Metro rivers come alive
  |  First Published: July 2012

Despite some unsavoury weather, Melbourne’s metropolitan rivers have come alive in recent weeks with a surge of activity in all three local systems.


Australian salmon and even a few tailor should continue to make their presence felt in the Yarra and Maribyrnong rivers over the coming month.

Lurking below the huge schools of yellow-eye mullet, pinkie snapper are expected to remain active in the lower reaches of the system and there’s always a chance of a mulloway at this time of year.

While bream have been patchy in the city, little more than half an hour down the road, the Werribee River has been showing some promising signs.


Setting out to fish the afternoon high tide change, James Laverty found a decent patch of pinkies in the shallows at Williamstown. Fishing alongside his mum and brother, they each managed a handful of fish to 35cm while casting worm pattern soft plastics on the drift in front of the football ground pavilion.

Fab Peda from Saltwater Fishing Charters says there’s still plenty of Australian salmon hanging around the Williamstown area. Some days they’ve been moving through the yacht club moorings and occasionally turning up within casting range of anglers perched on the nearby rock groins. Pinkie snapper and flathead have been taken amongst the salmon on the inshore reefs. Casting baitfish imitation soft plastics have been successful. Out wider, Dean Gregory managed a few gummy sharks on fresh squid. Some decent snapper marked up on the sounder, but they were reluctant to feed on this occasion.

A short sunset canoe-paddle produced several flathead to 43cm and a few pinkies for Colin Kneebone at Williamstown. A week later, Col was at it again, this time picking up more pinkies on baits of prawn and pipi amongst a berley mixture of old pilchards and bread.

Further east, some terrific bags of garfish are available from the piers across the top end of the bay. Those employing coarse angling methods have been most successful with light lines, sensitive floats, small hooks baited with maggots, and a consistent berley trail the way to go.

Following a period of strong wind and heavy rain, Peter Bekaj managed a thumping 65cm snapper from the jetty at Beaumaris. Pete tempted the sensational winter red with a fresh strip of salmon fillet.


A few larger than average flathead to 60cm have been taken in the shallows from Werribee South through to Campbells Cove. Drifting with flesh baits has been working well, although soft plastics and metal blades continue to account for many of the larger specimens.

Fishing from the beach at Werribee South, Brad Hodges was somewhat surprised to land a solid 55cm flathead while casting a metal vibe in search of bream.


Australian salmon have been patrolling the entrance to the Yarra River with some schools pushing well up into the Port of Melbourne. In fact, there’s more salmon in the metropolitan rivers than I’ve ever seen before, which indicates there must be plenty of bait, and no doubt, some larger predators cashing in on the smorgasbord.

Aaron Hassett and I found a few pinkie snapper willing to intercept worm pattern soft plastics in the lower reaches of the system. Further upriver, there’s plenty of mullet and smaller baitfish holding around the base of the Bolte Bridge. Salmon to 30cm have been moving through Victoria Harbour with the tide. Pinkie snapper to 45cm have also made their way up to Docklands. These fish are expected to mix with bream amongst the old wooden jetties and remain here through winter.

Ryan Scarborough says huge schools of salmon and small tailor have kept anglers entertained along the middle reaches of the Maribyrnong River. Masses of mullet have been pushed up as far as the Anglers Tavern, so now would be a good time to have a crack at a mulloway in this area. Pinkie snapper have been taken around the bait schools, but according to Ryan, bream have been a little scarce.

Following suit, big schools of bait have been congregating at the mouth of the Werribee River and the whisper is two juvenile mulloway were caught recently. Local land-based bream anglers have been doing well from the beach and jetty at Werribee South. Though many have been relatively small, some quality fish have been taken on live tube worms and Bass yabby. Those casting small diving minnows from a drifting boat have also been in the mix with bream to 38cm taken either side of high tide.


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