Golden tag frequently asked questions

When did the promotion start?

The Golden Tag Competition commenced on 1 March 2020. The program has now been extended till the 30th June 2024.

How long will it go for?

The Golden Tag competition has been extended to run until 30 June 2024.

How many fish have been tagged?

Originally more than 1,000 fish were tagged for the promotion. Ahead of the relaunch in November 2020, a further 20 $10,000 Golden Tags were added, and more than 40 more $2,000 fish were tagged across the state, including in the bushfire affected areas. The VFA estimates around 500 tagged fish are still swimming in Victorian waters.

How many winners have there been?

To date there have been 162 winners collecting more than $440,000 in prize money.

What if I catch a tagged fish outside of the official dates?

Fish caught outside the completion dates will not win the angler cash prize. Fish caught during one of the COVID-19 suspensions were also not eligible for one of the cash prizes.

Note that fishers will be expected to sign a statutory declaration that they have caught the fish in line with the terms and conditions.

Where can I catch the tagged fish?

Fish were tagged across the state, with the majority in bushfire affected areas in the east and north-east. Locations like Mallacoota, Cann River, Bemm River, Orbost, Marlo, Lakes Entrance, Lake Tyers, Omeo, Dartmouth, Mitta Mitta, Corryong, Falls Creek, Tallangatta and Bright all had plenty of fish tagged. More than 950 Golden Tagged fish were placed in the state's northeast trout rivers and East Gippsland (Marlo, Bemm River, Tamboon Inlet, Lake Tyers, Gippsland lakes, Mallacoota). In addition, fish were tagged off the south-west coast near Portland, in the Crater Lakes of southwest Victoria and Lake Bellfield in the Grampians, in Rocklands Reservoir, the central west reservoirs of Tullaroop, Upper Coliban, Lauriston and Barkers Creek, the Sunraysia's Lindsay River and Kings Billabong, Lake Eildon, the Goulburn and Ovens rivers and the Aussie bass trail including the Snowy River, Glenmaggie and Blue Rock lakes.

What species are tagged?

In East Gippsland, black bream, dusky flathead, tailor, luderick, estuary perch and King George whiting were tagged. In the northeast, keep an eye out for Murray cod, redfin, brown trout and rainbow trout. Cod and yellas have been tagged in Lake Eildon and Rocklands, the Sunraysia and the central west lakes around Kyneton and Maryborough. Aussie bass were tagged in Lake Glenmaggie, Blue Rock Lake and the Snowy River. In the south-west, bluefin tuna and kingfish were tagged offshore.

How does the tagging work?

In most areas we tagged fish from already existing populations within healthy waterways, that have had minimal impacts from the fires. These fish were caught, tagged and then released for recapture by a lucky fisher. Some fish were also stocked in certain lakes and impoundments (e.g. trout).

How do the prizes work?

To win one of the prizes up for grabs, you'll need to catch a fish with a Golden Tag and report the details of your catch, with photo evidence, to the Victorian Fisheries Authority (see ‘how do I claim a prize?’ below). Always check the tag on the fish. If the tag has a monetary value listed, the prize corresponds to the value on the tag. eg: VFA WINNER $10K or VFA WINNER $2K. If the tag does not have a value listed but says VFA WINNER, it is worth $2,000.

How do I claim a prize?

If you catch a tagged fish, first record the fish’s length. Photograph the fish with the tag still in place (make sure you take a secondary close-up photo of the tag which clearly shows the number), then remove the tag (cut it off carefully close to the fish’s skin) and keep it in a safe place. Contact the Victorian Fisheries Authority on 03 9658 4737, and provide your name, contact details, tag number, species of fish, waterway, location the fish was caught and overall length.

Do I have to keep my fish to claim a prize?

No, you’re welcome to catch and release if you wish, or if the fish is oversize (dusky flathead and Murray Cod). Before releasing your catch, take a photo of the fish with the tag still in place and remember to remove the tag. Also make sure you take a secondary close-up photo of the tag which clearly shows the number.

Who can claim a prize?

No registration is required. The prizes are eligible for any recreational fisher with a Victorian fishing licence (unless they are exempt) who catches a tagged fish by legal methods.

Can you win more than once?

The $10,000 prize was limited to one per individual, however the $2,000 prize can be won multiple times.

Can spear fishers get involved?

Yes, provided they’re in areas where spearfishing is permitted and carefully follow the rules and regulations. Spear fishers will also need to provide a greater level of detail when reporting their tag to prove their fish was caught via legitimate methods, and in a permitted location (e.g. photos that show the speared fish with tag and the exact location it was caught – GPS coordinates would help).

Read up on the rules for spear fishing here.

What do the tags look like?

The tags are standard T-Bar fish tags and are specially marked yellow with the following wording on the tag “VFA WINNER Golden tag Ph 0396584737”. If the tags read "REWARD" they are tags used for the purposes of research and are not associated with the Golden Tag competition.