• Bullen Merri Lake
  • Colac Lake
  • Colongulac Lake
  • Coragulac Lake
  • Corangamite Lake
  • Ettrick Lake
  • Gnarpurt Lake
  • Jubilee Dam
  • Lismore Golf Course Dam
  • Tooliorook Lake
  • Woady Yaloak River
Lake Bullen Merri
Lake Bullen Merri

This is a landlocked Basin with the largest waterway (Woady Yaloak Creek) flowing into Lake Corangamite, which is highly saline. There is a small area of gentle hills of sedimentary and granitic origin in the north of the Basin but the remainder is flat farmland of finely textured unconsolidated deposits, derived from volcanic rock. Annual rainfall exceeds 700 mm at the northern and southern ends but is from 500-600 mm in the central area. The smaller waterways stop flowing during summer.

There are scattered areas of low mixed species forest in the northern hills and southwest of Lake Corangamite but the remainder of the basin is all grazing or broad acre cropping. There is no riparian tree cover except along the upper Woady Yaloak River and sections of Kuruc-A-Ruc Creek. There are three good fishing lakes (Tooliorook, Colac and Bullen Merri). Some waters in this basin are commercially fished for short-finned eel.

Freshwater Fish in the Basin

Native species

  • (Large fish): Australian bass, #golden perch, river blackfish, #silver perch and short-finned eel.
  • (Small fish): Australian smelt, climbing galaxias, common galaxias, flathead gudgeon, mountain galaxias, smallmouth hardyhead, trout galaxias, southern pigmy perch and Yarra pygmy perch.

Introduced species

  • Atlantic salmon, brown trout, chinook salmon, eastern gambusia, European carp, goldfish, rainbow trout, redfin and tench.

Native species in bold are protected in this Basin. Introduced species in bold are declared noxious.
# These species were stocked into Lake Bullen Merri in the late 1990's. Some individuals could still be present.


See Introduction for information on Management Agencies and Programs.

The Victorian Fisheries Authority

- manages stocking, fisheries policy, compliance with fisheries regulations and contact with anglers.

  • 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).
    A FMP for waters within this Basin has been completed and was declared in November 2008. It can be viewed on the website. Fisheries Victoria Report Series. Corangamite FisheryManagement Plan. No. 59. November 2008.
  • 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). In this Basin, Lake Bullen Merri is the only water regularly stocked. Lake Tooliorook is stocked when conditions are suitable.
    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 for further information). There are none in this Basin.
  • 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- all waters.
    • Trout- Bullen Merri and Tooliorook (Ettrick) lakes. Although Bullen Merri is classified as 'Trout', this does not preclude stocking of other salmonids such as Chinook or Atlantic salmon where such a decision is made through the Vic Fish Stock process.

Corangamite Catchment Management Authority

- is responsible for catchment management and the River Health Program.

  • Victorian River Health Program (an on-going State Government initiative to achieve healthy rivers, streams and floodplains). Major activities are erosion control, bed and bank stabilization, willow and weed removal, fencing and replanting banks. Work has been carried out on Lake Bullen Merri, Lake Colac and on the Woady Yaloak River.

Gippsland and Southern Rural Water

- manages rural water diversion for irrigation/stock use and the 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). No Stream Flow Management Plans are currently being developed for this Basin.

Barwon Water

- manages urban water

Best Fishing Waters

WaterTarget Species
Bullen Merri LakeBrown trout, rainbow trout
Colac LakeRedfin

Special Values

Ramsar Sites

(wetlands of international significance - Convention on Wetlands, Ramsar, Iran 1971)
Lake Beeac, Lake Corangamite, Lake Colongulac, Lake Cundare, Lake Gnarpurt, Lake Milangil and Lake Terangpom.

Threatened fish Species

The Yarra pygmy perch is listed as a threatened species in Victoria. (Department of Sustainability and Environment [DSE] Dec. 2007). A list of Victorian threatened species together with scientific names of species and a definition of the terms used and their national status is available on the DSE web site.

Species in bold type are also listed under the Flora & Fauna GuaranteeAct 1988. These species cannot be taken or kept within Victoria without an appropriate written order, licence or permit.