Dredging discolours metro rivers
  |  First Published: August 2015

Major dredging works at Werribee South have been operating over the past month in order to create a deeper and wider boating channel and therefore provide safer access to and from Port Phillip Bay.

Sections of the beach at the entrance to the river either side of, and including, the main jetty have been roped off whilst a cutter suction dredge and various other earth moving machinery has been operating. Dredged material in the form of sand and mud is being deposited along the adjacent foreshore area north east of the channel. Weather permitting, it is anticipated the works should be completed this month, but last month, it seemed there is a fair amount of work still to do.


The gummy sharks just keep on coming at Werribee South. Anchoring in 10-12m of water, Robert Gubeljak and his son, Troy, and daughter, Krystal, picked up some fine table fare, including gummies to 4.5kg and plenty of flathead up to 45cm, which is terrific sport for this time of year. Rob says squid heads and half pilchard baits amongst a berley trail did the job on the gummies, though plenty of undesirables also took a liking to these offerings with more than half a dozen banjos (southern fiddler rays) and Port Jackson sharks caught and released.

Speaking with other anglers at the cleaning benches at Werribee South, it seems flathead have been a common catch of late, particularly for those drifting flesh baits and paddle-tailed soft plastics across the bottom in 10m plus of water.

Further around at Point Cook, small to medium size squid have also been taken with a reasonable degree of consistency, in 4-6m of water just out from the abandoned jetty.


Reasonable catches of squid also continue to be taken out from Apex Park at Altona on the rising tide especially. Those casting small to medium size jigs from pedal powered kayaks have been amongst the action of late.

Jonathan Balfour and Lauren Asciak ventured out off Williamstown in search of pinkie snapper on the nearby shallow reef areas. While clear cold water conditions made it tough going at times, a few juveniles were taken on worm pattern soft plastics either side of a mid-morning high tide, but according to Jonno, they were very timid and mostly just plucking at the tails. Snook to 40cm or thereabouts and a few squid rounded out a good session on the water.

Backing up a week later, Jonno managed a good feed of flathead to 48cm along with a few more undersize pinkies. While some promising signs were marked on the sounder along the 6m line, unfortunately bites were not forthcoming of this occasion.

The boys from Hooked on Bait and Tackle report pinkie snapper to 1kg, with the odd larger snapper to 4kg plus, have been taken at Williamstown on pilchard. First and last light is undoubtedly your best bet, but expect the shallow water action to pick up under overcast conditions and both during and immediately following a strong onshore blow.


Fishing has remained consistent in the lower reaches of Melbourne’s metropolitan rivers throughout the winter months with bream, yellow-eye mullet and school mulloway the mainstay, amongst pinkie snapper and Australian salmon, which tend to come and go with tides.

Key target areas include the moored yachts and jetty pylons at Williamstown, the dense timber structure at Port Melbourne and either side of the river below the West Gate Bridge. Further upriver at Docklands, bream to 32cm as well as the odd larger specimen have been taken on crab imitations cast hard up against the jetty pylons and floating pontoons.

Mulloway continue to be taken with relative frequency in both the Yarra and Maribyrnong Rivers, particularly for those putting in the hours with live baits under the cover of darkness. Those pitching larger profile soft plastics, blades and lipless cranks at the bridge pylons have also been turning up some quality mulloway to 80cm and sometimes beyond. Whispers of a few mulloway taken in recent times exceeding the magic metre mark have been doing the rounds and I wouldn’t be surprised to hear of (or hopefully witness) a few more of this calibre before the year is out.

It has been tough going in recent times on the Werribee River, particularly when the dredger has been operating at the mouth of the system. By contrast to the norm, the rising tide has seen dirty discoloured water (as a result of the dredging) make its way upriver and the resident bream don’t seem to like it at all. A few fish have been taken over the past weeks up around the K-Road cliff area, but it’s generally been a tough slog for both bait and lure anglers alike. Hopefully the fishing will kick back into gear once the work concludes and conditions settle.


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