Fisheries Minister Peter Tinley will attend the first day of a licence-free weekend today and try his luck at freshwater angling for brown and rainbow trout in Drakesbrook Weir near Waroona as part of Recfishwest’s TroutFest celebrations.
The McGowan Government made changes to the freshwater fishery in 2017 to allow year round access to freshwater fishing experiences for the thousands of Western Australians who enjoy wetting a line in fresh water rivers and dams in the State’s South-West and Peel.
For 2020, the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) trout stocking program has adopted a responsive strategy, with multiple releases over winter and spring and in numerous suitable locations to improve stock levels.
About 2,500 rainbow and 500 brown trophy sized ex-broodstock trout will be released this year, in addition to 20,000 yearlings and 350,000 fry.
Improvements are also being made to the Pemberton Freshwater Research Centre to help ramp-up yearling grow out and retain fry for longer to improve survival rates and boost the number of fish available for catching.
Holding on to some of the trout fry means they can be grown-out over eight to 12 months in the Pemberton Hatchery for release as yearlings between 150-300mm in size next season.
Trout must be 300mm or larger to be a legal catch for fishers and having legal size rainbow and brown trout in the right place at the right time recognises the important yearly economic contribution the 8,000 licensed anglers and their families make when they visit or stay in the South-West to enjoy freshwater fishing opportunities.
DPIRD is also using mapping technology to review and plan releases when suitable stream conditions are identified in advance by looking at environmental water flows near release locations.
As stated by Fisheries Minister Peter Tinley:
“The McGowan Government has enhanced fishing experiences for fishers who enjoy wetting a line in fresh water rivers and dams in WA’s South-West and Peel.
“Throughout this coming weekend, people keen to try South-West and Peel freshwater angling for the first time won’t need a licence, but they’ll still need adhere to bag limit and size rules in the fishery.
“Fishing in dams and popular rivers boosts regional prosperity and trout fishing plays a role in the WA COVID recovery by improving tourism and the other jobs that tourism supports.
“Tomorrow, at TroutFest, people keen to take up freshwater fishing can learn more about it, see casting demonstrations and enjoy hand releases of trout into Drakesbrook Weir.
“The intention of DPIRD’s annual stocking program throughout the South-West and Peel is to ensure more and larger trout are accessible to anglers across the freshwater fishery.
“When it comes to the trout releases that create instant fisheries in the Blackwood, Warren and Donnelly rivers and popular South-West fishing dams, commercial arrangements with WA aquaculture businesses are also being explored to help stock fishing spots more easily.
“Trout bred in captivity have been the foundation and life blood of freshwater fishing in WA for more than a century and modern aquaculture research knowledge is helping us improve the way we stock the rainbow and brown trout that recreational fishers enjoy catching.”