Lake William Hovell Recreation Guide

Download Lake William Hovell Guide

Things to do


Autumn is the best time to catch Redfin and Trout however Lake William Hovell offers year-round fishing opportunities.

For the latest information on fishing in Victoria, contact Fisheries Victoria on 136 186, and don’t forget your Recreational Fishing Licence!


Camping is not allowed on the foreshore of the lake, but there are unofficial camp sites in the broader King River area.

Find out more on the Visit Wangaratta website or the Parks Victoria website.


Lake William Hovell is a popular spot for boating, kayaking and canoeing. Enjoy the peace and quiet of the lake and surrounds. 


A 5 knot speed limit applies at any level within 50 metres of the water's edge; other vessels, navigation aids, swimmers and fixed or floating structures; and within 100 metres of vessels displaying a dive flag.

Keep a lookout at all times for hazards and other vessels.

Refer to the Victorian Recreational Boating Safety Handbook at the transport Victoria website.

Water levels

GMW's customers use the water in our storages to produce food and fibre, supply towns and businesses, and protect and improve waterway health.

Visitors need to be conscious of potential hazards and consider their own safety and the safety of other users at all times. Water levels (high or low) can prompt increased safety measures, and changes to access for recreational areas and boating.

Safety information and alerts will be signposted at public areas and boat ramps.

Find out more about  current water level information.

Blue-Green algae

At times, the level of blue-green algae in storages can exceed safe limits. When this happens you should avoid direct contact with the water as the algae can cause;

  • skin rashes
  • itchiness
  • sore eyes, ears and nose
  • nausea.

If unsafe levels occur, warning signs will be positioned at major recreational areas.

Online Blue-green algae warnings are available or by calling the 24 hour GMW blue-green algae hotline on (03) 5826 3785.

About Lake William Hovell

Lake William Hovell location in map of Victoria

Lake William Hovell is part of the Hume region in north-eastern Victoria, located approximately an hour's drive south of Wangaratta. Opened in November 1971, the lake covers 113 hectares of land and at capacity holds 13,690 megaliters of water.

Set in mountain bushland on the King River, Lake William Hovell is a tranquil spot for fishing, boating and picnicking.

Today it supplies water for irrigated crops, vineyards and grazing properties along the King River from Cheshunt to Wangaratta.

Lake William Hovell is one of 23 lakes, dams and reservoirs managed by GMW to capture, store and deliver 70% of Victoria's stored water across the region.


Lake William Hovell has facilities to suit every visitor, including fishing, boating and picnic amenities.

A public boat ramp is also available near the northern end of the lake, accessible from Upper King River Road. 

At the southernmost section of the lake is the entrance to the Alpine National Park, which has a myriad of tracks for four wheel driving, access to fishing spots, walking and mountain biking.


GMW’s lakes, dams and reservoirs are ideal places for events. Find out more about hosting an event at one of our storages.

Don't forget your Water Smarts

Lake William Hovell Code of Conduct

Lake William Hovell is a beautiful natural resource. You can help care for the lake so it can be enjoyed now and into the future.

  • camping and campfires are prohibited in GMW reserves and on foreshore and lakebed areas
  • electric barbecues are available at some reserves (see map below)
  • refer to your local council for landfill services and consider the environment when disposing of your litter. Penalties apply for illegal dumping of rubbish
  • don’t take plants from the foreshore, or bring any in
  • don’t feed the animals or wildlife, or interfere with their habitats
  • boat wash can cause erosion, keep to 5 knots within 50 metres of the water’s edge
  • vehicles and trail bikes are only allowed on public roads within the reserve
  • all vehicles and trail bikes must be registered and users must be licenced
  • keep the waterway healthy by not using soap, toothpaste or detergent in the lake
  • dogs must be on a lead and/or under control at all times and aren’t allowed in the lake. Please clean up after your pets.

Review GMW’s recreational by-law 

Staying safe

Local boating rules are posted at all public boat ramps.

  1. Launching and retrieving vessels must occur from the designated boat ramp/s.
  2. To avoid congestion, complete any preparation prior to launching, or when returning from the water, away from the ramp.
  3. Parking is only permitted in designated areas.
  4. Ensure all safety equipment is on the vessel and operational, and that lifejackets are always worn.
  5. Be aware and comply with all waterway vessel operating zones.
  6. Always keep a lookout for waterway hazards and operate your vessel in line with weather and waterway conditions.
  7. Ensure no one is in or on the vessel when moving to and from the ramp.
  8. Shade structures are not permitted within 50 metres of either side of boat ramps.
  9. Stay clear of dam infrastructure.

Facilities Map

  Detailed map of the facilities at Lake William Hovell

Please Remember

  • No campling or fires allowed on GMW foreshore land.
  • Confine vehicles and motor bikes to formed public roads.
  • Take your rubbish home.