Location: Glenelg River, Victoria (Fishing Guide)

07 Sep 23
The Glenelg is one of the best river fisheries around. It's by far one of the most productive mulloway waters in Australia, boasts possibly the biggest estuary perch population for hundreds of kilometres, and also some fantastic bream in the lower reaches. There's some awesome fishing up in the freshwater for bass, trout, redfin, the famous Rocklands up the top and even throws in a few surprises like gummy sharks on occasion! If you've never made the trip across, now's the time. Let's take a look at the river from the bottom to the top.


The Glenelg ends with a wide, shallow entrance to the exposed Southern Ocean. This lower end of the river is a good spot when you can match up the right tides; fish will be constantly moving in and out of the mouth. The deeper channel is a good spot for a shallow water mulloway, especially after dark when they're out hunting the shallows. It's a good area to fish with soft plastics over the shallows for bream too. Expect estuary perch, salmon and the odd flounder around here. Landbased options are also found here walking the sand flats from the mouth car park. Heading upstream to Nelson, you'll notice many jetties, shacks and of course the bridge; all these structures hold good bream and perch. Schools of perch are often stacked in front of the ramp and the bridge and can number in their hundreds. Landbased fishing options are a plenty here and easily accessible. Lightly weighted prawns or crabs can get you in some good bream year round, and small 2-3" plastics fished around dark will produce plenty of perch. The bridge is a good mulloway spot; use your sounder to find the fish around the pylons. As you head further up, past the Isle of Bags island and Simpson's Landing ramp the river opens into a wide, straight area; this deep part of the river is possibly the best for mulloway. Taylor's Straight can be fished with bait (mullet, squid) at night, trolled with live mullet or deep hardbodies, or you can cast the edges with plastics or hardbodies after the mulloway. Interestingly, the odd strange by-catch comes to those chasing mulloway in Taylor's Straight; the odd gummy shark pops up through here. Mulloway often come as by-catch for those chasing bream and perch as there's some prime snags and rockwalls above here. From Taylor's Straight for dozens of kilometres up to Wild Dog Bend, the river is fairly similar; tall rocky cliffs and bushland lining the banks; with rockwalls, snags, reed beds and mudflats providing constant fishing spots all the way along. Many anglers park/anchor their boat up in the reeds and camp the night, with a couple of bait rods out after mulloway. Then there's a mad rush with half asleep anglers trying to work out which rod to grab! You could spend days under electric motor casting the edges through here casting at every snag; try lures like the Z-Man Grub and Slim Swimz, Hurricane Sprat, Daiwa Bait Junkie, Ecogear SX40, Daiwa Double Clutch and OSP Bent Minnow. Summertime sees spectacular surface fishing in the mornings and evenings for perch so don't miss out on that. There's a few boat ramps and campgrounds to access your chosen stretch of river; Pritchards is a good base for a few days fishing. The river begins to narrow once you get above Wild Dog Bend and closer to Dartmoor; let's look at the freshwater section.


The freshwater section of the Glenelg has always had decent fishing but in the last decade it's improved exponentially, especially for native fish. Following the millennium drought, freshwater flows resumed to the Glenelg from the upstream Rocklands Reservoit, rejuvenating dried out sections of river. Since then, environmental watering of the river year-round allows for the river to be flushed out, for fish to move wherever needed and restore the system. In addition, there's been a lot of work done to restore habitat and remove any barriers in the stream which prevent fish passage. What does this mean for the fishing? Bream and perch have moved up, in large numbers, to areas they haven't been seen for decades. Today you can catch perch and the odd bream in the freshwater at Balmoral... that's 320km from the estuary, a very long swim! There's also some giant bass, redfin, rainbow trout, tupong, blackfish, catfish, yellowbelly, carp and tench in the freshwater. Certainly no shortage of fish to catch! There's hundreds of deep pools, many of these rarely get fished. Lure casting with plastics or suspending hardbodies will get you amongst the predators like bream, perch, bass, trout and redfin. Bait fishing with lightly weighted shrimp and scrubworms is a good way to relax and catch anything around. Most fishing is concentrated around the townships of Dartmoor, Harrow and Balmoral; the latter also gives you access to Rocklands Reservoir. Fulham Reserve is also a popular camping spot and there's some good fish in those pools too. Most spots are best fished in a canoe or kayak; bank fishing can be productive but you'll be limited to fishing just one side of the river. A small tinny can be launched in a few of the pools too. Rocklands will be covered in a separate article; but it's one of Victoria's largest lakes and is now stocked with Murray cod, yellowbelly, estuary perch and trout; as well as holding bass, redfin, and carp. There is certainly plenty to explore in the freshwater reaches of the Glenelg!