yellowbelly at Goulburn River
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 with 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 Redfin at Goulburn River
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 Carp at Goulburn River
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.
All rural areas are inhabited by wildlife such as Snakes and Lizards, so be wary of venomous snakes such as Brown, Tiger and Red-bellied Black. 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.
Images of fish supplied VFA and DEPI. All images and videos shown on the Goulburn River Fishing Guide are Fishing Mad originals.
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