With beautiful weather conditions and a buzzing crowd of more than 250 people, the sixth edition of Troutfest proved why it is one of the most enjoyable family-friendly events in our picturesque South-West.
The annual community event saw dozens of excited families lining up to hand-release around 350 rainbow trout and brown trout into the much-loved freshwater gem of Drakesbrook Weir.
While this year saw hundreds of smaller fingerlings and yearlings released once again by people of all ages, the larger splashes were a lot louder than previous Troutfest events, with more numbers of larger ex-broodstock trout – some upwards of 50cm in length – diving into their new Drakesbrook home.
Recfishwest CEO Dr Andrew Rowland, Murray-Wellington MLA Robyn Clarke, Mr Robert Jetta and the Shire of Waroona President Mike Walmsley all rolled up their sleeves to help out during the event, made possible by the Shire of Waroona, Alcoa and DPIRD’s freshwater hatchery in Pemberton.
The Western Australian Trout and Freshwater Angling Association (WATFAA), the Australian Trout Foundation (ATF) and Southern Forests Freshwater Angling Club (SFFAC) also returned to help teach the next generation of freshwater fishers, with free fly-casting and fly-tying tuitions.
It was encouraging to see so many youngsters learning the life skills of fly fishing while trying their luck at landing a trout, with many experiencing the adrenaline rush of catching yearling and ex-broodstock trout on flies, lures and even corn kernels!
“When you see the enjoyment on not just the kids’ faces, but also the adults getting involved in hand-releasing this iconic species, it’s easy to see why this event is so symbolic to so many people and freshwater fishing in our South-West,” said Recfishwest CEO Dr Andrew Rowland.
“Troutfest is now an eagerly anticipated and adored event by keen fishing families. It is highly valued by the WA recfishing and regional communities and there is no better way to celebrate the fantastic freshwater fishery in the State’s south.”
Troutfest is part of a carefully managed South-West trout stocking program, funded with assistance from recreational fishing licence fees through the RFIF to help improve the experiences of around 10,000 freshwater fishing licence holders who enjoy chasing trout from Pemberton to Waroona.
All 800 trout released into Drakesbrook Weir this year through the program were hatched and reared at DPIRD’s hatchery in Pemberton, which helps distribute hundreds of thousands of trout throughout our State’s fresh waterways each year.
Recfishwest, through its Freshwater Fisheries reference Group, offers advice to DPIRD on where to stock each year’s stock of bred trout throughout the South-West.
“A big thank you to the Shire of Waroona, Alcoa, Daiwa and our other event supporters for helping bring this great day to the community, and also DPIRD for their tremendous ongoing supply of rainbow and brown trout from their Pemberton hatchery,” added Andrew.
Missed out on Troutfest? Don’t worry, for the first time, a second community trout stocking event will occur on November 6 at the Big Brook Dam Foreshore & Picnic Area to celebrate 50 years of Fisheries Department Management of the Pemberton Hatchery!
Find out more about this upcoming event below!