Welcome to the Tarwin River Fishing Guide. The Tarwin River is a nice fishing and kayaking destination 2 hours drive or 150 kilometres from Melbourne. Located within the South Gippsland next to the township of Inverloch. The river feeds Andersons Inlet and runs through the township or Tarwin. It offers scenic views and nice walking and cycling trails. The inlet is a flat muddy shallow system full of mangroves. There is plenty of fish in this estuary system providing a great all year round fishing location that offers a wide range of fish species to target. There are a couple of boat launching areas one located in Inverloch and the other at Maher’s landing.
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Things to do at Tarwin River
The Tarwin River is a shallow estuary in South Gippsland Victoria next to the township of Inverloch. There is ample parking at the beach entrance. This is a popular spot for fishing, hiking and cycling and local attractions include the Screw Creek Nature Trail and the Bass Coast Rail Trail. There are also nearby parks including the Coastal Reserve and Bunurong Marine Coastal Park. There are beautiful views and active wildlife including being home to a large volume of native birds.
Fishing at Tarwin River
The Tarwin River stretches for 82 kilometres and has different species to target depending on where you are fishing. The section of Andersons inlet near the river mouth is considered an estuary and here you can catch estuary perch, mullet and bream. Closer to the mouth entrance you can also catch trevally and salmon in good numbers, and od catches of flathead and pinky snapper. As you move further up the river it becomes freshwater and here you can target redfin, trout, carp and eels. Historically rainbow trout were stocked in the upper reaches but this hasn’t happened now for some time. In recent years 7 scattered fishing platforms have been built to provide great access for land base fishing and great kayak fishing access.
In our experience, this is a great fishery primarily for estuary perch and we have caught some good size ones in there over the years. Catches can be inconsistent one day dead quiet and the next time plenty of action. Good gear selection here would include a 1-3 or 2-4 kilo fishing rod coupled with a 1000, 2000 or 2500 size reel spooled with 4-8-pound braid and equivalent fluorocarbon leader. Effective fishing techniques include trolling hard-bodied lures and casting hard-bodied lures, soft plastics and surface lures along the shallows and banks. We would highly recommend when fishing here concentrate your time and effort casting lures towards and suspending baits hard up against the visible structure and depth changes. Many of the largest fish are often caught amongst the reeds and visible timber. The trick here is to present a lure or bait and tempt the bigger ones out of the structure they are residing in for a reaction strike.
You can launch your boat from the Inverloch boat ramp with 2 launching lanes and a paved car park at Inverloch which provides nice launching facilities.
At the Tarwin River, you can catch
- estuary perch
- river blackfish
If fishing with bait then great options include yabbies and tube worms. Soft plastics and shallow diving hard body lure also work a treat.
Targeting salmon check out this crazy bust-up that our team stumbled upon
If you fishing with lures then we would highly recommend a light spinning outfit. A 2-4 kilo graphite spin rod coupled with a 2000 or 2500 size reel is perfect. Then spool the reel with a quality 8-pound braid and 1-rod length of 8-pound fluorocarbon leader. It means should you happen to get a strike from a mulloway then you have your work cut out for you, but this is the perfect setup for most of the species that you’ll be catching. Winter is a great time to fish in this area with big schools of salmon moving into the entrance. Trolling metal spoons or hard body lures on a boat or kayak is a great way to locate the schools. Winter is also a good time for fishing as the inlet isn’t cram-packed full of people on holidays.
Baits Tarwin River
- scrub worms
Lures and soft plastics for Tarwin River
- Daiwa Bait Junkie 2.5 inch grub
- Zman slim Swimz
- Daiwa Baitjunkie 5 inch jerk shads
- Berkley gulp turtleback worm
- Savage Gear Fat Curl tails
- Daiwa Bautjunkie 4 inch grubs
- Berkley powerbait grub
- Gulp 3 inch minnow
- Daiwa Bait Junkie paddle tail minnow
- Zman grubZ
- eco gear ZX40
- Daiwa Double Clutch
- EcoGear SX40
- Squidges biotough grub
- Zman StreakZ
- Munroes 3.75 inch paddle tails
- Kietech swim impact fat
- Zerek fish trap
- Samaki Vibelicious
Targeting Estuary Perch at Tarwin 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 feet in length. Coupled with a 2500 size reel either a float or small running sinker to a swivel and very fine leader.
Targeting Trevally at Tarwin River
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 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 Bream at Tarwin 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 you are targeting bream with bait then 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.
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.
Targeting Salmon at Tarwin River
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, vigorous head shakes. Do keep an eye out for gutters which are patches of deeper water that Salmon will swim through in schools. These can be identified by the darker colour of the water. When bait fishing pick a surf rod between 12-15 feet in length which allows for long casts with heavy sinkers and to keep your lines high above the crashing surf. These will be 6-10 kilo class. We recommend a Paternoster rig with a star sinker. Giving you 2 baits at different heights. You could also attach a surf popper above. When lure fishing first consider what weight lures you are likely to be casting. We would recommend rods between 9-12 feet in length in 5-10 kilo class paired with a 3000 size reel spooled with 15-pound braid. Good lure options include Savage Gear Missile, Halco twisty, Ecogear Teibo, JM Gilles pilchard baitfish, Rapala X-Rap SXR, Lazer spoons, Zman slim swimz, trick swimz, Halco laser pro
Targeting Snapper at Tarwin River
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. 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 are 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.
Targeting Flathead at Tarwin River
We encourage you to read our detailed guide on How to catch Flathead. Flathead is a year-round prospect that can be caught at any time of the day. They are an ambush predator that waits in disguise for smaller fish to swim by for an easy feed. This highlights the importance of keeping your baits and soft plastics towards the bottom. If fishing from a boat or kayak we would recommend drifting around the sandy flats until you find a good patch of them. Also, keep an eye for depth drop-offs which is a great location for an ambush predator to be waiting. We recommend targeting flathead with a 7 foot 2–4 or 3-5 kilo fishing rod paired with a 2500 or 3000 size reel spooled with 8-12lb braid and equivalent leader. You can go lighter, but flathead has bristly teeth that can compromise your fishing line.
Flathead is not fussy and will happily have a go at many various soft plastics and lures. We would highly recommend reading our detailed guide on the best lures and soft plastics to catch flathead. Top choices include worm and yabby imitations, paddle tail soft plastic, curl tail soft plastics, deep diving hard body lures, vibes, swimbaits, and blades. If you are targeting flathead with bait, we recommend using a paternoster rig or running sinker rig. Use a small ball sinker to swivel, then 50cm of 8-12 leader to a size 6 long shank hook. Good baits choices include pilchards, mussels, squid, chicken, whitebait, Pipis, blue bait and prawns.
Images of fish supplied VFA and DEPI. All other images and videos shown on the Tarwin River Fishing Guide are Fishing Mad originals.
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