Lake Macquarie anglers tag 400 flathead!

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A SMALL group of dedicated anglers – including Fisho columnist Mark "Wilbur" Williams – has tagged more than 400 trophy-size (over 70cm) dusky flathead in Lake Macquarie.

Working as part of NSW DPI's Trophy Flathead Program, the team of volunteer fish taggers from Lake Macquarie, together with similar groups in the St Georges Basin and Tuross Lake, are providing valuable information on the important role of big female flathead.

Dusky flathead are one of the most accessible and popular sport and table fish available to NSW recreational fishers.

The tagging work carried out under the Trophy Fishery Program provides information on the availability of large mature flathead, their movements and growth rates.

Fisho columnist Mark "Wilbur" Williams with a tagged trophy-size flathead.

This data can help DPI design management strategies which can be used to ensure a abundant and diverse flathead fisheries into the future.

Here are some flathead statistics from the Lake Macquarie program:

  • 418 dusky flathead tagged so far.
  • Average length of tagged fish is 74.5cm.
  • Largest fish 95.5cm (caught by Mark Williams).
  • 50 reported recaptures (recapture rate just below 12%).
  • Two tagged flathead reported as recaptured twice.
  • Most recaptured fish stay within 1km of release point, indicating that they are predominantly residential.
  • Furthest distance travelled (that we know!) was more than 30km. The fish was tagged inside Lake Macquarie and was recaptured off Stockton beach after 132 days at liberty.
  • The longest time at liberty (time between tag and recapture) is 736 days.
  • The shortest time at liberty is only four days!
  • Recaptures show high variability in growth. The most growth seen in a recaptured flatty was an impressive (74cm to 82cm) 8cm in 478 days.

Stay tuned for an update from the St Georges Basin and Tuross flattie tagging programs.

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