Troutfest 2019 – Celebrating a Great Fishery

With the trout season now in full swing and the spring weather allowing you to get out and enjoy WA’s beautiful South West, we’d like to take the time to reflect on our recent Troutfest event.

The community helped us release hundreds of trout

More than 300 people joined us at Drakesbrook Dam on August 31 to help the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, the Pemberton Trout Hatchery and Recfishwest stock the dam with hundreds of brown and rainbow trout.

Families and kids of all ages got their feet wet and their hands dirty as they helped us bring fish of varying sizes to the water before carefully sending them on their way.

The event also saw members from the Australian Trout Foundation and Western Australian Trout and Freshwater Angling Association share their knowledge with attendees on all things fishing, including casting lessons, bait and lure fishing techniques and rigging.

Some lucky trout fishing newbies got to actually catch a trout, take some snaps and share the joy with their friends and family. It was great to see so many people enjoying the licence-free Father’s Day weekend and spend time in the majestic landscape of WA’s South West.

All up, the day was a fitting celebration of WA’s fantastic freshwater fishery that brings thousands so much pleasure, as well as helping support the South West’s and the Peel regions’ regional economies.

Troutfest plays part of a carefully managed stocking program, using hatchery reared trout grown from freshwater fishing licence revenue to enhance the fishery and therefore provide better fishing for all. With the Minister announcing an exciting new initiative at Troutfest – the launch of the WA Inland Fisheries Research Advisory Committee, we are confident this will steer the future direction of research and development of inland fisheries, securing a brighter future for the WA trout and freshwater fishery in Western Australia.

Click here to see what the Minister had to say.

Some were lucky to catch their first trout!

Trout Stocking in WA’s South West

It’s not just Drakesbrook that received all the trout love though. Trout have recently been released in many of WA’s south-west waterways including Blackwood River, Brunswick River, Harvey River, Logue Brook Dam, Big Book Dam and Waroona Dam, in sizes from fry right up to ex-brood stock. Check out where you can fish for trout here.

Trout are a species that can really float your boat and have you thinking of nothing else, so if you’re new to trout fishing and keen to have a go, find out all you need to know about trout fishing here.

Thank you

Thank you again to our partners who helped make Troutfest a great success and we look forward to your support next year: Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, the Pemberton Trout Hatchery, Shire of Waroona, the Waroona Visitor Centre, Waroona Lions Club, Alcoa, Australian Trout Foundation and the Western Australian Trout and Freshwater Angling Association (WATFAA).

Also thank you to those that entered our Troutfest event feedback form, congratulations to Patrick Umali who was picked out of the hat to win our freshwater prize pack.

Check out our selection of pictures from the day below (click on each image to see a larger vision).

Salmonitis Epidemic On The Rise Again

Are you ready for this year’s ‘salmonitis’ epidemic to hit the metro area?

Vuthy So caught this salmon at Bunker Bay last weekend

If you thought the man flu was bad, then you better look out for this annual craze that gets the blood pumping in any seasonal fisher between Perth – Esperance.

Salmonitis begins as an increased use of social media, with your partner spending hours at a time staring at their phone, scrolling through the newsfeed and keeping an eye on the Facebook page – Salmon School Tracker 2019.

It progresses into the need to suddenly layout all their fishing gear on the garage floor, carefully reviewing line strength, reel capability and determining what lures they have (and need).

You’ll begin to notice over the next few weeks, your partner acting extremely helpful, suggesting they run to the shops on your behalf to ‘grab some milk.’ Running errands on Thursday evenings leaves you feeling suspicious but also quite grateful your partner is doing something useful and helping reduce the workload.

Esperance locals catching salmon from local beaches

It’s not too long before you’ll notice the increase in spending, the trip to the shops, become spending sprees with the bank balance slowly diminishing. If it’s not the shops they’re going to, it’s the online shopping that has suddenly taken a priority, except nothing actually arrives at your address, leaving you feeling puzzled. Instead, it’s been carefully re-directed to their work address, just to avoid the argument no one wants to have.

It isn’t until you watch your partner squirm as they tell their boss they aren’t feeling ‘too well’ over the next few days that the dots begin to line up. It’s not a coincidence that your partner’s sick days become carefully aligned with days where the weather seems just perfect, 10-15knot easterly winds, with minimum swell.

Fishers of all ages can target these fantastic fish

This is when you know they have an extreme case of salmonitis!

Salmonitis is highly contagious and once you and the kids have it, there’s no turning back! As it comes in waves, on an annual basis, it’s something you can’t shrug off and pass off for another day. It’s here; it’s right on our doorstep and its value is extremely high.

Bringing fish up onto the beach with the sand between your toes is part of our culture

With more than 40,000 people expected to flock to the pristine white sandy beaches of the South-west, along with jetties and boat ramps over the upcoming weeks for the salmon season, this epidemic is not to be missed. Targeting these sensational sport fish allow you to reap the mental, physical, social and economic benefits they provide us, our partners, our families and communities.

Each year when the migrating salmon move along the South-west coast, they attract a migration of fishers to the same area; a place they base themselves while they explore vast coastline in search of one of these salmon schools. These trips to the South-west bring family and friends who frequently explore the towns nestled along the coast buying fuel, bait, lures, fishing gear, food, drinks, accommodation, camping gear, and fishing gear and clothing.

The economic return to these coastal towns cannot be underestimated; recreational fishing was recently valued at over $2.4 billion to the economy for the whole state, though it’s unknown just how much salmon contribute to this figure. Many fishers are spending their hard earnt money to head South and try their luck at hooking into one of these fish. If you ever embark on a salmon fishing trip, you’ll easily understand why people come back year after year, showing just how much Australian salmon is valued by all members of the community and the South-west region.

Salmon schools can easily be spotted from the beach

This year’s salmon season will be no different to those of the past, with plenty of hard fighting fish on offer and great locations to explore presenting a great excuse to head South with family or friends.

Tell us about your salmon fishing!

Fishing from the beach allows you to bring your fish onto the safe and pristine white sand
Sedin’s first ever Australian salmon!

Recfishwest believes the pristine white sandy beaches of the WA coast combined with the splendid sportfishing qualities of this species truly makes this the world’s best fishing on the world’s best beaches.

Help us determine the value YOU place on salmon and the benefits they derive as well as expenditure by completing the 10 minute survey. Click here.

The survey is open until 30th June 2019. Your participation in this survey will allow Recfishwest to continue to advocate to ensure the great fishing experiences provided by Australian salmon are forever celebrated and enhanced.

Ten minutes of your time now can help ensure a life time of great fishing for all.

Christopher Hoang with this superb salmon from this years season

Future-Proofing Marron Stocks

Marron fishing is a uniquely West Aussie experience that takes place in our beautiful south west forest region.  Over 10,000 people purchase a licence each year and head down south with friends and family to enjoy this fishing experience.

While many of us were enjoying the well-earned Christmas break, Recfishwest staff and volunteers were busy assisting with a local project that has trialled the stocking of marron into Harvey Dam. The team were knee deep in mud removing thousands of marron from ponds at the Pemberton Hatchery in early January, where the marron were cleaned, packed and transported to Harvey Dam for release.

We’re pleased to report that over 5500 juvenile marron were released into the dam on Friday 4th of Jan, with the help of the local Harvey community.

This stocking is part of a project which has been investigating new and innovative ways of future-proofing our important marron stocks.

It’s important that we begin to investigate different opportunities in this space, given that a drying climate will almost certainly place increased pressure on marron stocks going forward. Stocking is one way that we believe can relieve some of this pressure in the long term.

If you haven’t tried catching marron before, its heaps of fun and we’ve compiled a how-to guide to get you started. You can read it here:  https://recfishwest.org.au/news/snaring-a-feed-of-south-west-marron/

It’s critical that we continue to investigate strategies that will ensure the long term sustainability of this activity. While this stocking effort was a trial, stocking marron on a larger scale in the future is something that we are currently working towards as we strive to protect, maintain and enhance our quality fishing experiences.

Imagine a future where you and your family could go marroning every weekend!

We would like to take this opportunity to thank the project lead Andrew Matthews from Ecotone Consulting, as well as the volunteers who made this stocking possible.

We hope to see you out in the bush chasing marron over the next few weeks as we take in our beautiful south west region and create more marron memories. The season is open Tuesday 8th January and runs until the 5th of February.