Welcome to the Estuary Perch Fishing Guide. Ep’s are a great surface sports fish often mistaken for the Australian Bass. They are enjoyable to catch with lures and ultra-light spinning gear. Especially when using surface lures waiting for those boof moments.

Estuary perch have been heavily stocked in recent years. This will only increase due to state government initiatives to align with our 10 million by 2022 which is great news for local anglers. This means they can be found in many rivers, lakes, and estuaries across the state. EP’s love structure and rock walls and targeting them with ultralight gear with surface styles lures is an amazing form of fishing.


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Estuary Perch Facts & Catch Limits

  • Australian Bass has the scientific name of Macquaria colonorum
  • The minimum legal size is 27 cm
  • They can grow up to 70cm but most often you’ll be catching them between 25 and 35cm.
  • The daily bag limit is 5 over the legal size.
  • At FishingMad we highly recommend catch and release.

Best time to catch Estuary Perch ( Seasons )

In Victoria, Australian Bass can be caught most of the year. However, they are more active in Summer and Autumn. They are often best targeted at Dawn/Dusk. 

Estuary Perch Fishing Calendar

How to catch Estuary Perch

Estuary Perch is a wonderful species and thanks to recent stocking programs they are becoming more widely available in Victoria and Australia. Estuary Perch or EPs love structure and getting your lures deep into the strike zone is key to catching them consistently. Catching EPs on top water with surface lures truly is one of the best fishing methods available. With surface, lures mix up your retrieval techniques. Perch generally like them worked back fast and erratically creating splashes and surface movement but sometimes long pauses may also be required. Some of our best catches have come by just letting a surface lure sit on the surface or even a continuous slow roll.

Fishing for Estuary Perch requires finesse and control of the target structure. Therefore your best option is an ultralight fishing combo. We recommend a 1-3 or 2-4 kilo graphite spin rod around 7 feet in length. Coupled with a 1000, 2000, or 25000 size reel spooled with 4-8 pound line and 1 rod length of 4 – 8 pound fluorocarbon leader. When bait fishing uses a 2-4 kilo rod that’s around 7 feet in length. Coupled with a 2500-size reel either a float or small running sinker to a swivel and a very fine leader.

Often Estuary Perch are more active right between dawn and dusk than through the night. During the day they will often seek shelter deep within the local structure.

Watch the video below which highlights the importance of getting lures right amongst the snags and edges when targeting bass and estuary perch.

Rod & Reel Setup for Estuary Perch ( Gear Guide )

Estuary Perch Fishing requires a combination of finesse and power. Finesse works lightly lures but has the power to pull these aggressive fish out of the structure. When it comes to selecting a rod and reel suitable we recommend

Bass fishing with lures and soft plastics | Light spin rod between 6 and 7 feet in length in 2-4kg, 2-5kg, or 3-5kg paired with a 2500-size reel. Spooled with 8-12 pound braid and an equivalent fluorocarbon leader.

Bass fishing with bait  | Spin rod around 7 feet in length in a 2-4 or 3-5 kilo class. Coupled with a 2500 or 3000 size reel spooled with 8-12 pound braid and an equivalent fluorocarbon leader.

Best Baits to Catch Estuary Perch

Bait Choices

Our best bait recommendations include maggots, scrub worms, and yabbies. They will also take small flesh baits presented on a running sinker rig. Where possible fish with as little weight. When land-based you may need a heavy sinker to cast out as far as you can.

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

Thread a small running sinker through the mainline shown in blue, around 8 pounds. Then tie a small swivel to the end allowing the sinker to run up the mainline freely. On the other end of the swivel tie, 50cm of 8-pound fluorocarbon leader is shown in grey. Then finish with a size 6-8 bait keeper hook.

Running sinker fishing rig


Best Soft Plastics to Catch Estuary Perch

Soft Plastics

EP’s will also happily take crab and yabbie imitations, grubs, worm imitations, curly tails, paddle tails, and minnow imitations. We generally would have 1/12 through to 1/48 jig heads in a 1/0 size. Take your time when rigging and make sure the plastic is on straight, this improves the plastic action.

  • Munroes 2.75 paddle tail ( glass monkey )
  • Daiwa Bait Junkie 2.5 inch grub
  • Pro lure live yabby
  • Kietech crazy flapper
  • Zman slim Swimz
  • Damiki Monster Miki 2.5 sp
  • Berkley powerbait grub
  • Zman 2.5 inch grub
  • Dawia Bait Junkie paddle tail minnow
  • Squidges biotough grub
  • Dawia Bait Junkie paddle tail minnow
  • Squidges biotough grub


Best Lures to Catch Estuary Perch

Lure Choices

Estuary Perch love lures and the options available to target them are almost endless. They are especially fun to catch on surface lures and will hit a topwater lure as hard as any local fish species. Other good options include deep diving hard body lures, Vibes, and Blades. For jig head selection it’s a good idea to have multiple weights and sizes with you. This way you can adjust based on the current strength and weather conditions.

  • Jackall Micro Tappy
  • Tiemco Cicada
  • Storm Gomoku Popper
  • Shimano BT Bait Bantam
  • DSTYLE Reserve Minnow
  • Berkley Pro-Tech 60mm Suspending Jerkbait
  • Savage Gear 3D Cicada
  • Jackall Micro Pompadour
  • OSP bent minnows
  • Savage Gear Fathead shallow diving crank
  • Tiemco TT Pencil
  • Daiwa Dr Minnow Joint 5F
  • Daiwa Slippery Dog
  • nories laydown minnows
  • Daiwa Presso minnows
  • Rapala countdown floating minnow
  • Daiwa Double Clutch
  • eco gear ZX40
  • Rapala Countdown Minnow
  • Jackall Chubby

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

Best Estuary Perch Fishing Hot Spots locations in Victoria

Great locations include

  • Maribyrnong River
  • Bemm River
  • Werribee River
  • Melton Reservoir
  • Albert Park
  • Devilbend Reservoir
  • Erskine River
  • Moonee Ponds Creek
  • Mitchell River
  • Yarra River
  • Patterson River
  • Marlo
  • Lake Tyers
  • Hopkins River
  • Mallacoota
  • Gippsland Lakes
  • Nicholson River
  • Mordialloc Creek
  • Tambo River

You can obtain a free Victorian recreational fishing guide from the Victorian Fisheries Authorities weblink

If you feel this Estuary Perch Fishing Guide fish species guide is missing key information or needs any corrections. Then please let us know by emailing our team at enquiries@fishingmad.com.au with specific details in the email. Thank you