Location: Apollo Bay, Victoria (Fishing Guide)

14 Sep 23
Apollo Bay has long been a popular tourist town, and has always supported a strong commercial and recreational fishery; but has never been quite as popular as a fishing location as ports further east or west. But that's part of the appeal! Apollo Bay is situated east of Cape Otway, where the green ranges meet the blue sea of Bass Straight. For offshore anglers, the wilds of Cape Otway, King Island and the unspoilt reefs in between offer excellent long range options. There's plenty of inshore spots, rock and beach fishing options, and crystal clear streams where trout abound.


Big bluefin are the drawcard for Apollo Bay in terms of game fishing, and for good reason. Apollo Bay is the only proper between Port Campbell (where launching facilities are limited) and Lorne; offering access to a wide area of Bass Strait where you can often intercept bluefin. A couple of seasons back the gas rig off Port Campbell was a real hotspot and most anglers chose to launch at Apollo Bay. The fish can turn up anywhere along that coast so keep an eye on online reports, chat to the local shops and speak to anglers if you're planning a trip. The last few weeks alone have seen a number of 100kg+ fish caught. The 'Big Reef' area has been a good area for years and always worth a look, as is the Pinnacles off Johanna. School fish often congregate in the area too, especially off the Cape Otway headland. Kingfish also make the Apollo Bay reefs home during the summer months. Henty Reef, right near town, is perhaps the best spot and when the kings are there, it's easily reached by small or large boats and the action is easy to get into. As per most SW kingfisheries, casting poppers or slug-gos, and trolling livies, will get you a few kings when they're on. Bottom fishing in the area is also first class. Due to it's geographic location in Bass Strait, and the subsequent shallow water, you won't be fishing those big drop offs or on the shelf like you would further west. Instead, most of the action will be in 60m or less. Snapper, flathead and sharks are all common catches alongside nannygai and morwong.


Tucked around the corner of Cape Otway, Apollo Bay is often a little calmer than other areas and the inshore fishing can be excellent. Whiting are a popular target; Marengo or the waterfall east of town are good choices. Anchoring and berleying on weed/sand patches in 5-15m of water using baits of pippies or squid will be a good tactic, with the bonus by-catch of snapper and flatties (hopefully not too many wrasse!). You can also chase the whiting landbased in the harbour or at Marengo Rocks. Speaking of the harbour, it's an easily accessible shallow water spot perfect for kids and beginners. It might not be as famous or productive as the Lorne pier or Portland breakwall if you're after big fish, but it's fishable 365 days a year and some nice fish still come in. Expect salmon, whiting, flathead, wrasse, mullet, the odd bream; and more than the occasional sea-run trout also comes into the harbour. Apollo Bay's beaches are well known for salmon anglers; Wild Dog Beach is #1, and the Marengo area is also worth a go. Fish to 3kg can be taken casting with metal lures or bluebait on a surf popper during winter. Johanna further west produces both salmon and sharks on it's wide open breaks, and the rock platforms heading towards Lorne also see some good salmon landed and some surprisingly big snapper. Sweep can also be found in these same areas in the wash. Crayfish and abalone diving is super popular around Cape Otway and the Great Ocean Road, so popular spots like Kennett River and Crayfish Bay can be a little crowded during summer. Nonetheless, considering the expansive coastlines and often inaccessible nature, there's always reefs that won't be touched.


Apollo Bay is a very under-rated freshwater fishery. With literally dozens of creeks within an hour bursting with trout, it's never hard to find a quiet stream to yourself. The Barham right in the middle of town is as good as anywhere; the fish can be a little pressured late in the season but respond well to small (under 50mm) hardbodies, plastics and flies. A few of the other well known spots include Wild Dog Creek, Kennett River and the Aire. Incredible amounts of trout can be found in these streams; Tim from the Tackle Shack has landed over 50 in an afternoon. Late autumn and early spring when the cool waters flow at their strongest, outside of closed season, is best. On a good day, 20+ fish can be expected if you know what you're doing. The Aire and Gellibrand further west offer reliable (sometimes incredible) bream and perch fishing, and the Barham in town offers some of the biggest perch you'll see; just far and few between. Try on a summer's evening for your best chance at a big perch.