Welcome to the Lake Bullen Merri Fishing Guide. Lake Bullen Merri is also known as Crater Lake is located in the scenic countryside along Camperdown. Its located 25 minutes away from Lake Purembette, roughly 2 and a half hours drive from Melbourne. It’s a large and deep volcanic lake created by two overlapping volcanoes reaching a maximum depth of 66 meters which is truly impressive. It’s stocked regularly by fisheries with trout, salmon and bass. There are huge fish in this lake, with chinook salmon caught up to a meter in size. There are also trophy-size brown and rainbow trout. In time it will also become an excellent fishery for Australian Bass as they grow. The high concentration of salt within the lake has a natural sustaining volume of salmon which makes this destination very popular. It also contains a very healthy population of Redfin and in recent years has produced them in masses in the warmer months.

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Things to do at Lake Bullen Merri

It’s a lovely location for the family with adequate camping options along the lake and children’s facilities such as playgrounds. The family will enjoy recreational water activities such as water skiing and fishing by either boat, kayak or land. Staying for the weekend is a great idea and you can book a cabin, powered spot and unpowered tent at the Lakes and Craters holiday park. There are some great scenic trails for cyclists around the lake. Nearby attractions include the Camperdown botanic gardens, township manifold clock tower, Camperdown courthouse, and Rennie’s hill lookout for great views of neighbouring lakes. Play a round of golf at the Camperdown golf course or take the kids to the miniature railway park.

Fishing Lake Bullen Merri

At Lake Bullen Merri there are multiple boat ramps scattered around the lake providing good access points where you can target

  • brown trout
  • rainbow trout
  • Atlantic salmon
  • chinook salmon
  • redfin
  • Australian Bass

If you plan to fish using bait for Chinook Salmon then a good choice is the humble pilchard. Rig them either unweighted or with a slow running sinker rig with a small sinker to a swivel and roughly half a meter of leader. Generally, we will fillet the pilchard for best bait presentation. When bait fishing for trout and redfin the popular bait choice at Bullen Merri is using live minnows on a paternoster rig or running sinker rig. Pinning the minnow gently with a small hook through the mouth so it can remain alive and swim. Locals have developed some handy ways of collecting live minnows using a tin of cat food and nets. This is the natural diet of the fish in this lake and has become the most reliable bait choice. Other good bait options include mud eyes, worms, powerbait and yabbies. Soft plastics & lures will also work well in these areas, particularly in the shallower areas. Read our detailed guide on the best lures to catch redfin and our detailed guide on how to catch trout.

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.

One of the most popular techniques at Lake Bullen Merri is trolling lures. Either large deep diving hard body lures such as Daiwa Double-clutch 90mm, Rapala CD series or large Tassie devils in bright colours. Allowing these to sit about 50 meters behind the boat and trolling at a very slow pace. I like to watch the vibrating action of the lure to work out if I’m going too slow too fast and to ensure there is no weed on the lure. Generally, around 3 kilometres is a suitable speed. Downriggers are a very effective tool to have when fishing this lake to get trolled lures down to greater depths where the fish are. Some without downriggers have become creative using small sinkers on the line to generate this weight instead. Trolling in depths between 20 and 30 meters has been the most successful for us. A handy tip is to troll 2 lures that dive to different depths and see if a particular depth on that day is more effective. Also, try and keep your rod tip low as close to the water as possible. This will provide the lure with the best natural action, getting it deeper and encouraging more strikes.

Rod choice can be quite difficult as there are so many different styles of fishing techniques on offer. For instance, if you are trolling large hard body lures targeting big salmon or trout then you would want a medium-class rod that is a little stiffer than rods that you would be flicking soft plastics with. You will certainly come across big Salmon and Trout in this lake so it pays to fish with a slightly heavier line and leader.  2-4 or 3-5 kilo class spin rod would be a great option. The mainline spooled with fine 8-12 pound braid finished with a good quality leader.

You can catch fish at any time of the day. However, when trolling we find most catches to be on the first and last light of the day. Also, remember that trout and salmon are more active in cold conditions and redfin are more active in warm conditions.

The boat ramps are in desperate need of an upgrade so take care when launching boats or powered vehicles. Because of its location which is very open and exposed this can be a very cold and windy location. Remember that lake Bullen Merri has high salt concentration so do remember to clear your gear and flush your motor thoroughly. Historically the lake has had some issues with water quality and PH levels. It was considered that high algae bloom concentration had contributed to large fish-killing reports. So just keep an eye out for any notifications or warnings.

Recommended baits Lake Bullen Merri

  • Pilchard
  • live minnows
  • Scrub worms
  • Powerbait
  • Yabbies
  • Mudeye
  • maggots

Recommended lures Lake Bullen Merri

  • 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 Lake Bullen Merri


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.

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 Lake Bullen Merri


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 Bass at Lake Bullen Merri


Bass pound for pound are considered the best sports fish on the planet. Often mistaken with the Estuary Perch these small silverfish love to smash surface and shallow diving lures. The action can be frantic on warm balmy evenings with low wind. listen for the sound of breaking water. Small surface poppers, cicadas, blades, surface minnows and pencil lures work well here. So do shallow diving hardbody lures. Noteworthy options include bent minnows, Rapala countdown series, nories laydown minnows and shallow diving cranks. Basically, anything that doesn’t dive too deep and makes a good vibrating action will work well. You can use any colour choice we often start with silvers that mimic small baitfish or mullet.

Bass also respond well to soft plastics lightly weighted. Including curl tails, paddle tails and minnow imitations. The trusty 2.5-inch grubs and minnows an excellent choice. We would recommend mixing up the retrieval speeds and pauses and playing around with different colours. Where possible fish along the structure and stay alert for signs such as breaking water. Bass although powerful requires finesse. We recommend an ultralight fishing combo consisting of a 1-3 or 2-4 kilo spin rod around 7 foot in length. Coupled with a 1000 or 2000 size reel spooled with 2-8 pound line and equivalent fluorocarbon leader. When bait fishing uses a 2-4 kilo rod around 7 foot in length. Coupled with a 2500 size reel either a float or small running sinker to a swivel and very fine leader.

Targeting Salmon at Lake Bullen Merri


Here you will find the Chinook and Atlantic salmon. Winter is a great time to target salmon as they’re active and schooling up in big numbers. Salmon is a powerful sports fish that punches well above its weight. When hooked they produce strong bursts of speed, powerful runs, and vigorous head shakes. You can target them by trolling lures with downriggers or heavier metal lures. Or by anchoring up and using staple baits such as pilchards from a paternoster or running sinker rig either unweighted or small sinker.

Images of fish supplied VFA and DEPI. All other images and videos shown on the Lake Bullen Merri Fishing Guide are Fishing Mad originals.

Thanks for reading our Lake Bullen Merri Fishing Guide. If you feel this location guide is missing key information or needs any corrections made, then please let us know by emailing our team at enquiries@fishingmad.com.au with specific details in the email. Please also feel free to share any fishing pictures you have from this location with us. Thank you