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2022 04 03 A surprise catch in the Meander RiverSometimes things are never as easy as they sound, two days left in January to catch two trout to reach my 350th for the season, should be quite easy shouldn't, well it wasn't. Here's how I struggled to reach it. Never take things for granted.

Trip one. Small tannin stream, 7:55 am to 10:30 am.

As the title states, getting my 350th trout wasn't easy at all, with just two trout needed to reach it I certainly did it the hard way. Every time I get close to achieving something, for one reason or another it never comes easy for me. In a way I suppose that's a good thing, but just for once it would be nice to reach it without any hiccups along the way. Like today for instance when I headed over to one of my favourite small tannin streams where I thought it would be a simple matter catching two trout to reach the 350th trout before the end of January. Now I don't normally fish the small tannin waters at this time of the year unless we've had some decent rainfall which we did have a week ago. When I arrived at the stream I could see it was on the low side but to me it still looked good enough to hop in and catch a few trout. The tannin water was still on the dark coloured side of things which I felt would be in my favour so I started the session off with a small #00 copper Aglia Mouche Rouge inline spinner.

2022 04 02 Got to love the colours in this rainbowA cool change is on its way so I thought I had best get a spin session in before it arrives as the day goes on, this trip was close to home, it was to the Mersey River at Kimberley. It's an area I've fished for many years and it used to be a great area to fish until we had the 2016 record floods. That flood changed the majority of the Mersey River system, after the floods most of my favourite areas were completely washed away, the river was just a wide open river with five bridges destroyed or severely damaged and most of the river foliage gone. When everything settled down and I returned to fish the river it was like I was fishing a new river, the river had changed so much.

carp utas 
Carp Management Program
Leader Jonah Yick gives
a presentation on the history
and current status of carp
in Tasmania to
Utas Field Ecology students. 

In mid-February, 30 University of Tasmania (UTAS) students enrolled in the unit “Tasmanian Field Ecology”, visited Lake Sorell and Crescent to undertake vegetation and invertebrate surveys around the wetlands. The Interlaken Lakeside Reserve is internationally recognized under the Ramsar Convention on wetlands, and supports a range of threatened and protected flora and fauna. To commence the field trip, the students listened to a presentation given by the Carp Management Program Team Leader Jonah Yick, on the history of carp eradication in Lake Crescent, as well as an update on the ongoing carp eradication efforts in Lake Sorell. Jonah also gave the students a demonstration on the key techniques used to catch carp in the lakes, which included backpack electrofishers, gill nets, fyke nets, and radio telemetry equipment. This unit was coordinated by Associate Professor Leon Barmuta and Dr. Robert Wiltshire, who both taught Jonah over 17 years ago!

Source: https://www.ifs.tas.gov.au/news/2022/feb/21/university-of-tasmania-field-ecology-students-visit-lake-sorell

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camden dam brown troutLast week we did a survey of the trout population at Camden Dam. This water was flooded for the first time during 2020-21. At full supply level it holds around 9,300 megalitres, supplying water to Scottsdale Irrigation Scheme. The dam captures inflows from the Camden Rivulet and several other smaller streams, so the potential for the recruitment of trout is very good. Rainbow trout are also found in some of the connecting streams.

We used the electrofishing boat to sample trout from several areas of the dam. The number of trout captured, 26 from 4.5 hours of electrofishing, indicates the size of the brown trout population at present is low, but most fish were in very good condition. Over half of the fish collected were between 1.0 – 1.5 kg (see Figure 1), with the heaviest fish weighing 1.7 kg. There were signs of recruitment from last year with a small number of fish around 130 mm in length. In addition, significant numbers of river fish had dropped downstream and were captured in the bays where the streams flow in. Most fish were feeding on subsurface items such as aquatic beetle larvae and snails.

 

camden

Figure 1: Length and weight plot for brown trout, Camden Dam, February 2022.

Camden Dam is showing promising results and is likely to continue to improve as a fishery over the next 3 – 5 years. Beyond this, the size of fish is expected to decrease as the population grows with high recruitment expected.

 

Source: https://www.ifs.tas.gov.au/news/2022/feb/16/camden-dam-trout-survey

2022 02 09 A beautiful tannin water wild brown troutToday is another day and with more rain forecast later in the day I headed back to my favourite tannin stream to hopefully catch five trout to reach another achievement with my trout fishing. The weather this morning was quite good, very humid and no wind, the water level was down to an ideal wading and fishing height too. I was also hyped up and raring to catch the trout, whether it be the five I need or even better ten or more would be great. Once in the stream I started casting the little #00 White Miller Bug spinner directly upstream into a nice bubble line, then retrieved it while giving the lure a light twitch every so often.

brushy release 
 A rainbow trout being
released into
Brushy Lagoon

The release of rainbow trout into regional public waters continued with 750 into Brushy Lagoon and 140 into Lake Kara yesterday. The fish averaged 1.3kg but ranged up to 2kg. This will provide some exciting fishing over the coming months.

For more information about access and the rules for these waters see the brochure for Brushy Lagoon and the fact sheet for Lake Kara.

Thanks to the Huon Aquaculture Group for donating these fish.

Source: https://www.ifs.tas.gov.au/news/2022/feb/04/rainbow-trout-to-the-nw-coast

2022 01 21 One of only five trout caught todayToday's mid afternoon trip was to one of my favourite tannin streams and my aim was to catch four trout to reach my 300th of the season. The conditions weren't all that good with an Easterly breeze, warm day with plenty of sun and a higher than normal water level. The one thing I disliked about today was that it's a good day for snakes, I had to walk through a lot of high grass and fallen tree branches to reach my entry point into the tannin water. It was 2:55 pm by the time I hit the water and started to flick a small #00 gold Aglia spinner into a small section of dark tannin water where I had a trout follow the lure on the first cast and retrieve. It was on the second cast and retrieve when a small brown trout took a liking to the gold Aglia, the first trout of the session was soon in hand. Even though it was a small brown trout this was just the start I was looking for, I was hoping it will continue to keep on going too.

 happy carp
 A happy crew
with a female
carp caught in
Lake Sorell

High rainfall in October resulted in Lake Sorell rising quickly. By the start of November, Lake Sorell was 150mm over the full supply level. The last time the lake had filled to this level was in October 2016, when there was still a quite large population of carp, and many were caught in traps set in barrier nets in front of the marshes. With the lake level and temperature also rising at a similar time this year it provided a good chance to test the theory that few carp were left, and to catch any remaining carp in the lake. The strong spawning cues were likely to draw carp into the shallows, making them easier to catch. However, it also meant that we had to be on high alert, given the risk of spawning in the marshes was possible.

The fishing strategy for the 2021/22 carp season was to focus on spawning related carp movement and blocking spawning. This has included blocking the marshes with barrier nets, trapping the preferred carp entrance points to these areas, and targeted gill netting combined with electrofishing.

Fishing started in late October, and a total of four carp have been caught up until the end of December. One carp was caught in a trammel net set while using the electrofishing boat, another was caught in a trammel net set behind the barrier net in the marshes, while two carp were caught in barrier traps. The carp ranged in size from 800 to 2344 grams, and all four were females. Of the four females, three of the fish had gonad tumours and could not spawn. The other female carp appeared to healthy, carrying 334gm of eggs, with a gonadosomatic index (GSI) of 20% which is quite high. However, all the eggs were completely intact, indicating she had not spawned. The last healthy, sexually mature male carp was caught on 16 December 2018. It is increasingly likely that any remaining carp in Lake Sorell are unable to breed.

41 503 carp have now been removed from Lake Sorell since their discovery in 1995. There has been no sign of spawning so far from juvenile carp surveys this season. Surveys will continue each month through until March. These surveys involve electrofishing with the boat and backpack, fine mesh dip netting, fine mesh fyke netting, and visual checks in spawning habitat. Targeted fishing will continue into January if good weather conditions arise.

Source: https://www.ifs.tas.gov.au/news/2022/jan/06/lake-sorell-carp-eradication-update

2022 01 01 Beautiful colours in this brown troutAfter a poor spin session in a tannin stream this morning with just one small brown trout being caught from five hookups, this afternoon I decided to give the River Leven at Gunns Plains a go. The reason I headed to this river was because it was down to a safe wading height, plus it's a river I love to fish even if it does run hot and cold with the trout. The trout can be hard to find at times and when one does come across them they can be very moody, they're either aggressive or they just sit behind the lure and tease you. Seeing as I had an angling club meeting meant it wasn't going to be a late finish, I would have to be back at the car around five thirty. It was 3:10 pm when I arrived at Gunns Plains and after a short walk it was in the river flicking a #1 Aglia Furi around in the very light tannin coloured water. It didn't take all that long before a nice medium size brown trout followed the spinner right up to where I was standing in the river. There was not a sign of aggression from it either, straight away I thought it's going to be one of those teaser days.

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