Primed and Ready to Go

Trevor Holmes ,Victorian Inland Charters gets us primed and ready to go fishing in the lakes in his backyard of Victoria.

After a few seasons of lakes and rivers begging for rains the gods were kind throughout the region and prayers were answered with most lakes full to overflowing coming out of spring and into summer. Lifelines were given again to Lake Toolondo with the current Andrews Labor government allocating a 10GL transfer from Rocklands Reservoir to what is widely known as the best trout fishery on mainland Australia.

With ripper Australian Bass at Rocklands  like this 40 cm model on offer why wouldn't Dani Reynolds be all smiles !

With ripper Australian Bass at Rocklands like this 40 cm model on offer why wouldn’t Dani Reynolds be all smiles !

Not only have we been inundated with water but the stocking of all species including Murray Cod, Trout, Golden Perch and Silver Perch have been very generous and widespread. To add to the joy there’s a healthy population of Bass and Estuary Perch also thriving in the Glenelg River between Harrow township and the wall of Rocklands for those intrepid anglers willing to work the sometimes tough and unforgiving snags and logs !

Looks like we are set for a few years of great fishing and with continued rainfall and careful management the sustainability and growth of fishing and tourism is again a real prospect bringing much needed tourism back for a prolonged period.


Currently sitting at 33% the lake is now going to see a couple of great seasons with the trout releases of late being a mixture of rainbows and browns starting to thrive and establish here. Mixed in with some larger fish released last July the prospects here are very good.

To date over 10,000 new releases have been liberated with a variance of sizes from fingerlings and yearlings to some advanced yearlings of 700-900 grams, backed up by some 2 year old fish to mix with the existing stock. With the real prospect of a 5 kg brown this year excitement surrounds the lake.

Given the biomass of Redfin is slowly building it’s a place well worth not only boating but a bank fish as well. Tassie Devils either trolled or cast are hard to beat with whites, oranges and pink colours best options. Yellow winged tassies work well just about anywhere in the Wimmera lakes also. Soft plastics and shallow running hardbody lures are also worth a flick. Bait fishing mudeyes under a bubble float is the best method here and hard to beat. Fly anglers will prevail on those warmer summer nights and mornings once hatches develop.

A lovely pair of Toolondo Brown trout which were taken land based by Dallas Dsilva.

A lovely pair of Toolondo Brown trout which were taken land based by Dallas Dsilva.


Just a hours drive out of Horsham near Balmoral township there’s a real buzz about Rocklands this year with it currently sitting at a level of 55% compared to around 18% this time last year. With a lot of talk about Australian Bass thriving here they have become a target of the serious anglers.

Redfin and carp are the main catches here but of late there has also been some Murray Cod landed as a virtual by-catch trolling for Redfin, trout or bass.

Given it’s a very good bank access fishery, large numbers of tourists flock here being one of not many free camping areas available in the state.

Once known as a great Trout fishery these other species seem to dominate catches but lately there has been some terrific trout landed too.

Trolling Tassie Devils for the trout is prime but the real each way bet is to run a mix of deep divers and surface lures. Rapala minnows and stumpjumpers are my personal choice as these will tempt all species. Bait fishos do very well with live yabbies and scrubworms either bounced along on the drift, tied or anchored over schooled up fish.

Peter Kalinakos had a morning out on Rocklands recently landing a few Redfin and this nice brown trout all trolling.

Peter Kalinakos had a morning out on Rocklands recently landing a few Redfin and this nice brown trout all trolling.


The health of the river has improved out of sight with the good rains and should be a great fishery for many years to come. Having been heavily stocked with Golden Perch but also holding other species of Redfin, Cod, Silver Perch, Catfish and Carp there’s terrific potential there either casting lures and plastics or bait fishing.

Working the snaggy banks will produce fish with diving lures or spinnerbaits during the warmer months as the fish not only take cover in the heat of day but wait in ambush mode for a passing feed. Shrimp, worms and yabbies are great bait for this not wanting to work different areas. Berley will bring the fish to you if used sparingly.  

Like most rivers the further you get form townships the better the catch rates improve so head out of town for best results.

Gun local angler James Perry showing off the local Redfin on offer !

Gun local angler James Perry showing off the local Redfin on offer !


Known to hold a very healthy population of Murray Cod, Golden Perch, Silver Perch, Carp and a few Redfin this lake should come of age this season. With a few meter plus cod being landed last year it’s going to be exciting times over the coming months.

Slow trolling deep diving lures and spinnerbaits is the preferred boating method but also bait fishing around the trees and rocky gravel banks produces too. Given there is plenty of bank access with legal camping available in designated areas there’s opportunity for those without boats to pull a good feed. Yabbies and Scrubworms are best baits here but bardi grubs when available will produce the better fish.

A lovely Murray Cod landed on a spinnerbait at Taylor's Lake last cod season.

A lovely Murray Cod landed on a spinnerbait at Taylor’s Lake last cod season.


With several lakes within a half hour drive of Halls Gap the prospects also are great here with a couple of the being slow starters this year but a true prospect over the coming months. Lakes Fyans (15 min drive) Wartook (25 min drive) and Bellfield (5 min drive) all produce great fishing from the bank as well as boating with Bellfield being a electric motor only lake.

Adam Hinch was delighted with his first ever Lake Fyans yellowbelly.

Adam Hinch was delighted with his first ever Lake Fyans yellowbelly.

Fyans is holding the tough fighting rainbows as well as Browns plus a great population of Redfin with a feed being real proposition here. Of late there’s also been the odd Golden Perch landed here as a bonus. Wartook also hold both species of trout and Redfin with great (but steep) bank access at the main wall where most fish are landed here. Tassie Devils and diving lures worked off the wall would be my advice but don’t rule out a fish on live Baits like yabbies, worms, minnow or gudgeon.

Bellfield has given up some terrific trout of late and this should continue through summer but timing will be critical here with the lesser light (dawn+dusk) being best. Redfin of the smaller size plague bait anglers as well as attack most lures but there is some bigger eating fish there if you can work through the small ones. Haslo had a stocking of Chinook salmon which could come to the fore this season after appearing non existent.

Chinook Salmon are a real chance at Bellfield over  the coming months like this beauty landed by Tim Beusmans.

Chinook Salmon are a real chance at Bellfield over the coming months like this beauty landed by Tim Beusmans.


Now there’s a word that gets most tourists and travelers licking their lips with anticipation ! After the great rainfalls of this year filling lakes,streams and swamps the prospects of getting a good feed of yabbies has bought people out of the woodwork to chase the lovely critters.

Many areas are already producing but the best options so far have been Green Lake and a few starting to go at Lake Lonsdale now. Ask locally for updates or hotspots as areas can produce one week and not the next, so keep updated by asking !

Nothing like a good feed of the local yabbies !

Nothing like a good feed of the local yabbies !


Also present at times throughout the summer are the  Victorian Water Police and Transport Safety Victoria ensuring that all vessels are registered, compliant and carrying the correct safety gear. Don’t risk a fine because really all your doing is compromising the safety of others and fellow boaters !

Another little warning is Safety around water with many snake sightings this year, a few bites and near misses we never can be too aware. Remember most people are bitten trying to provoke or harm a snake…just be careful especially with the youngsters and pets !

If you see or know of any illegal activities or offences regarding fishing please use the freecall number to report ASAP to : 13-FISH….that’s 13-3474 and provide as much information, registrations, locations as possible to help sustain our Fisheries.


Don’t be afraid to drop in to see the guys at Webbcon Marine who not only are the only boat dealers/repairers in town but also stock a huge range of fishing gear as well as bait. Given the guys fish as well they usually have all the good info on what’s biting where and what to use.

Alternatively you can also contact myself for up to date fishing reports or if your on Facebook check my page or send me a message as all of us are only too happy to give out some free advice. Happy and safe fishing….tight lines.

Facebook : Victorian Inland Charters

Trevor Holmes: 0438132130

Trevor Holmes

About Trevor Holmes

Trevor has a lifetime of experience with both freshwater and saltwater fishing. He offers you a relaxed attitude, great humour and willingness to pass on tips and techniques. Trevor is a fully accredited Coxwain and operates a fully compliant and insured craft.

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