Welcome to the Melton Reservoir Fishing Guide. Melton Reservoir AKA Exford Weir runs from the Werribee River. It was built in 1916 as a water irrigation supply for local farmlands and was upgraded in the 1930s and again around 1990. Melton is roughly 35 kilometres or 30 minutes from Melbourne. This once a small country township was originally known as a thoroughbred country, but recent rapid population booms have this growing township modernised with a harness racing track, wave pool, parks and shopping centre. It does surprisingly have a lot of freshwater locations for anglers to try. On school holidays several of the lakes are stocked regularly with trout making them great spots to take the kids for a fish. Melton is also part of future native fish stocking programs making it an excellent fishery in years to come.
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Checkout our detailed video of kayak fishing at Melton Reservoir
Things to do at Melton
Most spots in Melton are very kid-friendly with a range of swings, walking tracks and running areas. Navan Park is a terrific spot to take kids who can play on the large adventure playground and feed the ducks. The lakes are generally topped up with rainbow trout each school holiday break so it’s a great spot for kids. Local attractions include Tabcorp Park harness racing centre, Woodgrove shopping centre, Melton Valley Golf club, Melton botanic gardens, Hannah Watts Park, The cinemas, The Willows, and Woodlea playground. You can also go for a short drive to the neighbouring townships of Eynesbury and Bacchus Marsh.
Fishing Melton Reservoir
Melton Reservoir is a fascinating system. The best access is via Clarkes road beyond the Metlon Gun Club. You can drive down the dirt track and park near the water’s edge. We would advise parking at the entrance unless you have a 4WD. Periodically the road entrance has been closed due to new housing developments. It’s a strange location that has a long history of litter and car dumping which is a shame as its potential as a family-friendly fishing destination has never been truly explored. There are no basic onsite facilities such as toilets or picnic tables which is a real oversight by local councils.
However the fishing here is excellent and Melton Reservoir has a healthy population of redfin, estuary perch, bass, carp, tench & goldfish. In recent years it has also been heavily stocked with native fish species including Murray Cod, Silver Perch and Golden Perch. In fact, 1,800 Murray cod were stocked into Melton Reservoir in 2019 and more stocked into Navan Park in early 2020. The stocking of native species will grow in this area in due time.
Below you can see the fish which have been stocked here in 2022. However, Melton has received a total of 112,300 fish stocked over the past 10 years. We are really hoping that the cod will take to this system.
The best way to fish melton Reservoir is with a kayak or tinny. Especially if you have a sounder and can mark up schools of perch. We have caught many redfin up to 50cm in this area. The depths vary and perch will often sit right on those drop-offs. Please note that there are restricted areas in which you cannot fish as this is owned by the Melton Runabout and Speed Boat club. These boats will come through at very fast speeds so you will want to make sure you stay out of their way. You can also fish on the banks with baits or walk the banks flicking soft plastics and lures.
As cod and perch numbers slowly grow in this system another successful technique for catching is trolling lures such as spinnerbaits, Tassie devils and double clutches at the back of your boat or kayak. Electric motors work great for this and the reduced noise will help increase catch rates. Generally, we are trolling with 2 rods out the back motoring along between 2.5 and 3.5 kilometres. This works well for cod, bass and the perch here.
The township of Melton has other freshwater fishing options including Navan Park Reservoir, West lakes and Darlingsford lake. These are choc-full of carp but also hold a good population of redfin and are stocked regularly with trout Victorian trout stocking guide. If you are fishing with bait then scrub worms, powerbait, yabbies, and mudeye are great options either suspended from a float or running sinker rig. Flicking lures can be challenging as the shallow areas are full of weed and grass so you need to cast beyond those areas to have any success. Soft plastics and spinners are also fantastic options. We encourage you to read our detailed guide on the best lures & plastics when targeting Redfin. Shallow diving hard body lures such as bullet lures, Daiwa double-clutch, Rapala Countdown series and Savage gear minnows are also excellent choices.
Watch our detailed video guide on our top 10 redfin lures below
Recommended baits Melton Reservoir
- Scrub worms
Recommended lures Melton Reservoir
- 3 inch soft plastics with jig spinners attached
- Zman 3 inch minnows
- Bluefox spinners
- Daiwa Bait Junkie 2.5 inch grub
- Savage Gear minnow blade
- 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 Redfin at Melton Reservoir
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 Estuary Perch at Melton Reservoir
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 are an excellent choice. These imitate small baitfish that 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 with 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 feet 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 feet in length. Coupled with a 2500 size reel either a float or small running sinker to a swivel and very fine leader.
Targeting Yellowbelly at Melton Reservoir
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 reliable stump jumpers, spinnerbaits, bassman spinners, and 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 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 Melton Reservoir
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 Carp at Melton Reservoir
There is a large volume of carp in local lakes however they are fun to catch and you can learn more about catching carp have a read our detailed guide to carp fishing around Victoria. When targeting carp standard baits such as corn, bread, and maggots work great for carp here. Using a simple running sinker rig with a pea-size sinker works great in this area. So, do suspend baits using a float. We have also fished well using unweighted baits. You can also target carp with hard body lures and soft plastics. This is a difficult technique that generally 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 tough but very rewarding when you catch a carp using this method. Most however will stick to targeting them with bait.
For rod selection, a 3-5 kilo rod coupled with a 4000 size reel is very suitable. You could even fish a little heavier with rods designed for snapper that are generally 4-7 kilo 7 foot in length. For fun, I have caught some monster size carp using a 2-4 kilo rod and 6-pound braid. But I am prepared to lose some good fish in the process. 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. Always carry your Victorian fishing license.
A simple yet effective fishing rig here 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 using 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. Melton has always been a great hunting ground for snakes, so in the warmer months always be wary of Tiger Snakes, Brown snakes and Red-belly. Wearing protective footwear in the middle of summer is a good idea.
Swimming, camping, boating and open fires are prohibited. 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 and stocking information supplied VFA and DEPI. All other images and videos shown on the Melton Fishing Guide are Fishing Mad originals.
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