Welcome to the Maribyrnong River Fishing Guide. The Maribyrnong river or the Nong as we call it has developed a mighty reputation as a brilliant urban bream fishing location. Its been heavily stocked with Estuary perch in recent times and that will grow and flourish in years to come. The River spans 40 kilometres long starting from the mouth of Port Phillip bay sharing the entrance of the Yarra river but goes flows all the way through Brimbank park, Taylors lakes then through to country Victoria finishing past areas such as Sunbury, Macedon and Bacchus Marsh.
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The river is mainly fished in locations throughout urban Melbourne. There are scattered boat ramps and jetties all around Flemington, Footscray, Avondale Heights and Maribyrnong. Some noted areas for land base anglers would include being the anglers tavern, Canning Reserve and Footscray Buddhist temple, This is a great river that can provide quality fish all year round with bream being your main target species.
I still remember this day back in 2016, fishing near Flemington with a few good mates. We fished only for a couple of hours yet landed several large bream. It highlights on its day it can be an amazing fishing system.
Things to do at Maribyrnong River
The Maribyrnong River is a scenic system that stretches 40 kilometres starting near the Docklands from the Yarra River. You can take a cruise along the river, it also has kilometres of concrete walking tracks which is very popular with locals, walking, jogging and fitness groups. It’s also popular with rowing clubs, bird watching and fishing. There are many parks and ideal locations for a picnic with the family. The river at Flemington goes directly past the Flemington racecourse which holds the world-renowned Melbourne cup and spring carnival yearly. Footscray Park is also a popular destination to watch the fireworks during new years eve celebrations. Closer to the entrance you are only kilometres away from the Melbourne CBD, Dockland shopping precinct and the Queen Victoria market.
Fishing the Maribyrnong River
On the Nong, you will encounter bream, estuary perch, mulloway, snapper ( pinkies ), trevally, salmon & mullet. The upper reaches of the river also include redfin, carp and tench. This area has and will continue to be heavily stocked with estuary Perch as part of the state governments initiative target 1 million by 2020 and stock 10 million by 2022 initiative there are some great fishing upgrades planned for the Maribyrnong River.
Fishing with bait can be very productive. Baits that you should consider using will include yabbies, scrub worms, prawns, sandworms, maggots, scrub worms, mussels, & chicken. For more information on bait fishing on the Nong click here for our detailed guide on bait fishing for Bream and watch our step by step instructional guide on how to rig up and catch bream.
When it comes to lures the choice of bream lures is almost endless. We recommend reading our guide on the best lures to catch bream. Options include imitation crabs, grub style soft plastics, minnow style soft plastics, shallow diving hard body lures, blades and vibes. To fish the Maribyrnong river successfully you will need a finesse rod suited for bream fishing. We would suggest a light 7-foot rod 1-3 or 2-4 kilo capacity coupled with a 2000 size reel. Spool the reel with 6 or 4-pound braid finished with a rod length of 4 pounds or 6 pounds Fluro carbon leader. There is plenty of ultra-light and affordable bream rods and reels on the market. The choices here are endless and constantly expanding so do some research on something that fits within your budget. Generally, we found the peak of tide changes is the best. With fish more active on tidal movement. High tide is always favourable as the bream will come closer in to feed on the weed of the rock beds.
The choice of lures is almost endless to make things easier we created a detailed video on the best lures and how to use them.
Rowers & floating debris are likely to collect your fishing lines. You may also experience frustration as your lines get picked by small baitfish and starfish. The Maribyrnong River is home to 4 species of snake including the Tiger, eastern Brown, Copperhead and red-bellied black.
Recommended baits Maribyrnong River
- Scrub worms
Best lures and soft plastics Maribyrnong River
- Cranka crab
- Zman slim Swimz
- Damiki Monster Miki 2.5 sp
- Jackall Chubby
- Savage Gear Fathead Crank
- Daiwa Bait Junkie 2.5 inch grub
- Gulp 3 inch minnow
- Dawia Bait Junkie paddle tail minnow
- Zman grubZ
- Squidge wrigglers
- Daiwa Double-clutch
- EcoGear SX40
- Nories laydown minnow
- StrikePro cyber vibe
- Pro lure live yabby
- OSP bent minnows
Targeting Bream Maribyrnong River
This is a great location to target bream with lures and soft plastics. The options available are almost endless so make sure you read our guide on the best lures to catch bream. Recommended options include crab imitation, shallow diving cranks, paddle tail soft plastics, curl tail soft plastics, minnow imitations, vibes, and blades. Also, try your luck with surface lures which is an exciting form of fishing with light gear.
Bream is all about finesse fishing so you will need an ultralight spin outfit. We recommend a 7-foot rod in a 1-3 or 2-4 kilo class, paired with a 1000, 2000 or 2500 reel spooled with 2-6-pound braid and equivalent leader. There are so many amazing bream outfits on the market and budgets vary greatly depending on your skill level and spending habits.
Bream reside within the structure such as jetty pylons and stumps. Enticing them away from the structure onto your lure will take some time to master. Remember to work your lures and plastics slowly and mix up the retrieval techniques.
If your targeting bream with bait than we would highly recommend sandworms, maggots, scrub worms, mussels, yabbies, & chicken. A 2-4 kilo class rod paired with a 2500 size reel would be a great option spooled with 6-pound line. We would encourage you to read our detailed guide on Bait fishing for Bream.
Targeting Estuary Perch Maribyrnong River
Another highlight of fishing in this area is targeting Estuary perch with surface and shallow diving lures. The action can be frantic on warm balmy evenings with low wind. listen for the sound of breaking water which indicates EPs are feeding. The excitement an angler gets from an EP smashing a surface lure on light gear is something that truly needs to be experienced. It almost catches you by surprise when that aggressive strike comes.
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.
EPs also respond incredibly well to a whole range of soft plastics lightly weighted. Including curl tails, paddle tails and minnow imitations. The trusty 2.5-inch grubs and minnows an excellent choice. These imitate small baitfish which the EPs are actively feeding on. 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.
Fishing for Estuary Perch 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 Trevally Canning Reserve
Trevally pound for pound is one of the best fighting fish. In certain parts of Australia surface popping for Giant Trevally is one of the bucket list fishing experiences that you must tick off. However, in Victoria, you will mainly be catching the much smaller silver trevally. Good bait options include blue bait, whitebait, raw chicken, pilchards, pippies, squid and mussels. Trevally will also take a range of soft plastics including worm and minnow imitations, small surface poppers, and small metal spoons.
We recommend targeting trevally with a 1-3 or 2-4 kilo fishing rod coupled with a 2000, or 2500 reel spooled with 4-8-pound braid and equivalent fluorocarbon leader. If there are larger trevally in the area 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 mullet at Canning Reserve
This is a great location to mullet a bread and butter species which school up in big numbers. They are fun to catch on light spinning gear and a great fish species to introduce beginners into fishing. Mullet respond well to berley, so berley an isolated area with a mix of bread, tuna oil and chook pellets.
Good baits include bread, dough, live maggots, pilchard, and prawn. remember that Mullet have small mouths so remember to cut these baits up into small pieces. You can also use soft plastics small minnow and grub style soft plastic with a slow constant retrieve. Scents such as S-Factor or Procure certainly helps.
Most mullet are quite small therefore a 7-foot rod in a 1-3 or 2-4 kilo class, paired with a 1000, 2000 or 2500 reel spooled with 2-6-pound braid and equivalent leader. Here are some helpful tips on catching Mullet with soft plastics.
Targeting Mulloway at Canning Reserve
Mulloway AKA Jewfish are a prized catch that sits on the top of many Victorian anglers bucket list. A stunning fish with a large mouth and distinctive silver or bronze colour. Patience and dedication are required to catch the elusive Mulloway which can reach up to 1.8 meters and 60 kilos. The minimum legal size is 60cm with a daily bag limit of 5 over legal size.
Live baits are a top choice when targeting mulloways such as mullet, salmon, and whiting. Pinning them behind the neck to allow the bait to swim freely. Other staple dead baits can include pilchard, trevally, garfish, prawns, chicken & squid. A running sinker rig to a single 5/0 – 8/0 hook or a double snelled hook to present the bait nicely. Soft plastics between 80mm and 100mm are also a great option. Good options include flick baits, shads, paddle tails and grubz. You can also purchase pre-made rigs and swimbaits which are designed to imitate a fish in its surrounding such as a mullet.
Choosing a Mulloway outfit Recommended gear to target Mulloway 6-10, 10-15 or 12-24 kilo rod paired with a 4000-8000 spin reel spooled with 20-50 pound line and equivalent leader.
Mulloway resides near river mouth entrances. They are often caught near structure such as bridges and pylons. Try to present your baits and lures as natural as possible or use live baits. Mulloway can be caught at any time of the day, but are most active at the night, during peak tides and moon phases. We have found that lures are quite productive during the day and bait more productive at night.
Targeting Snapper at Canning Reserve
We encourage you to read our detailed guide on how to catch snapper. Snapper season locally starts around October and finishes after March. The big reds migrate inshore during this time of year because water temperatures have increased providing ideal spawning conditions. With dawn and dusk are generally considered the best times to be on the water. The most common snapper rods are 7 foot 6 inches in length with a weight class of 4-7 kilos paired with a 4000 or 5000 size reel spooled with 15-30 pound braid or mono and 40 pound leader. You can choose to fish lighter or heavier. Recommended bait options include pilchards either full or half, silver whiting, squid, garfish, mackerel and mullet.
The best soft plastics are large jerk shads, whip baits, curl tails or paddle tails. Most between 4 and 7 inches in size generally coupled with a ½ or ¼ ounce jig head. Some good options include Savage Gear Fat Curl Tails, Daiwa Bait Junkie Jerk shads & Berkley 7 inch turtleback worm, Zman curl tails.
Images of fish supplied VFA and DEPI. All other images and videos shown on the Maribyrnong River Fishing Guide are Fishing Mad originals.
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