Welcome to the Rocklands Reservoir Fishing Guide. Rocklands Reservoir is a great fishing location past Horsham on the Glenelg river heading towards the Grampians. Located in the outer parts of Victoria only 10 minutes away from the township of Balmoral. The reservoir was finished being built in the 19050s and is now one of the largest water irrigation supplies in the immediate area.

With beautiful scenic views its a great place to take the family, perhaps on your way to visiting the Grampians. Unfortunately, drought has been a big issue at this location with water levels reaching very low levels over the last 20 years. When the water levels are up it offers great trout and redfin fishing. Currently, water levels are around 30% capacity.

Things to do Rocklands Reservoir

With beautiful scenic views its a great place to take the family, perhaps on your way to visiting the Grampians. There are close by caravan parks, open grasslands and bbq facilities. Onsite amenities include public toilets and boat ramps. Camping is allowed in certain areas. The reservoir is popular for recreational water activities such as swimming, boating, water skiing, jet skiing,  kayaking and fishing. It’s also a great place for hiking and photography.

Nearby attractions include the Balmoral golf course and historical aboriginal art.

Fishing Lake Rocklands Reservoir

At Rocklands Reservoir you can target redfin, rainbow and brown trout, bass, golden perch, Murray cod & carp. There is a high volume of structure around the lake such as submerged trees which is a great location to target residing fish. As part of the target 1 million by 2020 and 10 million by 2022 initiatives, the reservoir has been heavily stocked with trout and golden perch making this an amazing fishing destination in years to come.

If your targeting trout then trolling tassie devils is a great option. Other staple baits include Gudgeon, minnows, Power bait, Yabbies, Mudeye and a wide range of soft plastics & lures. Click here to see our best lures and plastics when targeting Redfin. Scrub/earthworms will also work well but be prepared for an avalanche of carp which will eagerly take a scrubby. If your happy to target carp then also don’t be afraid to place some corn kernels on a hook. When targeting trout and redfin fish as light as possible which will make the experience more fun and improve your chances. Redfin will actively take many baits or lures. We encourage you to read our detailed guide on the best lures and plastics to catch Redfin. 

When targeting golden perch ( yellow belly ) it pays to fish a little heavier, therefore, a slight upgrade to a 2-4 or 3-5 kilo rod coupled with a 2500-3000 reel loaded with 6 or 8-pound braid. If your sight is set on catching a big cod then you’ll need to up your outfit. A 6 foot to 7-foot rod in a 4-8 kilo or 6-12 kilo class rod and a quality baitcaster reel spooled with 20 to 50-pound braid finished with a solid Fluro carbon leader of equal strength. There is a whole range of bait caster options suiting different budgets.

Spring is the best time of year for targeting golden perch ( yellow belly ) and cod. They can be caught at any time of the day but often the last 2 hours of daylight can be the best. Trout are more active in the colder months and redfin ( perch ) are more active in the warmer months. Again you can catch all these different species during any part of the day, though some fish will be more active at Dawn and Dusk.

Recommended baits Rocklands Reservoir

  • Scrub worms
  • Powerbait
  • Yabbies
  • Mudeye
  • maggots

Recommended lures Rocklands Reservoir

Targeting Bass at Rocklands Reservoir

Bass

Bass pound for pound they are considered the best sports fish on the planet. Often mistaken with the Estuary Perch these small silverfish love to smash surface and shallow diving lures. The action can be frantic on warm balmy evenings with low wind. listen for the sound of breaking water. Small surface poppers, cicadas, blades, surface minnows and pencil lures work well here. So do shallow diving hardbody lures. Noteworthy options include bent minnows, Rapala countdown series, nories laydown minnows and shallow diving cranks. Basically, anything that doesn’t dive too deep and makes a good vibrating action will work well. You can use any colour choice we often start with silvers that mimic small baitfish or mullet.

Bass also respond well to soft plastics lightly weighted. Including curl tails, paddle tails and minnow imitations. The trusty 2.5-inch grubs and minnows an excellent choice. We would recommend mixing up the retrieval speeds and pauses and playing around with different colours. Where possible fish along the structure and stay alert for signs such as breaking water.

Bass although powerful requires finesse. We recommend an ultralight fishing combo consisting of a 1-3 or 2-4 kilo spin rod around 7 foot in length. Coupled with a 1000 or 2000 size reel spooled with 2-8 pound line and equivalent fluorocarbon leader. When bait fishing uses a 2-4 kilo rod around 7 foot in length. Coupled with a 2500 size reel either a float or small running sinker to a swivel and very fine leader.

Targeting Trout at Rocklands Reservoir

Trout

We would highly recommend that you read our detailed guide on how to catch trout which details our favourite lures, baits and techniques. You can follow trout stocking timelines by reading the Victorian trout stocking guide as part of the target 1 million by 2020 and 10 million by 2022 initiatives.

When targeting trout with lures we recommend using shallow diving hard body minnows, metal spoons, spinners, Tassie devils and soft plastics which are also very effective on trout. If your bait fishing, then Mudeye, scrub worms, power bait, yabbies and minnows suspended from a float or a running sinker rig are great options when targeting trout at this location. Trout are more active in cold conditions with most catches on the first and last light of the day.

We recommend targeting trout with a 1-3 or 2-4 kilo fishing rod coupled with a 1000, 2000, or 2500 reel spooled with 4-8-pound braid and equivalent fluorocarbon leader. If there are larger trophy size trout around than you can go heavier moving up the scale to a 3-5 kilo class spin rod spooled with fine 8-12-pound braid and equivalent fluorocarbon leader.

We conducted a test to see which would perform better for stocked trout powerbait or lures. Watch the video below to find out the results which were interesting.

Targeting Redfin at Rocklands Reservoir

Redfin

We recommend targeting redfin with a light spin outfit. This will make the experience more enjoyable and improve your catch rates. A 1-3 or 2-4 kilo fishing rod coupled with a 2000, 2500 or 3000 reel spooled with 4-8-pound braid and equivalent fluorocarbon leader should be perfect.

Redfin respond really well to lures and soft plastics so do check our guide on the best lures for catching Redfin When using soft plastics, we highly recommend curl tails, minnow imitations, and paddle tails in both natural and bright colours. Rigged with a jig head that’s 1/8 through to 1/20 in weight. The most effective way to use these is to cast towards visible structure and slow roll the soft plastic with lifts and pauses for the retrieve.

Shallow diving hard body lures, blades and vibes are also very effective in this system. So are traditional spinners and Tassie devils in bright colours. Metal spoons also play a role allowing you to cast great distances and targeting the bigger size reddies. Just remember they are quite heavy and very prone to snags in small inland systems like this one.

Targeting Murray Cod at Rocklands Reservoir

Murray Cod

Murray Cod is Australia’s largest freshwater fish that grows to impressive sizes. Cod are an ambush predator that love the cover of structure so make sure you concentrate your efforts on any visible structure including logs and submerged trees. They will also seek shelter in deeper holes and rock ledges. Cod are most active in low light conditions such as sunrise and sundown. A medium to heavy bait caster rod is ideal when targeting cod. This might be a stiff 6-foot rods in 6-10 kilo class matched with a suitable size bait caster reel spooled with 20lb to 30lb braid and 30lb to 40lb leader.

Good lure options for Murray Cod include hard body lures, surface lures, spinnerbaits, swimbaits, shads, lipless crankbaits, paddle tail and curtail soft plastics. These should be worked slowly or tolled from your boat or kayak if access is permitted. There are some amazing surface lures on the market these days including imitation mice, frogs, ducks, and snakes with realistic action that are fun to target cod with. Bait anglers can target Murray cod with live yabbies and worms.

Targeting Carp at Rocklands Reservoir

Carp

There is a large volume of carp in local lakes however they are fun to catch and you can learn more about catching carp have a read of our detailed guide to carp fishing around Victoria. When targeting carp standard baits such as corn, bread, maggots work great for carp here. Using a simple running sinker rig with a pea-size sinker works great in this area. So, does suspending baits using a float. We have also fished well using unweighted baits. You can also target carp with hard body lures and soft plastics. This is a difficult technique that generally requires sight casting. Which means spotting a nearby carp and casting right in there are and working the lure of plastic slowly hoping they will strike. Its tough but very rewarding when you catch a carp using this method. Most however will stick to targeting them with bait.

For rod selection, a 3-5 kilo rod coupled with a 4000 size reel is very suitable. You could even fish a little heavier with rods designed for snapper that are generally 4-7 kilo 7 foot in length. For fun I have caught some monster size carp using 2-4 kilo rod and 6-pound braid. But I am prepared to lose some good fish in the process. We like to target carp on sundown particularity in the warmer months. This is often when you see carp swimming along the edges or jumping out of the water around September-November which is their spawning season. European carp must not be returned to the water. Always carry your Victorian fishing license.

A simple yet effective fishing rig here is to thread a small running sinker through the mainline shown in blue, which is usually around 8 pounds. Then tie a medium swivel to the end allowing the sinker to run up the mainline freely. Then tie on the other end of the swivel 50cm of 8-pound fluorocarbon leader (the leader is shown in grey ). Finished with a hook. I generally use a size 6 bait keeper hook or size 10 long shank which is perfect for corn kernels or scrub worms, however, you can also use small treble style hooks which is a better setup if you using bread.

Running sinker fishing rig

If your getting snagged up than you can also use a flot rig. Attach a quill or bubble float to your mainline. Thread the line through and adjust the length using a size 6 bait keeper hook or size 10 long shank keep your bait suspended at a good depth. Ideally cast down breeze which will stop the float from coming back to you. If you’re not getting bites then adjust the line depth and If necessary add a splint shot to add weight.

Float fishing rig

 

Targeting Yellowbelly at Rocklands Reservoir

Golden Perch

Yellow belly AKA Golden Perch is a beautiful freshwater fish found in this system. With a rich food source available the yellowbelly here grow too thick and plump sizes. Good lure choices include curl tail soft plastics with the zman 2.5-inch grubz and Gulp 3-inch grub minnow both in black are standout choices. Soft vibes such as the Zerek fish trap, Jackall transams and Samaki vibelicious are great options. lip-less crank-baits such as Jackall TN50 and TN60 continue to be very popular so do blades such as the eco gear ZX40 with stinger hooks. Other favourites are the reliable stump jumpers, spinnerbaits, bassman spinners, large grub style soft plastics in dark colours.

Soft plastics are worked best on a 1/8 or 1/4 jig head slow-rolled along any structure. This works particularly well when tying your boat or kayak up against trees and working the soft plastic slowly up against the tree and adding some noise to the action by tapping the butt of your rod or by hitting the jig head into the timber. This brings out the predatory nature of the yellowbelly. Take advantage of down scan and side scan technologies on your sounder and spend some time moving between the structure to find the fish. Other lures to can be worked amongst the timber but in general work really well in open water being slow-rolled or trolled.

When it comes to rod selection we generally use a light spin rod around 7 foot in length in 1-4, 2-4 or 3-5 kilo class paired with a 1000, 2000 or 2500 size reel. Spooled with 8-12 pound braid and an equivalent fluorocarbon leader.

Baitcaster rods and reels are a very popular choice when targeting yellowbelly. Good options include a 3-5 or 4-6 bait caster with a 2000 bait caster reel. When bait fishing a 7 foot light rod paired with a 3000 size reel. Good bait rigs would include a paternoster rig with a small sinker at the bottom or a running sinker rig with scrub worms or yabbies.

Acknowledgements

Images of fish supplied VFA and DEPI. Header from Alchertron. All other images and videos shown on the Rocklands Reservoir Fishing Guide page are Fishing Mad originals.

Additions or Corrections for this location

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