European “Redfin” Perch

Australian Castaways. Bait fishing for introduced European Species in Victoria.

Popular European fish have been introduced to the south eastern states of Australia for over 100 years, and their numbers are now very large within New South Wales, the Australian Capital Territory (Canberra) and Victoria.

European Carp


Loved by many fishermen in the UK, although mostly disliked in Australia.

The European Carp was introduced illegally into Australian rivers, while their presence was known for a long time, large scale migrations of european carp only occurred in the mid to late 1960s. They now populate at least 60% of all south eastern waterways. Although most grow to around 40cm and 4kg, the odd 8 to 12kg monster lurks in a few waterbodies around New South Wales and Victoria.

A starting point for anyone visiting Melbourne’s CBD is Albert Park Lake. This lake was originally swampland in settlement days and was later bricked up and turned into a partially man made lake.This location is well known with europeans as the place of the Australian Grand Prix.

Big carp (by Australian standards) around 60cm in length can be found throughout the lake, with a few larger specimens lurking if you can track them down.The main open sections of the lake provide a leisurely fishing experience for Carp, along with trout and yellowbelly (Australian Native Perch).

If you happen to catch a Yellowbelly / Golden Perch, the legal size in Victoria is currently 30cm, anything below this size must be returned to the water unharmed. You are also only allowed to keep up to 10 fish above 30cm.

There is no restrictions on trout catch limits or sizes, however European Carp is declared a noxious species in Australia, they are not allowed to be returned to the water alive, so any carp caught in Australia will need to be killed and disposed of. You can keep the carp to eat if you wish.

If you are after quick carp action when visiting Albert Park, head to the shallow divided sections off lakeside drive, these areas have been partially closed off and reeds grow out of the water here, however there is a few decent open spaces in which to place some bait. Large carp in these areas have spawned and due to their size, have difficulty finding their way back into the main lake, making them sitting ducks for bait fishermen.

They normally sit on the bottom without moving most of the time, or slowly cruising around for food. Some have got so large they even readily take fishing lures, however a large worm or a boilie (boilies are rarely used in Australia, so you will need to make your own) will bring in the carp one after another.

Keep in mind when fishing in Australia, you will require a fishing permit (licence), available from most fishing tackle shops at a very low cost.

Another well known area for large carp in Melbourne’s suburban area is Coburg Lake, with a recent catch of 12.3kg sighted and verified during a carp culling event.

European “Redfin” Perch

europeanredfinperchA well loved pest species, native to and very common in Europe, easy to find in Australia.

Redfin was introduced to the Murray Darling system in the late 1800’s, imported from England, most redfin stock in mainland Australia came from 7 original parent fish from Ballarat, Victoria.

The redfin perch is infamous in Ballarat, where their central lake known as Lake Wendouree produced the first breeding stock. Large redfin can still be found in this lake today, even though the lake has run completely dry for a substantial period of time. It has since recovered miraculously and is back to it’s original condition before the drought. Redfin of all sizes can be taken using large scrub worms, available from most tackle shops, along with large brown trout being a common catch also.

Trout is mainly caught by locals using what is known as “mud-eyes”, these are the developing larvae of dragonflies, when small they look like a little 1cm tear shaped organism but can develop almost fully with 6 legs at the front, 2 large circular eyes and a very large slightly slim body.

As the lake is thickly covered entirely with weeds, the trout and redfin tend to float along near the top looking for a quick meal, they however rarely come within 5 meters of the shoreline, so casting some distance helps.

Mudeye fishing requires a very high quality spin rod, with a very fine lightweight line. The insect larvae is not very heavy, so it takes a bit of skill to fish with them.

Using a kayak if you can get hold of one will solve many problems, as you won’t need to cast as far, and will cover more ground. At Lake Wendouree you will definitely catch more fishing using a yak than fishing lakeside.

If you can’t get hold of a kayak and are going to be lakeside fishing, you can’t go past very large scrub worms, all fish in the lake will quickly eat them up and you will likely get very good results.

Casting a fair distance is critical, and if the lake is rough mudeyes will be of little use to you, so with large worms on a sinker being a quick lure for redfin and a known meal for trout you can’t go wrong.

For more details on fishing in Australia, please visit the authors website “Ultimate Fishing” at