The lower Goulburn River is a wonderful stretch offering freshwater fishers lots of options. Cold water from Lake Eildon is still present around Seymour and warms as it passes through Lake Nagambie and travels further downstream through Shepparton and beyond.
As it warms, the rivers becomes increasingly suited to native fish such as golden perch and Murray cod, some of which exceed a metre in length and are considered trophy catches by even the keenest angler.
Seymour to Nagambie
The Goulburn above and below Seymour holds cool and clear water, which is why it still boasts good trout fishing. It is a section of river that’s one of transition because Seymour holds native fish too, including surprising numbers of cod, which are often stunningly coloured given the clear water.
The Seymour River Trail offers great access to this section and bank fishing access in and around Seymour is reasonable. Look for deeper runs and snags, weed beds, and reedy edges when choosing a spot. If targeting Murray cod, move further downstream where they are more likely to be found.
If fishing from a small tinny or kayak, head to Goulburn Park and New Crossing Place to launch, but bear in mind the strength of the rapids and take a careful approach. Alternatively, launch from the camping area or road bridge that crosses the Goulburn near the Mitchelton Winery, where you will be rewarded with deeper and calmer waters. Here, the fishing is good for all species, although access for shore-based fishers can be a challenge. For a spot with great structure and better shore access, head downstream of Mitchellstown where Majors Creek flows into the Goulburn. This area is prime golden perch habitat, and those targeting thinner trees with small lures, especially spinnerbaits, are likely to find success.
Lake Nagambie is a 170-hectare man-made reservoir formed by the damming of the Goulburn River at the Goulburn Weir.
Lake Nagambie at the township is a shallow basin with deep edges that sits outside the actual river course. It’s a popular venue for rowing regattas and water skiing. The Goulburn Weir area is a shallow lagoon littered with timber, reeds, lily pads and willows along some edges and has a similar feel to Lake Mulwala, though much smaller. Navigation can be challenging, and caution is advised given submerged river red gum stumps and sunken timber. Large sections of the waterway interconnect with the main river channel but have 5-knot zones for good reason.
The lakes boast good Murray cod, redfin and golden perch fishing with Murray crays on offer too during their cooler winter open season. The extensive shallows and river edges are excellent lure casting country though the depth is often a metre or less. The shallow water can contain plenty of fish and some are a good size. The edges are often a little deeper.
The river course through the Goulburn Weir is an excellent trolling run where big cod have been caught. In the Goulburn Weir it pays to boat and cast past the drop off onto the shallows, retrieving back towards the deeper water.
Around Kirwans Bridge and upstream there is plenty of standing timber with shallow edges, willows, standing trees and reeds. With the popularity of fishing and water skiing in the area, the Nagambie Lakes are well serviced by boat ramps.
This includes a new ramp at Loddings Lane opposite the regatta centre which has floating pontoons and allows access up and down river into both lakes. This ramp is suitable for larger craft.
Nagambie to Shepparton
Downstream of the Nagambie Lakes the river averages 1.5 to 3 metres deep with some bends at 4 to 6 metres. The river is heavily littered with large timber providing sensational habitat for native fish. There is so much good habitat that choosing where to concentrate your efforts can be part of the challenge. Choose larger and more complex snags for casting surface lures, diving crankbaits and spinnerbaits. Keep the deeper bends for short trolling runs. The river is so snaggy in sections that your progress up or down river in a boat can be impeded by a substantial log across a significant part of the river.
Bait fishing is effective in the usually turbid water for golden perch and cod. Fishing in the lower Goulburn River below the Nagambie Lakes is heavily influenced by water flow rate from the lake. Steady, low and rising are conditions when the river will fish best, whilst high and falling are less desirable with fish shutting down for days during and following these times. Bank access is good through some areas and poor in others however those in kayaks and tinnies will find bush ramps to launch. The Murchison area has emerged as one of the most popular sections of river to fish in recent years.
Informal boat ramps are available at Raftery’s Bend, Raftery’s Road Kialla, Jordans Bend at Shepparton and Kaieltheban Park at Mooroopna.
Click here for information on Daintons Bridge Ramp.
Shepparton to Murray River Junction
From Shepparton downstream the river completes its transition to a lowland flow with constantly switch-backed bends and horseshoe lagoons. The banks show signs of degradation from consistent high flows from years of summer irrigation. Despite this, native fish populations are still good with golden perch, Murray cod as well as redfin prevailing along with a surprising number of silver perch in the mix from Shepparton downstream.
This section of river has less access in terms of boat ramps than upstream however shore-based fishing from small tinnies or kayaks is still possible. In Shepparton, the area behind the Aquamoves swimming centre and caravan park, along with the Boulevard area, are popular for those wanting to fish locally.
Working north from Shepparton, Reedy Swamp is accessed off Wanganui Road which runs off the Goulburn Valley Highway just as you leave Shepparton. There are several access points here for shore-based fishing and kayak launching if feeling adventurous. A little further along the river McCrackens Bend is a popular spot accessible off the Shepparton–Nathalia Road on the eastern side of the river.
Look out for Loch Garry, including the Neck Bend camping area north of Shepparton along the Goulburn Valley Highway. Loch Garry is a shallow, intermittent waterway that is an abandoned course of the Goulburn River and an important wetland. The water level is maintained during periods of moderate flooding from the Goulburn. It is accessible off the Shepparton-Barmah Road via the Loch Garry West Road. Further down Loch Garry West Road, Hurricane Bend has a serviceable boat ramp and access is quite good. Nearby, the river at Undera in the Myers Track and Rooks Track area are popular. Further north again, at Stewarts Bridge the bank slope is steep and access to the water is quite poor, though it has a reputation for golden perch. There is camping available, but no facilities.
The junction of the Goulburn and Murray rivers can be accessed from the Murray Valley Highway. The bank slope is steep and access to the water is average. There is camping available, but there are no facilities. The junction has a reputation for cod, golden perch and the occasional redfin.