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Keeping it 'reel': Understand rules around fishing in local waterways

Fishing in waterways and manmade lakes on all Council lands is a prohibited activity and penalties apply, find out why.

Rear view of fisherman fishing with rod on lake

Keeping it 'reel': Understand rules around fishing in local waterways

Casting a line out and waiting for a fish to bite is a much-loved hobby. However, it's important to understand where you can and can't fish in our region.

Fishing in waterways and manmade lakes on all Council lands is a prohibited activity in accordance with Council’s By Law 3 and penalties apply.

Most waterways, reservoirs and man-made lakes across the Adelaide Hills region have been either intentionally (or accidentally) stocked with exotic fish species, such as Redfin Perch, European Carp, and Brown and Rainbow Trout and more.

There are also approximately 20 species of native freshwater fish found in the region, but these are not commonly targeted by anglers, given their small size.

Whilst recreational fishing is a common pastime enjoyed by many in the region, there are often adverse impacts on wildlife and the environment associated with activity.

These include:

  • Active disturbance of native wildlife utilising riparian habitats
  • Damage to riparian habitats through trampling native vegetation
  • Injury & mortality to native wildlife caused by entanglement or ingesting fishing line/hooks
  • Lead contamination to waterways and wildlife from fishing sinkers
  • Pollution of waterways through litter such as fishing line, hooks and other rubbish
  • Deterioration of water quality due to excess nutrients caused by ‘burleying’ waters to attract fish, and/or cleaning fish near waterways.


For these reasons, Council works to protect the waterways and manmade lakes on Council lands by prohibiting fishing.

Fishing enthusiasts looking for spots to fish legally use nominated SA Water reservoirs that permit recreational fishing, such as:

  • Happy Valley
  • South Para
  • Myponga
  • Warren
  • Bundaleer
  • Beetaloo

You can find more information about reservoir fishing on the Department of Primary Industries and Regions website.

If you are keen to learn more about recreational fishing rules in the Mount Lofty Ranges, please see the Department of Primary Industries and Regions (PIRSA) website at: www.pir.sa.gov.au/recreational_fishing/rules

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