Location: Rocklands Reservoir (Fishing Guide)

21 Sep 23
Few lakes have come so far, so quickly, like Rocklands has. The lake has had fishing opportunities on offer since filling in 1953. Initially the lake was renowned for a trout and redfin fishery, although not anywhere near as productive or famous as nearby Toolondo despite it's huge size. Then the millennium drought hit, and carp began to take over, and fishing in the lake was really an afterthought when camping along the banks. Stocking of native fish began in 2017 with 50,000 Murray cod; and since then, millions of cod, golden perch and estuary perch have been stocked. This accompanies good numbers of redfin, trout and a few Murray cod and bass already present. The fish are growing fast and it's as good of a fishery as anywhere in the state today, with those 6 year old cod already over 80cm! The 2022 floods brought the lake right up to nearly 70%; which is an incredible amount of water! This rapid increase in levels flooded new ground and allowed the fish to fatten up even more.There's several boat ramps, and bush campsites galore along the hundreds of kilometres of shoreline. It's time to plan your Rocklands trip!

Murray Cod
The fish everyone wants to see at Rocklands is the Murray cod. There's already metre long Murray cod at Rocklands thanks to previous (illegal) stockings, and the size of the VFA stocked fish are now up to 80cm. Cod can be found anywhere in the lake, but like most impoundments, old river channels are the best areas. Trolling deep hardbodies through the old Glenelg channel will put you amongst a few. The most fun way to catch a cod is with a surface paddler on a warm summer evening or at first light, it's explosive and will keep you coming back time and time again! Casting spinnerbaits, chatterbaits and hardbodies through the thousands of standing trees is also productive. Purple, red and black are good lure colors on cod. Using your sounder to identify areas where trees may be laid down underwater is a good idea, and cast some swimbaits or spinnerbaits around these areas. Boulders or rockpiles on the bank are worth a go too, especially early in the season (like now) as they'll be the first to heat up in the sun. Bait fishing with a live yabby, cube of cheese or scrubworms will get you onto cod too, and can be done from the comfort of your camp.

Golden Perch

Golden perch, or yellowbelly, are perhaps the most common capture when lure fishing at Rocklands now. They've been stocked in huge numbers and are growing well; fish nudging 60cm, and very fat, are caught regularly. Bait fishing with live yabbies or worms will be worth a go from the bank; try a paternoster rig with a hook of each. Casting with vibes, 1/4oz spinnerbaits, soft plastics (3") and hardbodies off the shoreline or from a boat towards the timber is a great way to get a few. you don't need to run anything different to a normal bream, trout or redfin outfit, just bump the leader up to 10/12lb and use a dark lure colour. The lower end of the lake, especially near the dam wall (outside the exclusion zones) is a hotspot this time of year and into early summer.


For decades, redfin were the mainstay of fishing at Rocklands. Easily caught in big numbers using just about any lure or bait, they're still a popular catch now even with the native fish as a more attractive option. Bigger redfin come as a by-catch for cod or yellowbelly anglers, and you can get onto some big numbers of fish by downsizing to 2" soft plastics and hardbodies. Jigging the trees or schooled fish with vibes and trolling small hardbodies should get you onto a few too. Bait fishing with worms provides opportunity for redfin as well as every other fish in the lake. Any area in the lake will hold redfin in good numbers, although I suspect they may have been well thinned out by the cod!

Australian Bass/Estuary Perch

Some truly huge (55cm) bass call Rocklands home, which is as big as you'd find anywhere in Australia! It's pretty hard to target these fish unless you've had a bit of success and know where to try; it's a huge lake with a small bass population, which are also very fussy and finicky. Any lure you'd catch redfin or golden perch on will work on bass; so 3" soft plastics, mid running hardbodies and small spinnerbaits. Estuary perch have also been stocked in the lake and I haven't seen any caught yet, but they'll still be growing and should be catchable soon. If you really do want to catch a bass or perch, the Glenelg River downstream of Rocklands has really good numbers of fish which move up and down between the estuary and Balmoral.


Catches of trout from Rocklands have never made fishing headlines, but nonetheless some great trout still get caught. As long as trout continue to be stocked into the lake there will be browns and rainbows to 2kg on offer. There's lot of water between them and no natural spawning so numbers are small, but that pushes the average size up. A customer recently showed me a photo of half a dozen good sized (1.5-2kg) browns taken trolling Tassie Devils near the wall. If you're serious about targeting them, you'll be wanting to cover water; so fishing windlanes with hardbodies or wet flies, trolling Tassies or even bait fishing with worms/mudeyes would be the trick.


Although we all malign the introduced carp, they do provide a huge food source for our favourite cod and yellowbelly. Carp can be caught to over 6kg, anywhere in the lake. Most are caught by campers just casting worms, corn or bread from their campsites; unweighted, under a float or on the bottom, it's not very hard. Just remember it is illegal to release carp.