Four Springs - 25 year dream close to reality
by Tony Scott
Most of the operation was all over in less than a minute but the smiles on the faces of three dedicated anglers showed no trace of anti-climax as more than 40,000 trout fry were freed into Four Springs Dam close to Launceston.
The one regret of inaugural secretary of the Four Springs committee, Graeme Chapell, was that the projects original champion, Ron Stephenson, wasn't there to see the dream come closer to realization after 25 years of effort. Ron died a couple of years ago. The present committee chairman, Noel Green reckons he's getting on a bit too, but has an ambition to fish the water.
"I'll be 81 when it opens in 1999, so I might have to use the access for the disabled."
"They say I'm supposed to catch the first fish out of here, but they'll probably have to tie it to the line for me." says Noel.
The Inland Fisheries Commission northern associate commissioner, Jim Ferrier, has also taken a keen interest in the project.
He sees the easy access to Four Springs - on Launceston's doorstep and quite close to Devonport - as an important factor in recruiting more people to the angling ranks. The benefit of that is that more licence revenue will mean the commission will be able to do more for the sport. Not that Jim sees Four Springs as a preserve of the angling fraternity.
"We don't want speed boats and water skiing out here, but any sort of quiet recreation it's ideal for, it's a beautiful spot."
And he points to surveys by a keen birdwatcher who's counted several more species in the district since the dam began to fill.
Jim says Four Springs will be managed in conjunction with Brushy Lagoon - just up over the hill to the west.
Brushy, which was once a mecca for summer evening mudeye fishing, fell out of favour when it become infested with redfin perch. The perch themselves never reached any size because of their sheer numbers in the water.
But the situation is being rectified by emptying the lagoon to rid it of perch. Once refilled it will be restocked and re-opened to coincide with the start of fishing in the new Four Springs dam.
"Brushy will be managed as a rainbow water and Four Springs as a brown trout fishery" Jim said.
"Brushy will be the place to take the kids. There'll be plenty of fish and the rainbows should be easier to catch. "
"Four Springs will be tougher-..a quality fishery with wily browns and a few rainbows as well" Jim said. But he's not guaranteeing a catch from either water. It is planned to open Four Springs for fishing next season in 1999, when the fry will have grown to catch-able size.