Wilderness fishing at its best
  |  First Published: October 2007

The Victorian township of Mallacoota is located just inside the NSW border in the far east of the state, on a stretch of coastline appropriately known as the Wilderness Coast. It is surrounded by Croajingolong National Park, which is one of the biggest parks on the coast.

It is roughly a six-hour drive from Melbourne and takes you past some of the state’s best fishing destinations such as Lakes Entrance and the Gippsland Lakes system. But drive on because Mallacoota provides a veritable angler’s paradise, providing for a range of different angling styles and experiences.

Fishing Offshore

Fishing offshore is seasonal, with the warm water over summer and autumn resulting in good catches of flathead. Some years, the fishing has produced yellowtail kingfish, yellowfin tuna and marlin, but it is very dependant on the ocean currents. Most anglers run the bar to gain access to the ocean delights, but sometimes the mouth is so closed off that beach launching is the only option. Make sure you check all the regulations and the bar conditions before you plan an offshore jaunt though.

Catches of squid and pinkie snapper are fairly consistent year round, but the best time for gummy sharks is over the winter months.

Beach fishing

Good gutters for surf fishing can be found anywhere from the entrance at Bastion Point, down to the Betka River mouth. The best time for the salmon and the bigger tailor is over the cooler months when large schools invade the beaches. Some of these fish are up to and over 2kg and can be caught fishing baits on standard paternoster rigs or by spinning when the southern ocean is not pounding too hard.

Gummy sharks and seven-gilled sharks are also caught around the same time of the year. The warmer months see some good catches of yellowfin bream and sand whiting on lighter gear by anglers using pipis for bait. These fish add variety to a great fishing option.

Lake fishing

The Mallacoota estuary system is huge, with plenty of water to get out there and explore. Professional fishing was banned around three years ago, and as a result there are plenty of fish. Having said that, they can still be hard to find.

Once you have put in the time and know this estuary there is no excuse for fishing on top of someone and ruining the Wilderness Coast experience. It is possible to fish all day and not see another boat – it is all part of the special appeal that Mallacoota has to offer.

The list of species commonly caught include black bream, yellowfin bream, dusky flathead, tailor, mulloway, King George whiting, sand whiting, trevally, snapper, luderick, garfish, estuary perch, mullet, salmon and gurnard. All of the fish listed can be caught all year-round, but naturally certain species are better in the cooler months while others are better in the warmer months.

The size of the fish available is also impressive with huge mulloway, bream, flathead, perch, tailor and trevally not uncommon. Both bait fisherman and lure fisherman have good success in this estuary, so get out there and give it a go.

Remember a fishing licence is necessary when fishing in Victoria, and check up on size and bag limits as inspectors are often out on the water making sure we can all enjoy the fishing for years to come.

Places to stay – Accommodation

There are five caravan parks in town, they are; Foreshore Caravan Park, Shady Gully Caravan Park, Harbor Lights Caravan Park, A’Wangralea Caravan Park and Beachcomber Caravan Park. Foreshore is the largest with over 1,000 sites available. Back towards Gypsy Point there is also a lodge on hand called the Wallagaraugh Retreat.

The Mallacoota Hotel offers accommodation with meals available. The town offers numerous other accommodation houses.

OTHER Things to do

People come to Mallacoota to soak in the wilderness experience. In addition to angling, the area offers bushwalking, swimming, surfing, kayaking and all the things related to the bush and ocean. For those wanting a game of golf there is an 18-hole golf course in town.

There are various tourism businesses operating on the lake system and on the ocean. Operating offshore is Wilderness Coast Ocean Charters offering sightseeing, whale watching and fishing. Wilderness River Cruises and MV Loch Ard both offer scenic lake charters/cruises and Porkie Bess offer fishing and scenic tours. Wilderness Fishing Tours offer lure fishing anywhere in the lake system.

Hire boats are available from Mallacoota Hire Boats and Bucklands Jetty Boat Hire.

All fishing charter operators are locals with a wealth of knowledge of the lake system and the local area.

For people travelling with a boat, there are three launching ramps into the lake, and the town ramp has excellent fish cleaning facilities. There is also an ocean ramp but it can be a bit precarious depending on sand build-up and ocean conditions.



Foreshore Caravan Park:(03) 5158 0300
Shady Gully Caravan Park:(03) 5158 0362
Harbor Lights Caravan Park:(03) 5158 0246
A’Wangralea Caravan Park:(03) 5158 0222
Beachcomber Caravan Park:(03) 5158 0233
Wallagarugh Retreat Caravan Park: (03) 5158 8211


Things to do

Wilderness Coast Ocean Charters:0417 398 068
Wilderness River Cruises:(03) 5158 8291
Porkie Bess:0408 408 094
MV Loch Ard:0418 615 282
Mallacoota Hire Boats:(03) 5158 0704
Bucklands Jetty Boat Hire:0428 580 660

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