Warrnambool is a big, tidy city. It’s a great place to take the family for a holiday, particularly if you have fishing on your mind. All forms of angling are available, but the most popular water is the Hopkins River estuary. It is one of the state’s best waters, with good numbers of bream, estuary perch, mullet and even mulloway when conditions are favourable. When the mouth is open to the sea, the Hopkins River is tidal for about 8 km, almost to Allansford.
The Hopkins River estuary has two convenient boat ramps. The first is at the bottom of Jubilee Park Road, and the other about a kilometre upstream from the main road bridge.
Land-based fishing in the water is also easy and accessible. The refurbished bridge near the mouth of the river is a popular destination, and lure and fly-fishers often wade around the Jubilee Park area for bream and perch.
The Merri River, to the west of town, can produce excellent trout fishing due to stocking by Fisheries Victoria. The river contains some of the largest riverine trout in Victoria, rivalling many better known south- west lakes in terms of size and quality. When released, most trout are yearlings weighing 50–150 g. In productive water like the Merri River, these fish reach weights of over 1 kg in their second year of life, and some of the longer lived trout grow to over 2 kg and live for three or four years.
The Merri River is open all year to fishing up to the Bromfield Weir.
Levis Beach to the west of the city and Logans Beach Whale Sanctuary, adjacent to the Hopkins river mouth, can produce good catches of salmon, yelloweye mullet and sometimes mulloway.
Offshore at Warrnambool, beyond the 30 m line, anglers catch mako, blue, gummy, thresher and school sharks. Snapper can be caught over the reefs, both inshore and offshore, while nannygai and blue morwong work along the 25 m line. On the inshore reefs, salmon, sweep, snook, couta and pike are best fished with berley and unweighted bait. Salmon and silver trevally also haunt the close-in reef areas and crayfish (southern rock lobster) fishing is popular over the summer.
In Warrnambool Harbour, anglers fishing in among the boat moorings also do well for King George whiting and mullet. The breakwater is a popular venue where anglers catch mainly salmon, barracouta and pinkies, although snapper to 8 kg have been caught.