IFS News October 2011

River Access Brochure on Rights and Responsibilities
Angler access to river fisheries - know your rights and responsibilities.
In response to the many general inquiries regarding angler access to rivers, the Inland Fisheries Service has developed a River Access brochure contain­ing information on angler rights and responsibilities. It lists the simple access rules and signage, safety and code of conduct, as well as the general princi­ples that apply in Tasmania.

All anglers have an important role in maintaining good relations between landowners and the angling community. Some general principles apply and will benefit all. Firstly, anglers should understand that access is a privilege not a right, and secondly, when in doubt, ask permission.

In Tasmania, most private land titles extend to the bank of the river and some titles extend to the middle of the river. This can mean that you may be tres­passing, which is a criminal offence, even if you are wading in the river.

Rivers also flow through public land such as Crown Reserves, State Forests, National Parks, Hydro property and Conservation Areas. Whilst public access is usually permitted, different entry conditions may apply depending on the management authority.

The Inland Fisheries Service has been working to develop access to angling waters with a focus on improving foot access to major river fisheries. Much of this has involved negotiating with landowners and establishing formal agreements regarding access for anglers. Access points are now clearly marked with signs at the access locations on seven major river fisheries around the State.
Four Springs Lake Boating Hazard
Boaters beware of a known boating hazard at Four Springs Lake

A yellow buoy, which for several years has marked a dangerous hazard in Four Springs Lake, is no longer there. With the prevailing high lake level and dirty water, the hazard cannot be seen and boaters should take extra care at any speed but certainly anything higher than the regulation 5 knots.

The hazard is a sunken log with protruding libs. It lies well out from the car park jetty on an approximate line between this and the disabled jetty.

Very recently, an angler launched a tinny from the car park ramp (rather too fast, we understand!) and hit the limb and a hole was punched in the bow of the boat. Luckily no one was injured and the tinny managed to limp back to the ramp.

Another yellow drum is being sought and will be put in place as soon as the hazard can be located.

This report was from Jim Ferrier, Fly Fishers Club of Tasmania, and passed on by the Presidents Club.

Pioneer Trout Fishing Competition, Saturday 15 October
Fishing is fun for everyone!
The Pioneer Trout Fishing Competition is on this Saturday, 15 October at Pio­neer Lake. This is an annual event which began in 2007 and is part of the North East Rivers Festival. Anyone can enter the competition which starts at 9 am and finishes at 4.30 pm. It is designed as a fun event for the whole fam­ily, with barbeque food and beverages, and other amenities available on site.

The Inland Fisheries Service, which is a major sponsor of the event, has waived the need to buy an angling licence for the event. It has also donated two tagged fish worth $250 each to the person(s) that catch the fish during the competition. There are loads of other prizes to be given away, based on a ran­dom draw system of all entries.  

Entry forms are available from St Helens Bait and Tackle or via the internet at www.neriversfestival.com.au, or register on the day at Pioneer Lake. Admis­sion is $7 for adults and $5 for children (6-14 years), while children under 6 years of age are free.

Pioneer Lake has been well stocked with brown and rainbow trout but the Service will release additional fish before the event, including more rainbow trout and possibly some large Atlantic salmon. 

The lake won’t be closed to power boats this year, so boaters are asked to re­spect the anglers fishing from the lakeside. A minimum distance of 50 m to a wading angler is a requirement by law. All other normal fishing rules and regulations apply, as well as competition rules on the day. Fish are to be hu­manely killed and all rubbish removed from the lake.

Aside from the Inland Fisheries, other sponsors of the event this year are St Helens Bait and Tackle, Tania Rattray MLC, and Serve-AG PTY LTD.

For further inquiries, please phone Lexie on (03) 6354 1013.
IFS stocking with domestic and ‘wild stock’ fish
Setting the record straight
Stocking has been a point of debate in recent times from some sectors of the angling community. It will continue to be an essential fisheries management tool to address fisheries with poor recruitment. The following paper explains the logic behind certain fishery management practices and is intended to help set the record straight about IFS policies and direction.

Wild stock fry being stocked into one of the Western Lakes, which has poor natural recruitment. These juveniles are produced in the IFS hatch­ery from the eggs of wild adult trout randomly selected during their an­nual spawning run at Great Lake.

The Inland Fisheries Service has implemented a broad program of fisheries development over the last 8 years clearly aimed at improving fisheries for the diverse range of anglers from Tasmania, the mainland and overseas. This has involved a range of elements including infrastructure (directional signs, ramps jetties and roads), information (brochures, website, interpretation signs), nego­tiated access, water level agreements, updated regulations and targeted stock­ing.

Many of these elements were initiated following the development of the Tas­manian Inland Recreational Fishery Management Plan 2008 -18 and this document continues to guide management of the fishery today. A key marketing strategy has been the development and promotion of the full range of fishing options from the world class wild wilderness fisheries to the put and take fisheries at popular waters.

The overall marketing program combined with the fishery development, have been successful in improving the number of anglers participating in the fish­ery. The total number of anglers recovered from a low of around 22,500 in 2002-03 to around 28,500 in the last four seasons, including near record num­bers of full season licence holders. This has been achieved despite a crippling drought, which deepened in the period from 2006 to mid 2009 and placed many fisheries under stress due to low water levels including the regularly fished waters of Arthurs Lake, Woods Lake, Tooms Lake, Lake Leake and Craigbourne dam. A further consequence of the shift of anglers from the eastern fisheries to the West was the steady increase in fishing pressure on wa­ters including Penstock Lagoon, Little Pine Lagoon and the near Western Lakes.

A number of stocking initiatives were trialled through the drought years, some successfully others not. The stocking of brook trout into waters containing other salmonid species has clearly not worked, however the hatchery stocking regime at Penstock Lagoon has been a spectacular success. The Service has deliberately taken an adaptive management approach in these stocking pro­grams aimed at evaluating and fine tuning the number and appropriate mix of species at each water. This program has necessarily focused on a limited num­ber of waters since the majority of Tasmanian fisheries sustain healthy popula­tions of wild naturally recruiting brown trout and less commonly wild rainbow trout populations.

The Inland Fisheries Service, Inland Fisheries Commission and its predecessors have historically stocked a range of fisheries with stock from the Salmon Ponds or other recreational hatcheries. These fish have been on-grown to various sizes from fry to fingerlings or even yearlings largely de­pending on the prevailing environmental conditions experienced by the hatch­ery. In later years the only remaining hatchery was the Salmon Ponds hatchery and this increasingly suffered from poor water flows and high water tempera­tures, making the production of stock very unreliable in size quantity and qual­ity.

In undertaking the stocking programs the Service has out of necessity utilised a range of stocks prior to the development of better hatchery facilities in New Norfolk in 2008. The new hatchery is only now meeting its full production capacity. The Service has continually and clearly stated that its primary aim is to produce and stock waters with wild stock fish sourced from wild run spawners (browns and rainbows) originating from Great Lake. The Service promotes these fish as ‘wild stock fish’ and does not seek to portray them as wholly ‘wild fish’. It does not however, accept that these fish are in any way ‘domestic stock’.

These hatchery fish are on-grown by the Service only to a size sufficient to optimise their chance of survival in the receiving water. They are captive for 8 to 10 months and are stocked at 1g, 5g, 10g or up to 20g (around 150mm in length) when redfin perch are present.

The Service has a policy of using wild stock fish in the Central Highlands and has now met this, except for the Bradys Chain of lakes which received a small number of domestic salmon in 2010. This was a trial stocking and there are no plans to stock this water with salmon in 2011. Similarly with brook trout stocked into Bronte Lagoon in 2009, there is no plan to stock this water with brook trout in 2011.

Popular family waters, away from the high country in lowland regions at Brushy Lagoon, Lake Barrington, Lake Meadowbank and Craigbourne dam, will continue to be stocked with a mixture of domestic and wild stock fish for the near future. They are key waters for receiving large Atlantic salmon

The importance of maintaining the capacity to produce wild stock fish was highlighted by the breaking of the drought since mid 2009. Since then, the Service has grown and stocked brown trout (unavailable from commercial hatcheries) into Tooms Lake, Craigbourne Dam, Lake Crescent and Lake Dul­verton, dramatically speeding the recovery of these fisheries. Several river fisheries also received supplementary stockings following the devastation of the drought, namely the middle Macquarie, Coal, Clyde and Break O'Day rivers. Wild adult browns have also been used according to the annual stocking program, however their availability was limited by the vagaries of the runs at Great Lake and Arthurs Lake this year.

The production of triploid browns and rainbows from the New Norfolk hatch­ery is now being achieved through the modern set up of incubators and tanks, and the recent investment in a custom made trout triploiding vessel. This hy­perbaric chamber was imported from France and is the first of its kind in Aus­tralia. Although triploiding is common-place in the industry, no-one else is doing this with ‘wild eggs’ harvested from ‘wild fish’, and certainly not using the iconic Tasmanian wild brown trout.

The triploids, which are sterile, tend to grow faster when they reach maturity and having no gonads, they do not spawn and waste energy in reproduction. They provide a new dimension to fisheries particularly those with no capacity for natural recruitment. Far from being a turnoff to the serious angler, the Ser­vice has received enthusiastic support from mainstream anglers for fisheries at Four Springs Lake, Curries River Reservoir, WaterHouse Lakes, Brushy La­goon Lake Crescent and Penstock Lagoon to benefit from these fish.

Stocking has been a point of debate in recent times from some sectors of the angling community. It  will continue to be an essential fisheries management tool to address fisheries with poor recruitment. Other fisheries that rely on stocking although minor will continue to need supplementation from hatcher­ies. These include Big Lagoon, Lakes Skinner, Plimsol, Selina and Rolleston, and Pawlena Dam, as well as the popular program of farm dam stocking, par­ticularly in the northern part of the State
Western Lakes Road gate to open 30 September 2011
The gate into the 19 Lagoons area of the Western Lakes will be open from the morning of 30 September 2011. This is often eagerly awaited by anglers as it allows car access to the majority of the 19 Lagoons area.