Four Springs Lake now filling

After more than twenty years of coming to fruition the Four Springs Lake is now filling with water. This promises to be a fabulous fishery, located 20 minutes or so west of Launceston. Jim Ferrier reports.

The first phase of the Four Springs Project is now complete - the dam is built the valve is closed and Four Springs Lake is filling. The earth moving contractors have left the site after a satisfactory inspection with our engineer.

Grassing of the bank will occur when the rains come. A further examination will take place in six months to rectify any problems which may come to light during this time. Retention moneys are held by the Four Springs Management Group Inc. The pool of water in front of the dam has been electro-fished for the second time. No red-fin were found at either inspection despite lengthy work. Several well conditioned brown trout up to 400 gm were caught and released. A further electro-fishing of the creek below the dam for 200 metres revealed no red-fin or trout but, approximately 1 km downstream at the bridge over the Four Springs Creek, red-fin were found (consistent with the original survey) with several trout up to 100 mm. These latter were released into the Four Springs Lake - it's first stocking! On Sunday, 20th April the NTFA organised the presentation of a cheque of $4300 to fund the shelter shed for the disabled.

A distinguished group saw Michael Bassett (President NTFA) hand the cheque to Rod Lester - Chairman of the Four Springs Management Group. The Jetties and the boat ramp are complete. The Fly Fishers"Club of Tasmania has offered to build the public shed. Plans and a schedule of materials are presented and construction will begin as soon as the site has been levelled. There has been lengthy negotiations with Boral concerning the site of public access to the Lake. Boral were powerfully influenced by the fact that a boat ramp near their shelter shed would inevitably result in vandalism and damage to their property - with bush fire risk a predominant concern. They were reluctant to agree to any boat ramp off the road near the boom gate. A compromise was reached when a new access was made available by Forestry Tasmania through their property to the eastern shore of the lake.

The Four Springs Management Group welcomed this change as it allowed entry to deeper water for boats and gave anglers more access to the Lake shores. Boral constructed the road to the boat ramp (approx 1 km) and thinned and removed dangerous trees in the car park area. Boral have agreed to supply suitable trees to replace those removed and to place large rocks around the car park to deny access by 4WD vehicles to the surrounding properties. Timber has been removed from the "Island" and the royalties have been received in full. In addition, the timber royalties and some timber which would have been drowned or stood on the car park and or have to be removed for the new access were made available to the Management Group. Boral will gravel the access road and to level the site of the public shelter shed.

The State's contribution of $70,000 was made available through the Dept of Sport and Recreation and the Meander Valley Council's promised $20, 000 has been received.

The Commonwealth contribution included the payment of New York opportunity personnel for 26 weeks work. At present it is unlikely that more than $1,000 will remain at the end of the first part of the project. The Nomenclature Board has agreed to the name "Four Springs Lake" as this was required to legalise regulations which will be made. Fishing regulations have been sanctioned by the IFC. These include a speed limit of 5 knots, all legal forms of fishing allowed, no night fishing, no shooting, no open fires except in constructed fireplaces.

Four Springs will be managed as a brown trout water with suitable stockings to maintain quality brown trout fishing. Some rainbows will also be stocked.

The regulations concerning Parks and Wildlife Service have been agreed in principle but still have to be verified. No shooting, no fires, no collecting bait, speed limit, installation of interpretation boards. Parks and Wildlife Service, the Dept of Sport and Recreation and the Management Group will prepare a forward plan for future management. This will address safety issues on the site, with regular safety audits of structures and dam, upkeep of structures including vandalism, general maintenance such as car park grading and clearing of dangerous timber. The need for Public Liability being carried by the Management Group will be investigated. A fundamental problem to be addressed in the future funding of the Management Plan. It is now time for the Four Springs Recreational Committee to consider the future. The current Four Springs Management Group Inc. is set up specifically to build the dam and it's constitution limits it's legality to this. It is proposed that the Managements Group charter is extended to cover the future plan.

Noel Green and Jim Ferrier have indicated that they wish to resign from the Management Group when the dam is full (August 99) and it is suggested that two new delegates are appointed from the Four Springs Recreational Committee - preferable from local Branches or Clubs. The Four Springs Recreational Committee should consider this at it's next meeting. It is also suggested that while there has been some relatively low key publicity, it is considered necessary to have a "Grand Opening" when various Associations, Clubs, Companies, politicians, Councils and individuals are recognised for the help and assistance they have been to the project. This will be undertaken in conjunction with interested parties.

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