Help thousands of trout dive and thrive at Troutfest 2022!

There’s nothing quite like rolling up your sleeves and helping release thousands of rainbow and brown trout into Drakesbrook Weir – and the opportunity to do this again at Troutfest for 2022 is fast approaching!

Recfishwest is once again partnering with the Shire of Waroona to host the sixth annual Troutfest community fish stocking event and celebrate all things trout and freshwater fishing on Saturday, 15 October.

Troutfest is a great opportunity to jump in the drink yourself and help release multiple trout of various sizes!

Troutfest 2022
When? 15 October, 10am – 2pm
Where?
Drakesbrook Weir, Weir Road, Waroona
What to bring? Suncreen, a hat, water – fishing gear if you want – although Recfishwest will loan out gear on the day.
More info? Visit the Shire of Waroona website or contact the shire on 9733 7800.

Celebrating the South-West and Peel regions’ great trout and freshwater fishery, the event will give you the unique chance to jump in the drink at Drakesbrook Weir and help release thousands of radiant rainbow and beautiful brown trout.

This year will also see many larger yearlings and ex-broodstock rainbow and brown trout released into Drakesbrook Weir than in previous years. More larger fish released means a higher survival rate for the fish and critically more fish grabbing anglers’ lures, flies and baits!

FANCY HAVING A CRACK AT FISHING FOR TROUT? FIND OUT WHERE AND HOW HERE

Along with the opportunity to release trout, Troutfest also features several fun fishing activities including a free fishing clinic, fly-casting tuition, fly-tying demonstrations, and a casting competition for kids.

Last year, dozens of excited kids were able to catch a trout as our happy snaps show – and this year will be no different. This is what trout fishing is all about – fishing fun in our great outdoors in our spectacular South-West!

Not only can you help release multiple trout, our Recfishwest crew will provide tips on how to catch them!

“Troutfest is a great celebration of this fantastic fishery,” said Recfishwest CEO Dr Andrew Rowland. “It showcases the value that fish stocking plays in helping future proof our fisheries and creating fish abundance for great fishing. The fishing is always better when the fish are biting.”

“Anglers visiting South-West freshwater dams, streams and rivers helps inject more than $20 million annually into the regional economy, but there is great potential for growing the fishery and boosting that economic injection even further.

“We want to work closely with Government to create more places for people to fish for freshwater species, where they can catch fish in safe, accessible, and family oriented fishing locations.

“DPIRD already does a great job with their Pemberton-based trout hatchery, but with great collective will and vision from the Government, an expansion of the freshwater fishery could unlock huge social, economic and fishing benefits for the community.”

Recfishwest, through its Freshwater Fisheries Reference Group, advises DPIRD on where to stock trout each year.

Recfishwest thanks our Troutfest partner in the Shire of Waroona, along with our supporters in Alcoa, Healthway, Fishability and Act, Belong, Commit for helping us run this event for another year.

Plenty of larger ex-broodstock trout will be released this year, make sure you pay Troutfest 2022 a visit!

Bigger trout in more numbers expected this freshwater fishing season!

There’s plenty of reasons to be excited for the future of freshwater fishing in WA’s beautiful South-West following the release of this year’s trout stocking numbers and locations.

Not only can you fish the dams, rivers and streams with postcard backdrops for big trout, but larger specimens in greater numbers are set to flourish through these areas and end up on the hooks of more keen freshwater anglers thanks to smarter and safer stocking.

Check out the stocking locations across the South-West here!

Trout are stocked each year in WA and vary in size, from smaller fry (5cm), to mid-sized ýearlings, right up to ex-broodstock fish (>40cm). These hatchery-reared trout are released and targeted by the growing number of Western Australian freshwater anglers – currently around 10,000.

Leading the charge behind the stocking efforts is the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) and Pemberton Freshwater Research Centre (PFRC). DPIRD maintains its close working relationship with Recfishwest. This year will also see the 50-year milestone of the hatchery being run and operated by the WA State Government.

Based on the recommendations of DPIRD and values from Recfishwest’s Freshwater Fisheries Reference Group, this year’s rainbow and brown trout stocking ahead of the freshwater fishing season will see 153,500 rainbow fry, 31,500 rainbow yearlings and 2,700 ex-broodstock rainbows released in our South-West, while 12,000 brown yearlings and 650 ex-broodstock browns will also make a splash.

It brings the grand total to 200,350 rainbow and brown trout being released through various brooks, dams and rivers with tens of thousands more mid-sized yearlings stocked than previous years.

Matt Lilly with a nice small stream brown trout.

Stocking “smarter”

Releasing the smaller fry into our waterways means having to survive threats from redfin perch, water rats, droughts and more over the course of around 800 days before they reach ex-broodstock size.

While many fry do reach legal size, stocking more of the larger yearlings and broodstock trout through these waterways instead means an increased chance these fish will recruit to the fishery and be encountered by anglers.

DPIRD Freshwater R&D Senior Research Scientist Andrew Beer, says the improvements in stocking design and a focus on “right fish, right place, right time” for fish releases means improved outcomes and the odds of anglers landing bigger trout.

DPIRD will also boost capacity to transport large numbers of bigger trout through the South-West waterways next year, via a custom-made fish transport tanker truck capable of carrying five thousand litres of water.

The truck will be used to transport yearlings and ex-broodstock trout with lower risks of handling damage to the fish and off-road features that can allow easier access in and out of rough and boggy areas.

Key benefits to this include reducing the number of days the hatchery staff are on the road. This efficiency offers two positive outcomes – less risk of traevl and more days they can contribute to hatchery operations.

A $20 million catch

“We’re pleased to see the Government’s commitment to the future of this fantastic fishery and this dedication to advancements in stocking, which will ultimately result in better quality fishing for anglers,” said Recfishwest CEO Dr Andrew Rowland.

“The flow on effects from anglers visiting South-West freshwater dams, streams and rivers helps inject more than $20 million annually into the regional economy thanks to keen anglers spinning lures, bait fishing and fly fishing for trout.

“We believe there is massive potential for expanding the trout stocking program and fishery and commend DPIRD’s Aquatic Freshwater Research and Development team for championing this cause from within the Department.”

If you’re keen to give freshwater fishing a crack, check out these great tips here and remember you will need a freshwater fishing licence.

Yearling trout being reared at the Pemberton hatchery.

Scott’s Species – brown trout, a memorable freshwater catch

They might be an introduced species, but I must admit I love brown trout. They hold a special place in my angling heart, Scott Coghlan of the Western Angler writes, perhaps as a result of several trips to New Zealand to sight fish for them in the South Island’s gin-clear rivers.

Brown trout, Salmo trutta

Eating: 3 stars

ID: Brown to olive colouration, with dark spots all along side, some red.

Fishing for brown trout in WA is a very different experience to other parts of the world like NZ, but that doesn’t mean some very good fish can’t be caught and each one is memorable.

Recfishwest Life Member Ian Sewell with one of those NZ brown trout that Scott Coghlan dreams about.

For many years I only dreamed of catching a brown trout, until I caught a couple of rippers in one day on the Lefroy Brook.

Using spinning gear and a floating bibbed minnow, I picked up the pair along the Thompson’s Flats stretch, the second an absolute thumper than would have gone over 5lb in the old.

I floated my lure around a bend and pulled it past a corner where a tree pushed out into the flow.

The big brown came out from under the tree and nailed my lure, for a most memorable capture.

Browns are a great looking fish and the fact they are relatively rare in WA, and can grow a bit bigger than rainbows, makes them an intoxicating target in my eyes.

I have a few locations that are reliable producers of browns, mainly around Pemberton.

The Warren River and Lefroy Brook are likely spots to try and are stocked with them each year, as is Big Brook Dam.

Harvey Dam is another good spot for browns and I’ve caught them in some locations I never expected to find them, including one little scarp stream.

Many of the biggest browns caught in WA are ex-broodstock fish from the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development’s Pemberton-based hatchery, but there are truly wild big browns to be caught.

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

One location near Harvey used to have a great self-sustaining brown population, but it no longer open to fishing.

Browns certainly offer a more challenging target normally than the more aggressive rainbows, usually holding in slower water and more alert to movement nearby.

Generally similar tactics to fishing for rainbows apply though, often dictated by the spots where you fish.

As with rainbows, spinning with lures, bait fishing and fly fishing are all options in dams like Harvey, Big Brook and Drakesbrook.

The latter location was stocked, with some big fish released at Recfishwest and the Shire of Waroona’s Troutfest community fish stocking event in recent years.

At times browns will hunt after dark around creek mouths and they also like to cruise areas of slow water away from the main flow in rivers.

Although usually cautious I remember seeing tiny minnows spray out of the water in a Pemberton stream as a big brown chased them into the shallows.

I have also been on dams during insect hatches and browns will rise repeatedly when this happens.

Trolling lures is a good way to cover dams until you find a fish and some big browns get caught this way.

Angus Line tempted this brown trout on fly at Lake Navarino.

Most anglers will encounter browns as an occasional catch while chasing rainbows, but if you want to target them having a look at the annual trout stocking locations on the Recfishwest’s ‘I Love Fishing’ website is a good place to start.

This will tell you where they have been stocked. Click here to see.

In dams, try around creek mouths, flooded banks or submerged logs or trees.

With rivers, the key to finding browns is working out where the fish will be holding and getting your offering into that area.

The sort of wading and spotting fish they do in NZ is barely an option in WA, so we have to be more creative locally.

Although browns tend to hold in slower water than rainbows, they will still position themselves similarly, looking for holding stations where food is brought to them.

Freshwater fanatic Giordano Gervasi is very coy when it comes to his South West secret spots.

Look for rocks or logs that break the current and offer them a spot to hold without expending too much energy.

Sharp bends in river like the one mentioned earlier that offer a quiet area downstream of them are always worth a try.

For trout I always like small 5cm to 7cm floating bibbed minnows as I can let them drift downstream and then retrieve them through likely areas, particularly important when casting is limited or almost impossible.

Upstream fly fishing so popular elsewhere in world is impossible in most areas, so similar tactics on fly are often used and I have caught most local browns on a Woolly Bugger, weighted or unweighted depending on water flow.

Most WA fish caught will be 30cm to 50cm but bigger ones to 4kg do exist and the sight of a big buck-jawed male brown is unforgettable.

A rare WA gem, browns are a beautiful fish and once you’ve caught one you’ll certainly want to find more. Don’t forget a freshwater fishing licence is required to catch trout in WA!

Southern Forests Freshwater Angling Club’s Simon Holland with a lovely Big Brook brown.