If you were to sit down with a piece of paper and draw the perfect southern holiday and fishery destination, you would without doubt come up with East Gippsland.
East Gippsland stretches from Sale in the south all the way up to Mallacoota just near the border to New South Wales. In between lies some of the best recreational fishing opportunities and family friendly holiday destinations in Australia.
Whether you like surf fishing, bream and estuary perch fishing in the estuaries, offshore light game fishing, free diving or freshwater fishing for trout, bass and perch, you will find your passion in East Gippsland.
Pete Jung with a Marlo bream caught on a hardbodied lure.
East Gippsland is home to around 80,000 people in around 15% of Victoria’s land mass. Given that there are nearly 5 million people on the rest of Victoria, it is no surprise that East Gippsland is free from crowds and congestion. The major industries in the area are forestry, commercial fishing, farming and of course, tourism.
Recreational fishing is a large part of the tourism activity in East Gippsland, and recreational anglers will feel very welcome in this region.
The major city in the region is Bairnsdale, with smaller centres such as Sale, Lakes Entrance, Orbost, Mallacoota and Paynesville spread along the coast.
The recreational fishing is spawned by the consistent rainfall in the hills and mountains to the west – these fertile rivers wind and tumble their way to the coast and meet the sea in many diverse locations and via some awesome estuaries.
The iconic Gippsland Lakes is a vast system of estuarine waters that mix the freshwater from the hills with the salt from the ocean. This mix sustains a widely diverse fishery, from monster flathead, big bream and estuary perch to the pelagic species as well as the tasty prawn run.
Further along the coast the legendary Snowy River emerges from the Snowy Mountains to its eventual meeting with the sea at Marlo. Add to that the smaller rivers and estuaries at Bemm River and Mallacoota and the picture is painted – piscatorial perfection!
Bairnsdale is set on the banks of the Mitchell River, 285km east of Melbourne and is a thriving provincial centre of 12,000 people. Once home to steam boats and traders who arrived in the area in the 1850s, Bairnsdale is now the commercial and administrative hub of East Gippsland.
Non-angling visitors can explore the town’s rich heritage including the rotunda in the centre of town, the spectacular murals and architecture of St Mary’s Church and Bairnsdale Court House, which is noted for its 19th century architecture. There are also myriad galleries, cafes and dining options, as well as some exceptional tackle stores.
Being close to the many lakes, rivers, mountains and forests, Bairnsdale is a destination for year-round angling, with many spots within easy reach for the day tripper.
Families basing themselves in Bairnsdale can enjoy an excellent range of accommodation options and other attractions to round out a great holiday.