Do we underestimate our Redfin Perch

The Redfin as it is known to most Tasmanians is not favoured by many anglers - although there is no reason why this should be so. The Redfin will take flies, lures and bait readily and is quite good to eat. A lot of anglers consider it a nuisance good ENGLISH PERCH (Redfin-Perca fluviatilis) According to a Royal Commission report on the fisheries of Tasmania issued in 1882-3, the English Perch was first introduced to Tasmania in 1862 by two brothers, Morton and Curzon Allport.

They were carried in the vessel in aquaria, and eleven survived the voyage. On arrival in Tasmania they were confined in a small pond and the eggs and fry which in due course were obtained from them were distributed in streams through out the colony, where they thrived in the still water of weedy lakes and lagoons.

In 1868 a consignment of ten English Perch was received from England by A.T.Bell, of Ballarat, Victoria. They were held in a wire-netting enclosure in a reservoir, and nine weeks later it become necessary to lower the water in the reservoir to allow of necessary repairs being carried out, when it was found that seven fish had survived.

These were liberated in a swamp in Ballarat, which was later converted into an expansive body of water to become known as Lake Wendouree. These fish were the progenitors of the English Perch now so widely distributed throughout Australian freshwater streams.

In 1888 some of the fish from Lake Wendouree were transferred to ponds near Queanbeyan in New South Wales, and from there they escaped or were introduced into the Murray River system, where they have increased enormously in the most sluggish waters created by the building of weirs and dams.

The English Perch provides good sport, and when it reaches a sufficient size it is quite good to eat. Baits favoured by anglers consist of "Mud-eyes" (dragon-fly larvae), wood grubs, and crickets. Occasionally English Perch are taken on flies or spinners. It is rarely, if ever, pursued with a dry fly; but with a wet fly, especially a long tail, it provides good sport"¦Any fly that is given a bit of action to it will induce it to strike if it is feeding.

It is probable that there are more redfin (English Perch) caught on spinners than by any other method. Most trout spinners and wobblers will take redfin, but aeroplane spinners with a tag of red wool are the most popular amongst Victorian anglers"¦

There is no doubt that at certain times there is nothing a redfin likes more than a good bunch of juicy worms. The English Perch is not found in great quantities in the main streams where the water is liable to run strongly; it prefers the stiller waters and is quite prevalent in the South Esk river system.

Spawning takes place usually in August when water temperatures reach about 54 degrees F. It congregates into shoals in shallow water near the banks. The eggs are laid in long strings or ribbons and are usually attached to aquatic plants.

It has been known to grow to a weight of over 20 pounds but most specimens taken are less than 3 pounds in weight. Its food consists of crustaceans, insects and their larvae, and large specimens commonly eat small fish. (Fish and Fisheries of Australia - Roughley.)

The English Perch is common in streams in New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, Tasmania and Western Australia. In Tasmania there are some very big specimens in Lagoon of Islands - whilst it is also in large numbers in Lake Leake, the Bradys system, Lake Echo, Derwent River and others.

Redfin can often be seen feeding off the top in Lagoon of Islands and are excellent sport when hooked.

An old chap I was talking to the other day fish exclusively for "˜Redfin"and uses a fly dropper called a Missoulian Spook and spinner. Ninety percent of the Redfin take the fly.

Perhaps we should consider the Redfin more for the table and sport, rather than a pest.