Welcome to the Australian Salmon Fishing Guide Victoria. Australian Salmon are a great sports fish to target on light spinning gear. They are generally more active in the colder months however in recent times they are also showing up in big numbers in Spring. They may not be the biggest fish but you will certainly know when you have hooked one. Salmon are powerful and will go on long fast and aggressive runs putting on an aerial display as they jump out of the water trying to spit the hook. They’re great fish to target with bait, metal spoons, and plastics.
They will school up in huge numbers chasing baitfish. If you happen to stumble upon a huge school then look out as the fishing action is frantic. Salmon can be caught at any time of the day but are more active in the colder winter months. Typically considered not to be a good eating fish and often used for cat food. However many anglers will argue if there bled properly when caught that they can be very good to eat. Australian Salmon is very different from the Atlantic Salmon that we are used to eating in restaurants.
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Australian Salmon Facts & Catch Limits
- The scientific name is Arripis spp
- The minimum legal size is 21cm
- The daily bag limit of 20 over the legal size.
- Salmon vary in size when fishing small estuary systems you can stumble upon large schools which are quite small in size.
- However, in the bay and surf, you can catch them much bigger typical catches between 35-55cm and sometimes bigger.
Best time to catch Salmon ( Seasons )
In Victoria, Salmon are generally caught in the cooler months. However, we still stumbled upon big schools in the bay in spring and Summer. They are a strange species that school up in huge numbers that show up at the most random occasions.
How to catch Salmon
Please read our detailed guide on how to catch salmon around Victoria. Australian Salmon are pelagic fish that school up in massive numbers. The great thing about salmon is they can be caught whilst fishing land-based on a pier, jetty, Rockwall, or from a surf beach. There also commonly found in the bay when fishing on a boat, kayak, or jetski. They will happily take a variety of baits, soft plastics, and lures. I generally always have a spare soft plastic rod in my arsenal ready to go just in case a school randomly shows up. I generally have that pre-rigged with a 3-inch paddle tail or a 4-inch worm imitation.
They are commonly found in all our bays. If you’re in the bay or estuary looking for breaking water or lots of birdlife gathering in one spot, this is a great sign that schools of salmon are in the immediate area. If you are targeting salmon in the surf then take some time to look for gutters and deeper pools in the water.
Check out this video one of the biggest schools of salmon we have ever seen is an amazing video.
Rod & Reel Setup for Australian Salmon ( Gear Guide )
There are numerous ways to target Australian Salmon therefore, your gear selection will vary greatly. When it comes to selecting a rod and reel suitable for Australian Salmon we recommend
General Salmon fishing | Light spin rod around 7 feet in length in 2-4, or 3-5 kilo class paired with a 2500 size reel. Spooled with 8-12 pound braid and an equivalent fluorocarbon leader.
Salmon Lure Fishing at Beach or Surf | Medium Rod between 9 and 12 feet in length in a 4-6, 6-8, or 8-10 kilo class. We prefer a 10 foot 6-8 kilo rod which is light enough to be able to cast all day and enjoy the battle. Yet heavy enough to cast heavy metal slugs without worrying that the rod tip might break.
Salmon Bait Fishing in the Surf | Long fishing rod between 10-14 feet in length. We like surf fishing with 12-foot rods which keep the line above breaking waves and allow us to cast long distances. Pair the rod with a 4000 to 5000-size reel spooled with a 12-pound monofilament line.
There are 2 bait rigs we like to use the first is a paternoster rig with a large star sinker. Star sinkers keep your baits and line in one spot rather than being crushed by incoming waves. The other rig is a running sinker to a swivel. Then 20-pound leader and size 4 circle hook or double-snelled hooks.
As shown in the image below. This gives you 2 separate baits at different heights. You could also attach a surf popper if you wanted to further increase your chances.
Another great variation is to present 1 full bait with double-snelled hooks. This rig is perfect when your target multiple species such as salmon, mulloway, and gummy sharks
Check out this video taking beginners out to learn the basics of kayak fishing and then stumbled upon a big school of hungry salmon.
Best Salmon Baits
Our best bait recommendations include oily strip and chunk baits. This can be in chunks or fillets including Salmon, Mackerel, trevally, and Pilchards are great options. The are several ways to present baits for salmon. Depending on where you are fishing this could be a dropper rig, paternoster rig, and running sinker rig. The rig choice will be dependent on where you are fishing and the conditions such as tidal strength. Where possible fish with as little weight. When land-based you may need a heavy sinker to cast out as far as you can.
Good baits for Australian salmon include
- blue bait
Best Salmon Soft Plastics
Australian Salmon find soft plastics irresistible. Target them with 3 to 5 inch paddle tail soft plastics, grub, and minnow-style soft plastics in natural colors that mimic a baitfish which is what they actively feed on.
- Zman 3-inch minnowz ( purple death colour )
- Berkley 4 inch turtleback worm
- Keitech easy shiners
- Zman grubs
- Munroes 4-inch curltail
- Zman slim swimz
Best Salmon Lures
Metal spoons are a good primary choice when targeting salmon on lures. They come in a huge range of colors and sizes and your choice will depend on where your fishing, how far you need to cast, and the water depth. Eg if you are fishing in the surf a larger and heavier metal spoon would be best so you can cast further out. All range from 20 to 60 grams in weight to provide long casting distances. When lure fishing cast as far as you can then use a steady medium-paced retrieve which will get the attention of an aggressive salmon. They also respond well to long-casting hard-body minnows in natural bait-looking colors.
- DUO Tetra Works JIG 7G ( PHA0011 )
- Halco Twisty
- Savage Gear missiles
- Maria Mucho Lucir
- EcoGear Teibo jig
- JM Gilles pilchard baitfish
- Rapala X-Rap SXR
- Lazer spoons
- Halco laser pro
Best Locations to catch Salmon
Great locations to target Australian Salmon includes
- Port Phillip Bay
- Western Port
- Gunnamatta surf beach
- Kilcunda Beach
- Jan Juc Beach
- Black Rock
- Anderson inlet
- Portsea Pier
- Sorrento Pier
- Blairgowrie Pier
- Dromana Pier
- Mount Martha Rocks
- Mornington Pier
- Frankston Pier
- Patterson River
- West Gate Bridge
- Mordialloc Pier
- Beaumaris Pier
- The Warmies
- Altona Pier
- Cunningham Pier
- Portarlington Pier
- St Leonards Pier
- Point Lonsdale Pier
- Cape Woolamai
- Hastings Pier
- Kerferd Road pier
- Yarra River
- Mordialloc creek
You can obtain a free Victorian recreational fishing guide from the Victorian Fisheries Authorities.
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