Waters in this Guide have been grouped according to drainage basins. These are areas of land with common drainage into a river, lake or ocean. The summary of each Basin describes the main features of the area, identifies the relevant management agencies and their responsibilities, the fish species present, special values of the basin and the best fishing waters available. This provides a handy method of assessing any particular feature statewide. Each water in this Guide has the name of the nearest town and a map reference.
Waters that were dry in 2010 and carry no fish and larger lakes not open to anglers or unsuitable for angling are included in the Guide to provide the best available information given possible changes to environmental conditions and management arrangements in the future. Water depths are those present during mean summer flows. Width of river is at water surface level at mean summer flows. See Glossary for other definitions.
All species known to be present have been included. Most of this information has been sourced from surveys conducted by the Government. Smaller-sized fish may be more abundant and widespread than recorded, because they are difficult to catch in deep water with the usual sampling methods. The conservation status of each fish species is correct as at 2010 but this may change in the future. Abundance varies annually and the Guide can only give a general indication of the number of fish present.
In the same way, average and maximum sizes of fish will vary seasonally and they are only a general indication of the size of fish that anglers might catch. However, they will usually indicate if the water has the potential to produce larger-sized fish.
Common names of some of the fish may have changed. In 2007, the Australian Fish Names Standard AS SSA 5300 (document retrieved 22/5/17) was launched. It prescribes a standard fish name for each species of fish produced or traded in Australia. It includes over 4,000 Australian and imported species and was approved by Standards Australia as an official Australian Standard. These names, together with the appropriate scientific names are provided in the section: Fish Mentioned in the Guide.
Best Fishing Waters
A few waters in each Basin consistently provide better catches of fish. This indicates the possibility, rather than the certainty that this will be the case on any particular day.
This Guide does not provide all fisheries regulations. Some regulations are identified for specific fish or waters that are protected and that are unlikely to change in the near future. The Murray River is managed by New South Wales Department of Primary Industries.
It is the angler's responsibility to know the current fisheries regulations and these are available from the Operational Policy section of this website and for New South Wales waters including the Murray River from the NSW Department of Primary Industries website.
Spiny Freshwater Crayfish
There are at least eleven species of spiny freshwater crayfish in Victoria. Two of these species grow large enough to be targeted for recreational fishing purposes. These are the Murray spiny freshwater crayfish Euastacus armatus in the Murray River and its tributaries in Victoria; and the Gippsland spiny freshwater crayfish E. kershawi in Gippsland. Both are listed as threatened species in Victoria but can be taken, subject to strict limits.
The Glenelg spiny freshwater crayfish is protected from recreational fishing under the Fisheries Regulations 2009.
There are smaller species of spiny freshwater crayfish, some of which are not common. There is a minimum carapace length (size limit) on all spiny freshwater crayfish species and the smaller species generally fall well below the legal takeable length. The presence of spiny freshwater crayfish in waters within the Guide, has only been mentioned if they are reasonably abundant.
Stocking of Fish
Each year, the Victorian Fisheries Authority (VFA) releases between 300,000 and 400,000 salmonid (trout and salmon) yearlings and around 2 million native fish fingerlings into Victorian waters.
Most trout and salmon stocked by the Department are released as yearlings weighing between 30 and 60 grams (20-25 cm in length), for put-grow-and-take fisheries. Small numbers of larger trout are stocked during holiday periods for direct put-and-take fisheries in small lakes and ponds close to urban and regional centres.
Most native fish stocked average less than one gram each. Most of these fish are golden perch or Murray cod that are bred at Snobs Creek or purchased from commercial fish growers. These species, along with silver perch, are native to the Murray Darling Basin and are thus stocked north of the Great Dividing Range. More recently, selected lakes south of the Great Divide have been stocked with Australian bass which are native to the coastal flowing streams east of Wilsons Promontory. Most of these fish are stocked into lakes and impoundments where they provide enhanced recreational fishing opportunities for anglers.
Annual stocking plans are developed through a consultative process known as VicFishStock (formerly CONS), involving representatives from VFA (previously part of DEDJTR and DEPI), VRFish, Water Management Authorities, Catchment Management Authorities (CMAs), and other relevant stakeholders. The VicFishStock process nominates waters to be stocked, species composition, numbers, size, timing and priority waters. Actual numbers of fish stocked may vary from those nominated in response to changing environmental or other factors.
Stocking activity for waters in this Guide has been provided. Many waters are stocked each year and this has been indicated as 'stocked annually'. Some are usually stocked but not every year and this has been expressed as 'regularly stocked'. However in waters where stocking has been affected by the drought, or changes in water management, the current stocking decision has been provided. Each year, stocking is dependent on water conditions or changes in water management.
The Victorian Fisheries Authority (VFA)
The VFA manages the fisheries resource by developing and implementing policies and projects and delivering a wide range of services including research and compliance activities. Its strategic direction is characterised by securing the fisheries resource, sharing the fisheries resource and growing and developing the value of the resource for the benefit of the community.
The VFA is directly responsible for several specific projects mentioned in the Guide. These are Fisheries Management Plans, the production and stocking of fish and Family Fishing Lakes.
The VFA cooperates with other relevant Government agencies and organisations both in Victoria and interstate to implement several other projects mentioned in the Guide. These are the River Health Strategy, the Murray-Darling Basin Native Fish Strategy, Stream Flow Management Plans and Native Fish Recovery Plans.
The Freshwater Ecology Group, Arthur Rylah Institute for Environmental Research (ARI), carry out policy development and research to lead the development of ecologically sustainable land and water management activities. They have the responsibility for several fisheries research projects mentioned in the Guide, which are part of the Murray-Darling Basin Native Fish Strategy, and the Native Fish Recovery Plan for various fish species such as trout cod. They have carried out extensive research on the movement of Murray cod in the Murray River.
Victorian Catchment Management Authorities (CMA)
CMAs promote and coordinate improvements in land, water and biodiversity management through integrated catchment management. They manage a partnership between community (landholders) and Government. They are responsible for carrying out urgent remedial work on waterways in Victoria. They also implement river restoration projects that have been identified by the River Health Program or the Murray-Darling Native Fish Strategy, or some other program, as necessary to improve the environmental condition of waterways or fish habitat.
Victorian Rural Water Authorities
These are responsible for the delivery of water for stock, irrigation and domestic use in rural areas as well as some bulk water supply services. They have the primary role in coordinating the development of Stream Flow Management Plans and facilitating the development of an equitable share of river flow between the environment and off stream users.
Victorian Water Authorities
There are numerous water authorities, which supply water and sewerage services to urban areas. Melbourne Water Corporation also manages rivers, creeks, and major drainage systems in the Port Phillip and Western Port region.
Murray-Darling Basin Commission (MDBC)
This was set up in 1992 to provide advice on planning, development and management of resources of the Murray-Darling Basin. It reports to the Murray-Darling Ministerial Council. Its activities include operating and managing structures along the Murray River and the Lower Darling River, allocation of environmental flows and management of fishways. It develops policies and strategies for on-ground activities. It funds research projects and ensures active cooperation between government departments. It has worked with the department on a number of fisheries research projects, in the Murray River and its tributaries in Victoria.
The Murray Darling Basin Commission no longer exists. Functions of the previous Commission have been subsumed by the Murray-Darling Basin Authority.
Government Programs Mentioned in the Guide
Fishery Management Plans
VFA works with its stakeholders to facilitate sustainable development of fisheries resources. A key task in sustainable management is preparing and implementing fisheries management plans. Fisheries Management Plans specify the objectives, strategies, actions and performance measures for managing fishing activities in accordance with the principles of ecologically sustainable development (ESD).
Inland Fisheries Management Plans focus on managing recreational fishing activities to enhance environmental, social and economic outcomes and recognise the importance of fisheries resources to indigenous communities.
Further information and updates can be found at www.vfa.vic.gov.au. The department publishes Fisheries Management Plans in the Fisheries Victoria Report Series.
Family Fishing Lakes
Family Fishing Lakes are generally small waters, close to populated areas and with good access. They are regularly stocked with ready-to-catch advanced yearling rainbow trout (150-200 g) in order to provide recreational fishing opportunities for junior anglers and anglers with restricted mobility. Each year, 2-3 year old rainbow trout broodstock, deemed excess to hatchery requirements, may also be stocked in some Family Fishing Lakes. These fish can be in excess of 3 kg. Releases of rainbow trout are made prior to the second and/or third term school holidays plus any junior fishing clinic events. Most family fishing lakes are only capable of supporting trout during the cooler months. Waters stocked as part of the Family Fishing Lakes Program may vary from year to year in response to environmental or other changes. Some Family Fishing Lakes in Northern Victoria are also stocked with native fish.
For up-to-date information on stocking at Family Fishing Lakes visit www.vfa.vic.gov.au or call our Customer Service Centre on 136 186.
Trout Cod Recovery Program
The National Recovery Plan for trout cod was prepared under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. A number of stakeholders (DEPI, Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority [GBCMA], NSW Fisheries, ACT Parks Conservation and Lands and the Murray Darling Basin Commission) were involved and cooperated in the development of the Plan. The long-term objective of the Plan is to minimise the possibility of the extinction of the trout cod in the wild and to increase the probability of important populations becoming self-sufficient in the long term.
This is a national 5-year program, focusing on protection and management of habitat in locations with natural or reintroduced populations of trout cod. Planned activities for each river are continued stocking of trout cod for four years followed by one year of monitoring of the population, to determine their establishment and reproduction. This program is underway in the Ovens, Goulburn, Mitta Mitta rivers, and in Seven Creeks and in the upper reaches of the Murray River (NSW DPI).
In Victoria, the department carries out research on trout cod populations and other agencies such as the Goulburn Broken CMA provide assistance with habitat improvement work.
In addition the National Recovery Plan identifies the strategy to develop a discrete recreational trout cod fishery to facilitate recreational fisher stewardship of the species. VFA has begun a stocking and monitoring program in Lake Kerford to meet this objective.
Murray-Darling Basin Native Fish Strategy
The Murray-Darling Basin Commission in cooperation with various state government departments and other scientific organisations developed this strategy. The strategy was approved in 2003 as a working document for the next 10 years, to identify short-medium and long-term actions for rehabilitation of aquatic ecosystems and the recovery of native fish populations within the Murray-Darling Basin. One activity is an assessment of the ecological condition and health of rivers in the Murray Darling Basin (Sustainable Rivers Audit). The Avoca, Goulburn, Kiewa, Ovens, Campaspe and Wimmera river valleys have been assessed as part of the Sustainable Rivers Audit program. It will be of particular value in the MDBC Native Fish Strategy. Five states including Victoria and territories are involved and there is a guiding committee (The Fish Management and Science Committee) to oversee implementation of the strategy. A number of other committees guide various activities. In Victoria, VFA carries out research on fish populations and CMAs provide assistance with habitat improvement work.
Victorian River Health Strategy (VRHS)
The VRHS provides the framework in which the Victorian Government in partnership with the community makes decisions on the management of rivers in Victoria. It provides: a common vision for this management, a planning framework; criteria for setting policy for investment in river protection and restoration, an overview of government policy relating to the management of activities affecting river health, environmental flows and water allocation, and institutional arrangements for the management of river health in Victoria. Activities arising from the Strategy and mentioned in the Guide are referred to as Victorian River Health Programs.
Stream Flow Management Plans
Stream Flow Management Plans (SFMPs) aim to provide a balanced and sustainable sharing of stream flows between all water users in unregulated catchments. SFMPs are now recognised as Management Plans under the Water Act 1989 (as amended 2002) and are legally binding on individual water users and authorities. They are now a crucial part of achieving the Government's river health objectives.
SFMPs apply to unregulated streams (flow generated from rainfall runoff in the catchment). Emphasis of the plans is on water sharing between consumptive users and the environment during periods of flow stress. SFMPs develop rules for how entitlements within the stream catchment are to be managed to meet the objectives for the stream.
A community based consultative committee, made up of representatives from a range of stakeholder groups, develops a SFMP. Representatives include consumptive water users, non-government organisations and government organisations with statutory responsibilities. A final report is published after a draft report has been released for public comment.
Environmental Water Reserves
In June 2004, the Victorian Government released 'Our Water Our Future' action plan. An important component of Our Water Our Future is establishing Environmental Water Reserves. Government introduced the Water (Resource Management) Bill 2005 to amend the Water Act 1989 and from 2006, the act legally recognises the Environmental Water Reserve as the legal share of water for the environment in all Victorianrivers, streams and groundwater systems. A Environmental Water Reserve can be provided independently from a stream flow management plan.
History of the Guide
Barry Tunbridge and Peter Rogan who at that time were fisheries research officers in the Fisheries and Wildlife Department produced the first edition in 1976. It was hand written and then typed up by Mary Quinlan, in the typing pool at Arthur Rylah Institute. The same authors produced new editions in 1977, 1981, #1991, *2002 and this current edition in 2010. Additional information was added to each edition to meet new needs of anglers and to respond to the increasing complexity of fisheries and river management in Victoria.
# Charles Barnham was a co-author in 1991.
* The 2002 Edition was an online version only.
During the last 32 years, many officers in the 'Department' have provided willing assistance, personal knowledge and information. This knowledge has come from people that know the waters personally having spent most of their working lives on the rivers, carrying out research, surveys of fish, stocking, fishing and making contact with anglers. The result has been an acknowledgement by anglers of the reliability of the information provided in A Guide to the Inland Angling Waters of Victoria.
Department of Natural Resources and Environment, 2002. HEALTHY RIVERS HEALTHY COMMUNITIES & REGIONAL GROWTH. VICTORIAN RIVER HEALTH STRATEGY Victoria Government Report.
DPI. (2007). Regional Fisheries Consultations Meeting Outcomes-Fish Stocking, Fish Population Surveys and other Recreational Fisheries Management Issues 2007. Fisheries Victoria Report Series. No. 49 (CONS Reports)
DPI. (2008). Regional Fisheries Consultations Meeting Outcomes-Fish Stocking, Fish Population Surveys and other Recreational Fisheries Management Issues 2008. Fisheries Victoria Report Series. No. 61 (CONS Reports)
DPI. 2009/2010. Victorian Recreational Fishing Guide. The Victorian Fisheries Authority
DPI. Index of Stream Condition. Victoria Resources on this site Data available on Vic Water-data Network website.
DPI, 2006. Glenelg Hopkins Fishery Management Plan. Fisheries Victoria Report Series No. 42.
DPI, 2007. North East Fishery Management Plan. Fisheries Victoria Report Series No. 47.
DPI 2008 West Gippsland Fishery Management Plan. Fisheries Victoria Report Series No.56.
DPI 2008 Corangamite Fishery Management Plan. Fisheries Victoria Report Series No.59.
DPI 2009 Wimmera Fishery Management Plan. Fisheries Victoria Report Series No.68.
DPI, 2005. Protocols for the Translocation of Fish in Victorian Inland Public Waters. Fisheries Victoria Report Series. Fisheries Management Paper No.24 August 2005.
DPI, 2007/08. Draft Victorian Stream Classification Model 2007/08. The Victorian Fisheries Authority.
DPI, Native Fish Releases and Salmonid Fish Releases. The Victorian Fisheries Authority. Can be accessed on this site for annual stocking records.
Department of Sustainability and Environment. 2004. Securing our Water Future Together. Our Water Our Future. Victorian Government White Paper.
Fisheries Victoria Natural Resources and Environment, 1997. Victorian Inland Fisheries Strategy. Fisheries Victoria.
Murray-Darling Basin Commission, 2003. Native fish strategy for the Murray-Darling Basin. 2003-2013. Murray Darling Basin Ministerial Council.
Phillip Mitchell, 1990. The Environmental Condition of Victorian Streams. Victoria. Department of Water Resources.
Trout Cod Recovery Team 2008. National Recovery Plan for the Trout Cod. Maccullochella Macquariensis. Department of Sustainability and Environment. Melbourne. Victoria. Available on Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts website. www.environment.gov.au
Victorian Catchment Management Authorities, 2005. Case Studies on River Health Programs completed and proposed. www.dse.vic.gov.au/riverhealth/reportcard web site.
Victorian Department of Sustainability and Environment (2007). Advisory list of threatened vertebrate fauna in Victoria -2007. Department of Sustainability and Environment, East Melbourne. Victoria.
Available on web site delwp.vic.gov.au