A brighter future for the WA trout and freshwater fishery

It was fantastic to see the enthusiasm and appetite for trout fishing this weekend down at Drakesbrook Weir, Waroona, for our annual Troutfest event.

Fisheries Minister Dave Kelly – pictured below about to release a nice brown trout – was a keen participant and took the opportunity to announce the launch of the WA Inland Fisheries Research Advisory Committee.

Click here to see what the Minister had to say

The inaugural meeting of this committee took place earlier in August and it represents a huge and exciting step forward in securing a brighter future for the WA trout and freshwater fishery in Western Australia.

Bringing together Recfishwest, WA trout fishing experts, trout stocking specialists from the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) and the South West Regional Development Commission, the committee’s objective is to steer the future direction of research and development of inland fisheries with a particular focus on the Pemberton Trout Hatchery.

A vision for the trout stocking program

The first meeting provided a vision for how DPIRD’s trout stocking program can be recalibrated to truly “deliver maximum community benefit” quoting the committee’s principle term of reference.

We believe there is massive potential for expanding the trout stocking program and fishery, with no reason why participation in freshwater fishing couldn’t and shouldn’t double in the next three to five years.

Changing up the stocking regime, putting in place a more robust research program associated with it and exploring new potential freshwater/trout fishing locations could evolve and secure the fishery well into the future.

A recalibrated stocking program could see more trophy tout like one of these brown beauties to fish for! 

There is a genuine opportunity here for us to improve and open up great angling experiences accessible to a wide range of fishers.

The flow-on benefits of this to the community would be many – tourism, the regional economy and the rec fishing industry would all benefit as fishers seek the magic experience of hunting rainbows and browns in majestic south-west waters.

To capitalise on this new opportunity, one of Recfishwest’s primary objectives will be to ensure a rigorous trout stocking evaluation research program is put in place.

We have long pushed for a program of this kind with little scientific data gathered around the effectiveness of stocking fry in waters we need stock in a way to maximise fish survival to provide the best possible trout numbers for anglers.

The Minister for Fisheries Dave Kelly (left) getting hands on with WA’s trout stocking program.

To address this issue, as well as impacts of reduced rainfall and streamflow in the South West, the initial focus of the committee is to consider radically overhauling the stocking regime to make the vast majority of stocked fish (currently 600,000 fish of all ages) into more robust yearlings – which will mean more angler-ready fish for your next fishing adventure.

In addition, the committee is also considering how the timing of releasing fish could be changed to maximise growth potential and survival rates of stocked trout to improve the cost-benefit to the State with greater catch returns.

Stocking Aussie natives

While the committee’s initial focus is on trout, we still have a big appetite for delivering a comprehensive Aussie native stocking program in some of WA’s freshwater locations and finding new and innovative ways for future-proofing our marron stocks.

And to be clear the new advisory committee will not be replacing Recfishwest’s expert Freshwater Fishing Reference Group, which is key to developing our policy and strategy in this space – rather it will complement it significantly.

The committee will allow us to take the reference group’s excellent work forward with a seat at the table where decisions directly affecting the future of the fishery will be made.

This is what it’s all a-trout! 

Get ‘trout and about’ in our South West freshwater ways and give trout fishing a go

Trout fishing in the South West’s freshwater fishery is a great way to catch beautiful fish in some truly scenic settings and isn’t that hard to do.

In this article, Recfishwest staff member and self-confessed ‘trout tragic’, Nick Drummond, takes a look at some of the basics you need to know to give this fun form of fishing a go, as we gear up for our annual Troutfest event on Saturday, August 31.  Continue reading “Get ‘trout and about’ in our South West freshwater ways and give trout fishing a go”

South West anglers gutted at fish deaths

UPDATE: 21/02/19

Readers may recall the deaths of brown trout in Big Brook Dam during January, believed to be a result of rapidly lowering water levels in the dam to undertake excavation and repair work on the embankment and pipes by the Water Corporation. Neither Recfishwest, or our Freshwater Fishing Reference Group, were advised of this repair work.

Photo credit: Kelvin Ty

Thanks to the quick thinking of some keen anglers a number of these prized fish were able to be saved, however, many fish needlessly perished.

At the time of this event, Recfishwest reported that we would work with relevant agencies to ensure the risk of fish kills were reduced in the future.

We are pleased to report that Recfishwest recently met with Water Corporation staff to determine how best we can work together to prevent future fish kills during remedial works on our dams.

These fish are a valuable asset that has been paid for by recreational fishers (through licence fees) and when work on our dams is likely to threaten our assets it is only reasonable we are consulted about it.

Photo credit: Kelvin Tyj

Better consultation and early knowledge of planned work on our dams allows us to take action to significantly reduce the risk of fish deaths.

Water Corporation have committed to working in partnership with Recfishwest to ensure early communication of works on our dams, as well as strategies to reduce impacts on fish and fish habitat.

Recfishwest is pleased at the timeliness of this commitment and look forward to working together to ensure that quality fishing experiences remain throughout our Southwest.

Water Corporation have now committed to an increased level of monitoring of Big Brook Dam whilst the water level remains low and will implement actions such as water aeration should this be necessary to maintain water quality.

Recfishwest will continue to monitor the situation and keep our community updated.

 

 

 

Water Corporation statement:

Fishers’ happy with plans to prevent further fish deaths

Water Corporation is installing water aeration pumps to improve oxygen concentrations at Big Brook Dam in Pemberton while it completes essential safety maintenance.

A range of mitigation strategies were discussed at a recent meeting with Recfishwest to look at options that would help reduce the impact on fish stocks at the dam when water levels are temporarily lowered.

Water Corporation South West Regional Manager, John Janssen said about 30 fish located in feeder creeks had sadly died recently when water levels were lowered to allow maintenance to go ahead.

“We are working closely with Recfishwest to help manage any further unforeseen impacts on recreational fishing activity at the dam,” Mr Janssen said.

“We will continue to closely monitor the introduced fish stocks in the Big Brook Dam while this maintenance work is carried out.

“The work we are doing at the dam is to ensure the dam will remain a safe and fantastic place to fish and recreate for many years to come.”

Matthew Gillett, Fishing Development Officer at Recfishwest said it was important to understand that trout would naturally swim upstream and struggle in the warmer weather.

“It is a rare event for more than one hundred more mature Brown Trout to be introduced at Big Brook Dam and fishers were looking forward to catching these. So we will work with Water Corporation to make sure the dam maintenance work can be completed, along with allowing fishing enthusiasts to still enjoy a good catch.” Mr Gillett said.

For more information about the Big Brook Dam Maintenance Work project please visit:
https://www.watercorporation.com.au/water-supply/ongoing-works/big-brook-dam-maintenance-work

 

Read the previous updates below.

Continue reading “South West anglers gutted at fish deaths”

Families wanted for Freshwater Fishing Fun!

After the success of last years event, Recfishwest would like to invite you once again to be part of something special and help us release trout by hand and celebrate all things freshwater fishing.

Event details: Saturday 1st September 2018

Starts at 10am to 1:30pm

Drakesbrook Weir, Weir Rd Waroona 6215

What to bring: the whole family with an appetite for fun! You’re welcome to also bring your own rods, lures, sunscreen, hats, weather proof clothing and picnic sets.

The day will include:

  • Trout Stocking – help us release over 2000 trout into the dam by hand
  • Freshwater Fishing Tuition for all ages (30 rods provided) – Members of the Western Australian Trout and Freshwater Fishing Association will be on hand to teach you all about fishing in freshwater, along with our Recfishwest Fishing Clinic Instructors and NextWave Future Leaders Team Members
  • Fly Fishing Casting Demos – ever wanted to try your hand at fly casting? What better way to learn than from some of the WA’s top fly casters!
  • Freshwater Tackle and Rigging Information and Demonstrations – Learn all you need to know about tackle and rigging for freshwater fishing
  • Sausage sizzle and soft drinks hosted by the Waroona Lions Club

LICENCE FREE DAY Registrations FREE but essential.

Click here to register!

Relive the excitement from last years event!

 

FAQs

What are my transport/parking options for getting to and from the event?

There is parking available at the event, however it is limited. Its best to get there early to get a good spot.

Map.

What can I bring into the event?

You’re welcome to bring chairs, fishing rods, bait and lures. You should also bring weather proof clothing, a change of clothes and /gumboots reef shoes.

We will have rods, lures and bait available however it will be limited.

You may also like to bring along a canoe/kayak.

How can I contact the organiser with any questions?

We will have a Facebook page where you can ask any questions leading up to the event, alternatively you can email info@recfishwest.org.au or call the office on (08) 9246 3366 between 9 -5pm Monday – Friday.

Where else can I fish if this event is full?

Harvey Dam, Waroona, Logue Brook Dam, Big Brook Dam, Warren River and Donelly River are all excellent places for freshwater fishing if this event is full.

 

Want to know more about upcoming events? Visit our Events Calendar.

Purple Fly Fishing – Casting for Recovery

 

Recfishwest and Breast Cancer Care WA have again teamed up to deliver the 3rd Purple Fly Fishing Program. Each year in Australia over 13,500 women are diagnosed with breast cancer and one in eight women in Australia will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. Breast Cancer Care WA is a Western Australian charity that provides personalised emotional, practical and financial support to people affected by breast cancer.

 

The motion of fly casting has been proven to be beneficial for recovery for women who have undergone surgery or radiation treatment for breast cancer. The gentle casting motion helps to promote soft tissue stretching and improve joint mobility for women recovering from surgery and those managing lymphedema.

 

Breast Cancer Care WA support staff volunteer their time for the breast cancer clients for this program, and currently, the program is funded by a Recfishwest Community Grant. There are also plenty of community partners who donate goods and services to make the program as enjoyable as possible for the ladies.

The program offers participants a hands-on introduction to fly fishing and an opportunity to get outdoors while learning a unique form of fishing that can aid in their recovery.

For many of the ladies, it was their first time participating in any form of fishing!

Wellness and mindful activities accompanied the fishing, but a sunset fish on Saturday and a Sunday sunrise session definitely were some of the fishing highlight’s as the dams came to life with Rainbow Trout firing and providing the ladies with some fishing excitement!!

Recfishwest and Breast Cancer Care WA are both not for profit organisations and are always open for new partnerships to help continue and grow the Purple Fly Fishing Program statewide. If your brand or organisation would like to come on board and support this life changing program, please contact Tim at recfish@recfishwest.org.au

Recfishwest would like to thank all of the community partners who got on board and threw their support behind the 2017 Purple Fly Fishing Program, including:

• Clover Cottage
• Shimano Australia
• Thomsons Bus Lines
• Holy Smoke, Smoke House
• Browns Dairy
• Farmhouse Pizza – Manjimup
• Innovations Catering
• Spud Shed Jandakot
• Sukin Skincare
• Pronto Fine Foods
• Quinni Tavern Holiday House
• Fairview Farmhouse
• Tall Timbers Manjimup
• Southern Forests Honey
________________________________________
Fact file:

• Each year in Australia over 13,500 women are diagnosed with breast cancer and one in eight women in Australia will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime.
• The motion of fly casting has been proven to be beneficial for recovery for women who have undergone surgery or radiation treatment for breast cancer.
• The gentle casting motion helps to promote soft tissue stretching and improve joint mobility for women recovering from surgery and those managing lymphedema.
• The program offers participants a hands-on introduction to fly fishing and an opportunity to get outdoors while learning a unique form of fishing that can aid in their recovery.

TroutFest Sheds New Light on Freshwater Fishing

After the success of last years event, Recfishwest would like to invite you once again to be part of something special and help us release trout by hand and celebrate all things freshwater fishing.

Event details: Saturday 1st September 2018

Starts at 10am to 1:30pm

Drakesbrook Weir, Weir Rd Waroona 6215

What to bring: the whole family with an appetite for fun! You’re welcome to also bring your own rods, lures, sunscreen, hats, weather proof clothing and picnic sets.

 

The day will include:

  • Trout Stocking – help us release over 2000 trout into the dam by hand
  • Freshwater Fishing Tuition for all ages (30 rods provided) – Members of the Western Australian Trout and Freshwater Fishing Association will be on hand to teach you all about fishing in freshwater, along with our Recfishwest Fishing Clinic Instructors and NextWave Future Leaders Team Members
  • Fly Fishing Casting Demos – ever wanted to try your hand at fly casting? What better way to learn than from some of the WA’s top fly casters!
  • Freshwater Tackle and Rigging Information and Demonstrations – Learn all you need to know about tackle and rigging for freshwater fishing
  • Sausage sizzle and soft drinks hosted by the Waroona Lions Club

LICENCE FREE DAY Registrations FREE but essential.

Click to register! 

 

 

 


TroutFest 2017

Recfishwest’s first ever TroutFest was held on September 2, 2017. The event was a raging success, with thousands of Rainbow Trout being released into Drakesbrook Weir. The community came out in force as an estimated 500 people, comprising of mums, dads, kids, grandparents and fishing lovers, turned up to celebrate freshwater fishing. During the event there was a release of thousands of fingerlings, 400 yearlings and 70 ex-broodstock, these fish were a portion of the 600,000 fish that have been released this year by the Department of Primary Industries Regional Development, Fisheries Division.

Trout and about: Drakesbrook Weir played host to a Recfishwest public rainbow trout release. The aim is to stock the waterway with fish for recreational anglers.The event coincided with a statement from WA Fisheries Minister Dave Kelly removing the annual closed season of freshwater waterways.

Posted by ABC South West on Wednesday, September 6, 2017

TroutFest was a celebration of freshwater fishing and encouraged families and friends to head to a regularly stocked waterway and experience what freshwater fishing is all about. For many, this fishery was clouded in mystery, but after TroutFest participants realised it is about getting into the bush, having a cast and enjoying some of the best parts of WA.

As well as the fish release, the event also included Freshwater Fishing Tuition for all ages, an education display by Fisheries, Fly Casting, Freshwater Tackle & Rigging Information and Demonstrations and general fishing time for everyone to have a go at freshwater fishing, and for most, it was the very first time.

Recfishwest would like to thank the members of WATFAA for sharing their passion of fly fishing with people on the day as well all of the other volunteers that attended and made TroutFest a memorable experience for all those involved.

TroutFest promotes sustainable, accessible, enjoyable and safe fishing for the benefit of the community and will help encourage freshwater fishing in the South West.

TroutFest is just one of many Recfishwest lead initiatives working towards improving habitat and fish stocks which build better environments that support your fishing.

 

 

Freshwater licence-free weekend and Recfishwest’s Troutfest

Fisheries Minister Dave Kelly today announced Western Australians can go freshwater fishing in the State’s South West licence-free next weekend (September 2-3, 2017).

“The special weekend will celebrate the opening of the freshwater fishing season on September 1 and give people the chance to try their hand at freshwater angling for free,” Minister Kelly said.

“The State Government is committed to supporting the recreational fishing industry which is an important economic driver for WA.

“That is why the State Government is giving Western Australians the chance to go fishing in the South-West on September 2 and 3 without the need for a freshwater fishing licence.”

To celebrate the Minister’s announcement, Recfishwest is running Troutfest – a great opportunity for families to spend quality time together outdoors and have a go at freshwater fishing, just in time for Fathers’ Day!

Recfishwest is teaming up with the Western Australian Trout and Freshwater Angling Association (WATFAA)  to run Perth’s biggest family freshwater event, Troutfest.

This event is set to highlight the fantastic fishing available at Drakesbrook Weir, where participants will have the opportunity to release trout grown at the hatchery in Pemberton.

Trout are stocked every year by the fisheries division of the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development and this year the public get to participate directly in improving freshwater fishing experiences.

This event aims to be the freshwater version of Snapper Guardians – a fun day out for the whole family to enjoy!

Event details:
• Saturday 2 September, 2017.
• Starts at 10.00am to 1.30pm.
• Drakesbrook Weir, Waroona.

The day will include:
• Trout stocking.
• Freshwater fishing tuition for all ages.
• Fly casting.
• Freshwater tackle and rigging information and demonstrations.

Troutfest will be a great occasion for families and friends to get along to a regularly stocked waterway to experience what freshwater fishing is all about.

Participants will also have access to WATFAA members who will provide expert advice and tutelage during their fly and lure casting lessons and tackle and rigging demonstrations.

For many, this fishery is clouded in mystery, where in reality it is all about getting into the bush, having a cast and enjoying some of the best parts of WA. So why not bring the family along and be a part of something special?

Troutfest promotes sustainable, accessible, enjoyable and safe fishing for the benefit of the community and will help encourage freshwater fishing in the South West.

Due to the popularity of this event, registrations are essential so Recfishwest can provide the best possible experience for you and your family. So please register here

Click here to view the flyer for this year’s anticipated Troutfest!

For more information about fishing for freshwater trout, visit I Love Fishing here.

To view the Minister’s media statement, click here.

Trout at Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development’s trout hatchery at Pemberton.