Welcome to the Werribee River Fishing Guide. The Werribee River stretches over 110 kilometres starting as a narrow entrance of Port Philip Bay opposite the Werribee south boat ramp. It spans past farmlands near the K-road cliffs and Werribee golf course, then passes through popular townships of Werribee. eventually reaching Melton where it joins part of Melton reservoir before again moving on towards townships of Bacchus Marsh and Ballan. Depending on which part you visit it can be great saltwater, estuary and freshwater location for fish. It’s most popular for fishing is around the K road entrance not far from the Werribee golf course where anglers will target bream or a prized mulloway and further upstream opposite the historic park near for estuary perch and redfin.

Things to do Werribee River

The Werribee River throughout provides nice scenic views. It’s a great spot to take a kayak or canoe, and certain areas are great for walking and hiking. But do be very careful this is well known for Tiger and Brown snakes. Parking is widely available a popular spot to park is above the K road cliffs and walking down the stairs to the river. Near the entrance of the river mouth, there are several local attractions including the Werribee Open Safari Zoo, The historic Werribee mansions and state rose garden which is brilliant towards the end of spring. There is also the national equestrian centre and golf course. The river then flows into Port Phillip Bay which is great for boating and fishing. 

This was filmed fishing above the Werribee River wire wall near the historic park catching estuary perch and redfin

Fishing the Werribee River

The Werribee River is a diverse fishing location. We would break the river up into 3 main sections which are all fished very differently.

  • The River entrance and cliffs
  • Above and below the weir wall estuary
  • The upper freshwater

First, you have the river entrance starting at the Werribee South boat ramp and running past the K-road cliffs into the township of Werribee. Here you can target bream, mulloway, salmon, mullet, trevally, flathead and flounder. Soft plastics, shallow diving hard body lures and crab imitations work well here. This is a challenging stretch of river to fish, its quite shallow with occasional deeper pools and does take some time to master. We have done well-running plastics and shallow diving lures slowly along the edges and reeds.

The next section runs from the township of Werribee past Bungie’s hole, Presidents Park and beyond the weir wall. This is a popular spot for land-based fishing and kayak fishing. here you can target estuary perch, bass, redfin, carp and very infrequent catches of Murray Cod. With lures and baits. The big highlight of this area is targeting EP’s and Bass with surface lures.

And finally, as you move well beyond the weir wall the system becomes freshwater where you can target redfin, brown trout, perch, carp and blackfish. Spanning from Werribee, and past Melton, Bacchus Marsh and Ballan.

If you plan on fishing with baits then the humble scrub worm to be a very effective bait for saltwater and freshwater species in particular bream, redfin or perch in this area. The water can be muddy and murky and a bait that has similar colour fishes well. Other baits that also work well include sandworms, pilchard strips, prawns, mussels, yabbies, raw chicken strips and maggots. Have a read of our detailed guide on how to catch bream with bait.

Fish can be caught any time of day, the mullet often get a little more aggressive on sunrise and sundown. We highly recommend using an ultralight spin rod. Starting with a 1–3 or 2-4 kilo capacity rod coupled with a 1000, 2000 or 2500 size reel. The reel should be spooled with light line 4 to 6-pound braid finished with a rod length of 4-pound leader would be our preference. This would make a great and sensitive outfit to feel the bites and inquiries of timid bream and mullet.

Soft plastics, shallow diving hard body lures and Blades are great in this area, where you can accurately cast your lure of choice very close to structure and strike zone. Be prepared to get snagged up occasionally but the Werribee river has an immense structure that is home to many Bream.  Some of the best options include grub style soft plastics such as Z-man grubZ, squidgy wrigglers and Savage Gear pro grubs. Minnow imitation style soft plastics such as Z-man slim swimZ, Savage Gear slim minnows. My favourite in the warmer months when bream are sitting in the edges are shallow diving hard body lures such as EcoGear SX Range, Daiwa Double-clutch, Jackall Chubby, Atomic Hardz, Savage fathead cranks. Blades and Vibes also work well but prone to weed making them at times not quite as effective.

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.

Things change significantly if you plan on targeting Mulloway. You are more likely to catch these during the night or right on Sundown to Sunlight when predatory fish are on the move. Targeting Mulloway requires significantly stronger fishing gear ready to tackle a fish with immense power that can grow over a meter in length. Good baits for Mulloway include live mullet, salmon and whiting. With them carefully being rigged behind the back of the neck to allow the bait to swim freely or like a wounded fish. Dead baits can include pilchard, trevally, garfish, prawns, chicken & squid.

Soft plastics and that are generally larger then 70mm are a great starting point. Squidgies between 80mm and 100mm are good options here. We also recommend using natural coloured flick baits, shads, paddle tails and grubz are top choices, you can also purchase pre-made rigs such as slick rigs. Swimbaits are becoming increasingly popular and a great choice. Swimbaits are larger large designed to completely imitate a fish in its surrounding such as a mullet. Only 2 fishing lines permitted, Always carry your Victorian fishing license, and always follow catch limits. Where possible we encourage catch and release.

Werribee Boat and Kayak Access

Werribee is a wonderful location for boat and kayak access. Firstly there is the main boat ramp facility on Diggers road. Launching is now free. The boat ramp has multiple launching lanes, toilet facilities and fish cleaning tables. There are 6 launching lanes with dredging access out into port Phillip bay or the Werribee river. There are roughly 90 parking locations for both cars and trailers. The boat ramp is reasonably maintained but at times can have lots of weed making access a little slippery.

There is plenty of access for kayakers, this can be done at the boat ramp on any of the main beaches. Or you may launch between the old jet ski launch facility or along Wyndham Rockwall. Campbell’s Cove is close by and one of the most popular kayak launch facilities in the area. You can also launch a kayak near bungies hole opposite the Werribee angling club. There is also jetty access along the Werribee Riverbend historic park walking track.

Recommended baits Werribee River

  • yabbies
  • Scrub worms
  • sandworms
  • maggots
  • mussels
  • pilchards
  • prawns
  • Corn

Recommended lures and soft plastics Werribee River

Targeting Bream at Werribee River

Bream

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.

Why not have a look at our detailed video on the best lures and soft plastics to use when fishing the Werribee River. Or our detailed guide on catching bream with lures.

Targeting Mulloway at Werribee River

Mulloway

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 Estuary Perch at Werribee River

Estuary Perch

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 Redfin at Werribee River

Redfin

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 Werribee River

Bass

Bass pound for pound they 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 Carp at Werribee River

Carp

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 of our detailed guide to carp fishing around Victoria. When targeting carp standard baits such as corn, bread, maggots work great for carp here. Using a simple running sinker rig with a pea-size sinker works great in this area. So, does suspending 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. Which means spotting a nearby carp and casting right in there are and working the lure of plastic slowly hoping they will strike. Its 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 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 particularity 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.

Running sinker fishing rig

If your getting snagged up than you can also use a flot 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 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.

Float fishing rig

Targeting Murray Cod at Werribee River

Murray Cod

Murray Cod is Australia’s largest freshwater fish that grows to impressive sizes. Cod are an ambush predator 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 Mullet at Werribee River

Mullet

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 is 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.

Known Hazards along the Werribee River

There are highly venomous snakes along the Werribee River. We recommend wearing strong boots, and solid fabric pants. I have seen countless tiger snakes, brown snakes and the odd red-bellied snake in this area. A little while ago I was walking my dog near the Werribee wier wall and had a close encounter with a large tiger snake. If you have kids don’t let them wander off and keep an eye on them. Also, the mouth of the river is close to the sewage treatment centre opposite the Werribee Zoo. So do be careful of touching the water and eating fish in that immediate area.

Acknowledgements

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

Additions and corrections of this location

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