LOCATION: Port Fairy, Victoria (Fishing Guide)

17 Aug 23
Port Fairy is often regarded as the fishing jewel in the South West. A small, welcoming town with all the services needed for visiting anglers, scenic views and a safe harbour and river mouth- not to mention excellent year round fishing. So what can you expect to be targeting on your next trip?


There's good reason so many anglers drive from hours away towing their boats to spend a summer at Port Fairy. The local game fishing as good as you'll find anywhere in the state with bottom bashing always productive when pelagics aren't playing. Kingfish are the most sought after target. Kings can be found right along the coast here, although catches are centred towards reefs, bommies and outcrops; especially to the east behind Killarney, Tower Hill and Helen Rock near the Cutting. Towards Yambuk can also be worth a look too especially if you're heading out to the island. Lady Julia Percy Island has long been one of Victoria's best kingfish spots, both for size and quantity of fish, although in recent years numbers have dropped but the average size has been high. Fish to 130cm were caught this year. Most anglers tend to slow troll the areas of the island where currents mix and swirl, concentrating baitfish. Casting at structure or visible fish is the other tactic to try; or you could jig on mid-water schools located on the sounder. Tuna also frequent the island and it's rare not to run into a school or two on the trip out. The tuna fishery is only getting stronger, with school fish to be caught basically year round these days. You could find them anywhere from 10m of water behind the lighthouse or inside the reefs; or beyond the continental shelf. Keeping an eye on fishing reports and asking anglers at the ramps is the best way to determine where the fish are on your trip as it varies from day to day. Most anglers troll skirts or divers for the school fish but casting stickbaits and poppers is the most exciting method. Barrel tuna are also no rarity off Port Fairy; although a little more seasonal and harder to find than schoolies. Behind the island often seems to hold them earlier in the year. And of course, deep dropping the shelf on a flat day is popular and you can expect hapuka, blue eye, ling or a host of other species. Gummies, schoolies, snapper and trumpeter become more common as you move in; and the old 40-50m area off Port Fairy is arguably the most popular area in summer for anglers looking to drift and pull up pinkies, sharks, flathead, gurnard, elephant sharks, morwong- who knows what else!

Salty Dog Charters is the local operator out of Port Fairy and is a guru when it comes to fishing the area; any time of the year Dan will be able to get you onto a great mixed bag.


With an easy boat ramp and plenty of parking, Port Fairy's inshore grounds are popular with small boats over the summer. Squid and whiting can be found around the lighthouse and reefs inside the bay, with pinkies super common over the sandy bay. Salmon also pop up especially during autumn and winter, and can be great sport when cast up with metals or fly. Beach fishing at East Beach near the golf club is well worth a go for salmon in winter; or mulloway, sharks and snapper in summer.


The Moyne River's artificial mouth, the Passage and estuary provide plenty of easy access for anglers without sacrificing fishing quality. The many walkways, piers and jetties on the Moyne offer a safe and easily accessible spot for anyone to cast a bait or lure. In the lower tidal sections, expect flathead, trevally, wrasse, salmon, mullet, bream, barracouta, whiting, yakkas and pinkies. Trevally would be the #1 target- they love pilchard cubes in a berley trail or small grub soft plastics. Bream are also common especially the further upstream you go. Fishing lightly weighted baits near the marina, or up near the road bridge on a high tide, will get you onto some solid fish. Cranka Crabs, soft plastics or mussel vibes are perfect for this area. The Moyne has also long been a famous spot for mulloway. They turn up all the way from the Passage to the top of the estuary; but the area between the boat ramp and the shallow, weedy Belfast Lough is the best area. Covering water casting 4" soft plastics, or bait fishing with mullet or spew worms is the go to. Huge amounts of mullet frequent the Moyne and keep the mulloway population well fed. Bream and the occasional estuary perch also frequent the same areas. This section of the Moyne doesn't get fished a lot but holds some really good fishing at the right times.


Lake Aringa, just north of Port Fairy, can be a confusing spot to access for visiting anglers but is stocked annually with trout by Fisheries and also holds tonnes of redfin, with a wooden jetty and gravel ramp. It's a popular spot to troll hardbodies for trout and reddies, or cast soft plastics/vibes. Some great redfin over 45cm get caught each season. Bait fishing with worms or mudeyes is also a great way to get amongst the fish. The freshwater stretches of the Moyne River are stocked with trout; just watch for snakes!