A win for anglers and threatened species

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A POSITIVE move for recreational anglers, regional tourism and native threatened species in the Central Tablelands recently took place with the first translocation of 70 brown trout from Winburndale Dam to the newly developed fishery at the Mill Ponds, Portland NSW.

The brown trout ranged in size from 150mm up to large fish around two kilos in weight and were captured from the Dam by NSW DPI Fisheries assisted by volunteers from the Central Acclimatisation Society (CAS). With Winburndale Dam closed to public access, the joint initiative to translocate the fish will allow recreational anglers a chance to fish for the trout which were previously un-accessible to the public.

The translocation will also compliment previous stockings of 3,000 fingerling and 50 brood stock rainbow trout averaging above four kilos in weight from NSW DPI Dutton Trout Hatchery and will ensure the new fishery – a result of an initiative between Wallerawang branch of CAS & NSW Fisheries – will provide outstanding recreational fishing opportunities for local and visiting anglers in a controlled environment.

Secretary of the Wallerawang CAS branch, Ray Tang said: “The Mill Ponds will soon be opened to public access as a catch & release fishery with some trophy trout on offer. Anglers will be allowed to target the fish with lures or flies and will need to bring their own fishing equipment.

“The fishery is located within a 5 minute walk from Portland town centre and ideally located for anglers with access to a range of shops for food & coffee and over time develop into a location for walking paths, picnic facilities as well as other recreational activities in the heart of a picturesque regional town within a short drive to other fishing destinations such as Lake Wallace, lake Lyal & Lake Oberon."

The translocation of the trout also delivers a positive outcome for the first 7,500 Macquarie perch released into the redfin free environment of Winburndale Dam in March, 70 years after the now threatened native species was declared extinct from the Macquarie River catchment.

Recent sampling by the DPI Freshwater Ecosystems Research Team recovered several healthy Macquarie perch providing positive early signs for the successful establishment of a new population of the threatened species in the catchment. Results from a previous successful project where Macquarie perch have successfully reproduced indicate the fish reach reproductive maturity at around 4-5 years of age and reducing the trout population in the dam will lessen the chance of predation of newly spawned Macquarie perch in future years, aiding the species recovery and establishment of a self-sustaining population of the iconic native species.

For more information about Mill Ponds: thefoundations.com.au

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