East Gippsland


  • Barracouta Lake
  • Bemm River
  • Betka River
  • Cann River
  • Combienbar River
  • Errinundra River
  • Genoa River
  • Goolengook River
  • Little River
  • Mallacoota Inlet
  • Maramingo Creek
  • Mueller River
  • Swan Lake
  • Sydenham Inlet
  • Tamboon Inlet
  • Thurra River
  • Tonghi Creek
  • Wallagaraugh River
  • Wau Wauka Lake
  • Wingan Inlet
  • Wingan River


Bemm River

The Basin is mostly steep mountains and hills of granitic, sedimentary and volcanic origin. There is a small coastal strip (Bemm to Cann River) of flat farmland and dune complex. Mean annual rainfall is more than 700 mm with the central area receiving between 1,000-1,400 mm. Most of the Basin is covered with mixed-species forest with stands of tall forest in the northwest (catchments of the Arte, Goolengook and upper Cann Rivers).

The area is isolated and fishing trips to some rivers require 4WD vehicles and maps. Australian bass can be targeted in the Genoa and Bemm Rivers. Most fishing is carried out in the estuaries of which Mallacoota Inlet is the most productive. Some waters in this Basin are commercially fished for long and short-finned eel.

Freshwater Fish in the Basin

Native species

  • (Large fish): Australian bass, Australian grayling, estuary perch, Gippsland spiny crayfish, river blackfish, longfin eel, shortfin eel.
  • (Small fish): Australian smelt, climbing galaxias, common galaxias, congoli, Cox's gudgeon, East Gippsland spiny crayfish, flathead gudgeon, mountain galaxias, pouch lamprey, shorthead lamprey, smallmouth hardyhead, southern pigmy perch, striped gudgeon and trout galaxias.

Introduced species

  • Brown trout, goldfish, eastern gambusia, rainbow trout and redfin.

Native species in bold are protected in this Basin. Introduced species in bold are declared noxious.

The freshwater fish communities in each river are usually native fish, with the smaller species most abundant. There are usually 9-12 native species present which is higher than the average for Victorian streams. Only three species (river blackfish, mountain galaxias and southern pygmy perch) spend their entire lives in freshwater. The other species either move into the estuary to spawn, or spawn in freshwater and their larvae are washed downstream into the estuary. Juvenile fish then migrate back into the rivers. The East Gippsland spiny crayfish is restricted to a few small tributaries in this Basin.


Genoa River

See Introduction for information on Management Agencies and Programs.

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).
    Victorian Fisheries Authority has recently (2009) started to develop an East Gippsland Fishery Management Plan. This new plan will provide for sustainable management of recreational fisheries in the rivers, lakes and impoundments located within the boundaries of the East Gippsland Catchment Management Authority for at least the next five years. This plan is expected to be completed in 2010.
    A separate management plan applies to the waters which make up the Mallacoota Inlet Fisheries Reserve. Victorian Fisheries Authority Management Report Series. Mallacoota Inlet Fisheries Reserve Management Plan. No 36. September 2006.
  • Fish Stocking (stocking of desirable species is based on an approved Victorian Fisheries Authority stocking policy and is reviewed annually via Vic Fish Stock). No waters in this basin are currently stocked.
    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 more information). None are established 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 - Goolengook, Arte, Errinundra and Combienbar and tributaries.
    • Native - Little, Betka, Bemm, Benedore, Cann (east and west branch), Genoa, Mueller, McKenzie, Red, Thurra, Wingan, and Wallagaraugh rivers and tributaries. Yeerung River East and West branches.

East Gippsland Catchment Management Authority

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

  • River Health Program (an on-going State Government initiative to achieve healthy rivers, streams and floodplains.) Major activities are willow control, and re-vegetation and protection of banks and work has been carried out in the Bemm, Cann, Combienbar, Errinundra, Genoa, Wallagaraugh and Wingan Rivers.

Gippsland & Southern Rural Water

- manages farm and irrigation water diversion 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 have yet been developed for waters in this Basin.

East Gippsland Water

- manages urban diversion.

Key Fisheries

WaterTarget Species
Genoa & Bemm RiversAustralian bass
Bemm RiverEstuary perch
Mallacoota InletEstuarine species

Special Values

Heritage Rivers

The Genoa River, Bemm River, Goolengook River (from its headwaters), Arte River (from Glen Arte Road) and Errinundra River (from headwaters of east branch; upper reaches to the sea).

Representative Rivers

The Thurra River is a Representative River of East Victorian dissected uplands and riverine plains.

Natural Catchment Areas

Red and Benedore Rivers and Shipwreck, Seal and Easby Creeks in the Croajingalong National Park, an area on Double Creek, an un-named tributary of Genoa River and an area of Winnot Creek.

UNESCO Biosphere Reserve

Croajingalong Park

Threatened Fish Species

The Australian grayling, Cox's gudgeon and the striped gudgeon are listed as threatened species in Victoria. (Department of Sustainability and Environment [DSE] Dec. 2007). A list of Victorian threatened species together with scientific names of species, 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 Guarantee Act 1988. These species cannot be taken or kept within Victoria without a written order, licence or permit issued by the Governor in Council.