Recent Stocking of the Coal Riverby Sarah Graham
The Inland Fisheries Service stocked the Coal River with 5,000 wild stock brown trout fingerling weighing around 20 g, on Tuesday 22 February. The young fish were marked by a clipping of the adipose fin so that they can be identified in future surveys to monitor the stocking effectiveness. They were put into 14 different locations in lots of 3-400, from below Craigbourne Dam to Fingerpost Bridge, south of Campania.
Picture: Seb Horbushko, IFS stocking the Coal River with wild brown trout fingerling
This stocking is part of the Service’s management priority this year to supplement natural brown trout populations in selected rivers which are recovering from the impact of drought conditions. A further aim is to monitor the effectiveness of stocking in lowland rivers by conducting follow up surveys in order to consider further river stocking in the future.
The fingerling were sourced from Great Lake spawners last May and grown at the New Norfolk hatchery. The Service harvests wild brown and rainbow trout from eggs and grows them to fry or fingerling stage under the annual hatchery and stocking program. They are generally used to supplement wild trout populations with poor or low natural recruitment in lakes, mostly in highland areas of the State, but occasionally also in lowland rivers.
Drought conditions prior to 2009-10 season devastated resident trout populations in the Coal River and Craigbourne Dam was virtually empty. Good rainfalls since then have enabled the Service to reinvigorate the fishery at Craigbourne Dam with stocking of a combination of juvenile and adult, domestic and wild fish, and also to look now at supplementing wild fish stock in the Coal River. These juvenile fish will need a season or two – depending on the available feed – to grow to a catchable size.