Upper Coliban Reservoir
This is a long, narrow Basin with one main river and several large reservoirs in the south which provide most of the fishing. The southern end of the Basin is located on the northern slopes of the Great Dividing Range at an altitude of 800 m. The Campaspe River originates here and then flows into the northern flat alluvial plains of the Murray Valley.
Mean annual rainfall in the Great Dividing Range is 1,000 mm but decreases to 400-500 mm near the Murray River. Soils in the hills in the southern end of the Basin vary from sedimentary and granitic origin to volcanic along the Campaspe River valley upstream of Lake Eppalock. Land use along the Campaspe River valley is all grazing or cropping with scattered patches of woodland, particularly around Lake Eppalock, and a small area of forest around Daylesford and Woodend, in the far south of the Basin.
Salinity levels recorded in the Coliban and Campaspe Rivers just upstream from Lake Eppalock vary from 300-1,000 EC. The Campaspe River, downstream of the Campaspe Siphon at Rochester, has brackish surface water up to 3,000 EC and saline water up to 14,500 EC in the bottom of pools.
Fishing Opportunities and Access Maps
Freshwater Fish in the Basin
- (Large fish): Golden perch, Murray cod, Murray spiny crayfish, #Macquarie perch, silver perch and trout cod
- (Small fish): Australian smelt, blackfish, flathead gudgeon, mountain galaxias, *trout galaxias, western carp gudgeon.
# Macquarie perch can only be taken from the Upper Coliban Reservoir and its tributaries. They are protected in other waters.
- Brown trout, European carp, goldfish, eastern gambusia, rainbow trout, redfin, roach and tench.
Native species in bold are protected in this Basin. Introduced species in bold are declared noxious.
* Trout galaxias have been found in the Upper Coliban River and in tributaries of Lake Eppalock. Their natural distribution is in coastal streams and they may have been released into this Basin by anglers using them as bait.
Silver perch enter the lower Campaspe from the Murray River. Note that surveys for small-sized fish are not complete and species found in the Murray River such as unspecked hardyhead, flathead galaxias, and Murray River rainbowfish, may also occur in the Campaspe Basin.
See Introduction for information on management agencies and programs.
The Victorian Fisheries Authority
- manages stocking, fisheries policy, compliance with fisheries regulations and angler contact
- Fisheries Management Plan (FMP) (a recent project that provides recreational anglers, government agencies and other stakeholders with clear guidance on fisheries management issues with a regional area over a five year period).
The Victorian Fisheries Authority will develop a FMP for waters with this Basin in the future.
- Stocking Program (stocking plans for desirable species are based on an approved Victorian Fisheries Authority stocking policy and are reviewed annually via Vic Fish Stock). The Campaspe River and Eppalock Lake are stocked with native fish. Salmonids are stocked into Lauriston Reservoir, Malmsbury Reservoir and occasionally the Upper Coliban Reservoir.
Up-to-date information on numbers and size of each species stocked can be found under Fish Stocking in the Fisheries and Aquaculture section of this website or in the annual Vic Fish Stock Report published by the department.
- Family Fishing Lakes Program (an ongoing project of stocking small waters within urban areas with larger trout, for junior and disabled anglers, see Introduction). The one in this Basin is Quarry Street Reserve Lake at Trentham.
- Victorian Stream Classification (a project that was completed in November 2010, which classifies each water as a native, salmonid or mixed fishery). Classifications relevant to this basin are:
- Mixed - the Campaspe River south of McIvor Highway and Northern Highway including Lauriston and Upper Coliban lakes.
- Native - the Campaspe River north of McIvor Highway and Northern Highway and Lake Eppalock.
North Central Catchment Management Authority
- is responsible for catchment management and the Victorian River Health Program.
- Victorian River Health Program (an on-going state government initiative to achieve healthy rivers, streams and floodplains) There has been a commitment to increase environmental flow in some reaches of the Campaspe River under the Environmental Water Reserve Program. River improvement works are also continuing at several locations along the Campaspe River.
Goulburn Murray Rural Water
- manages irrigation, domestic and stock, and some bulk water supply services, also development of Stream Flow Management Plans.
- Stream Flow Management Plans (an ongoing project in which various agencies and water user's develop a flow sharing arrangement which ensures an adequate environmental flow allocation for each river in Victoria). None developed in this Basin. However an environmental flow for the Campaspe River has been recommended by DSE and a scientific panel, as part of the Bulk Water Entitlement process.
- manages urban demand in all except the upper reaches of the Campaspe River which is managed by Central Highlands Water.
Best Fishing Waters
|Eppalock Lake||Redfin, golden perch|
|Campaspe River immediately below Lake Eppalock to Axedale||Brown trout|
|Lauriston Reservoir when full||Brown trout, redfin|
|Malmsbury Reservoir when full||Brown trout, redfin|
Five species in this Basin (Murray cod, Macquarie perch, trout cod, silver perch and Murray spiny crayfish) are threatened species in Victoria. The list of Victorian threatened species, with their national conservation value, scientific names and explanation of their conservation status category, is available on the DSE web site (Department of Sustainability and Environment [DSE] Dec 2007).
Species in bold type and the Lowland Riverine Fish Community of the Southern Murray-Darling Basin are also listed under the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988 and cannot be taken or kept without an order, licence or permit. Such an order by the Governor in Council allows anglers to take Macquarie perch from the Upper Coliban Reservoir and its tributaries.