Maribyrnong River

A black bream fish caught in the Maribyrnong River, Steve Cooper

The age-old adage about the grass supposedly being greener somewhere else applies to fishing around Melbourne. Many anglers who head out of town do so because they don’t believe any serious fishing is possible within sight and smell of the Big Smoke, but replacing a eucalyptus canopy with one of tiles doesn’t automatically mean there are no fish to catch.

In the Maribyrnong River you can catch bream as far upstream as Canning St bridge in Avondale Heights. Look against the bluestone-lined banks, or under bridges and mooring jetties. On a visit to the Essendon Angling Club, several members told of their successes in the Maribyrnong River. The bulk of the fish were bream, but there was the occasional mulloway. Many of the members fished along the river adjacent to their clubrooms, a few hundred metres upstream from the Anglers Rest.

Suburban expansion has made the river an exciting place to fish, especially for black bream. The growth in mooring pontoons and bridge supports has replaced fallen trees in providing shelter for this shy, sometimes finicky fish, and the upsurge in popularity of lure fishing, particularly soft plastic and rubber lures, has turned the river into an exciting and productive area.

I fished the river in company with Cameron Whittam who loves working soft plastics – he had caught and released up to 30 bream in one session on the river. I was surprised to find the river in such a healthy looking state and with plenty of fish. We fished near the Canning St bridge. Bream were caught near the bridge and  along the riverbank both  upstream and down for about 100 m.   When we moved downstream, to The Boulevard in Maribyrnong, upstream from the Anglers Tavern, we found the fish beneath a long floating pontoon in front of the Essendon Angling Club house. The best bream for the session topped 32 cm, although there were plenty that were a bit short of legal length.

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