Missing Burrendong yellowbelly turns up two years later

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Professional fisherman Steve Hounsell caught and released this tagged $1,000 Yellowbelly from the Burrendong Easter Fishing Classic of 2018 recently.

OVER two-years ago, five yellowbelly worth $1,000 each were tagged and released into the waters of Lake Burrendong for the 9th annual Easter Fishing Classic. The five fish with a bounty on their capture remained at large for the entire event, with not one of them being seen – until now!

Local fisherman Steve Hounsell has long been harvesting pest European carp from the waters of the local dam in his role as a professional fisherman, and called the Inland Waterways OzFish Committee to let them know the tag number and location of where he managed to catch and release one of the prize-tagged fish from years gone by.

“We always try and avoid the natives when harvesting European carp, but we safely catch and release the odd one from time to time. The tag had Matt’s phone number on it, so I took a few snaps of the fish and tag before releasing it back into the dam, a few kilometers above Mookerawa,“ Hounsell said.

Steve has netted many tonnes of invasive carp from Burrendong over the years and said that some of the pest species appeared to have spawned when the water rose in lake Burrendong back in April, earlier this year.

“The biggest one we have so far this year was 9.1 kilograms, and some are now starting to drop eggs when we handle them now," he said.

It is still unclear if COVID-19 restrictions will prevent the Easter Burrendong Classic from again being run in 2021, with drought and now the virus halting the event from hosting its 10th anniversary competition for the last two years.

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