Hundreds of fishers celebrate fantastic freshwater fishing at 2021 Troutfest

Despite the morning’s ominous grey clouds and the threat of rain, fishers’ spirits could not be dampened at 2021 Troutfest today as more than one thousand trout were released into Drakesbrook Weir.

About 200 people attended the annual community fish release event this morning to help hand-release rainbow trout and brown trout into the much-loved fishing spot, near Waroona.

The sun came out as the community helped hand-release trout into Drakesbrook Weir. Pictures: Zach Relph / Recfishwest

Fisheries Minister Don Punch was among those to roll up his sleeves to release fish at Troutfest, alongside Murray-Wellington MLA Robyn Clarke, Shire of Waroona President Mike Walmsley and Recfishwest CEO Dr Andrew Rowland.

Held by Recfishwest in partnership with the Shire of Waroona and supported by Alcoa, Troutfest celebrates the fantastic freshwater fishery in the State’s south.

“Although there was a chance of rain, it was fantastic to have so many people join us to safely release rainbow and brown trout of various sizes,” Recfishwest Operations Officer Aaron Moses said.

“Troutfest is a much-loved community event that’s eagerly anticipated and well-attended by keen fishing families.

Check out this underwater shot photographer Angus Line took of one of the ex-broodstock brown trout being released at Troutfest. Picture: Angus Line

“Troutfest really does show how the freshwater fishery in the State’s south is highly-valued by WA’s recfishing community.”

Trout fishing getaways to the Peel, South West and the Great Southern is reported to provide a combined annual stimulus to regional economies of more than $20 million.

Following the fish release, Recfishwest held a free fishing clinic for the next generation of freshwater anglers.

About 30 happy youngsters learnt the basics of fishing while trying their luck at catching a trout – many of which were lucky enough to land one.

📸 Are you in one of the photos below? Pictures: Zach Relph / Recfishwest

Western Australian Trout and Freshwater Angling Association, the WA arm of the Australian Trout Foundation (ATF) and Southern Forests Freshwater Angling Club also provided free fly-casting tuition and fly-tying demonstrations.

“About 9,500 freshwater fishing licence holders enjoy fishing for trout at many spots from Waroona to Pemberton, including Drakesbrook,” Aaron said.

“It’s easy to see why many anglers love exploring the South West’s freshwater fishing locations to try and catch a trout – Troutfest definitely celebrates the great freshwater fishing on offer.”

Troutfest is part of a carefully managed South West trout stocking program using freshwater fishing licence revenue to improve freshwater fishing experiences.

All of the trout stocked through the program are hatched and reared at the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development’s (DPIRD) hatchery in Pemberton.

Murray-Wellington MLA Robyn Clarke and Fisheries Minister Don Punch were among the 200 freshwater fanatics to celebrate the South West’s freshwater fishery this morning.

Recfishwest, through its Freshwater Fisheries Reference Group, offers advice to DPIRD on where to stock each year’s stock of bred trout in the South West.

Aaron thanked everyone who helped ensure it was another great Troutfest.

“A big thank you to the Shire of Waroona, Alcoa and the other event supporters for helping make the day possible,” he said.

“Also, thank your for the team at DPIRD for supplying the rainbow trout from their Pemberton hatchery.”

This brown trout was one of the ex-broodstock from DPIRD’s Pemberton hatchery released into Drakesbrook Weir.