Last week we did a survey of the trout population at Camden Dam. This water was flooded for the first time during 2020-21. At full supply level it holds around 9,300 megalitres, supplying water to Scottsdale Irrigation Scheme. The dam captures inflows from the Camden Rivulet and several other smaller streams, so the potential for the recruitment of trout is very good. Rainbow trout are also found in some of the connecting streams.
We used the electrofishing boat to sample trout from several areas of the dam. The number of trout captured, 26 from 4.5 hours of electrofishing, indicates the size of the brown trout population at present is low, but most fish were in very good condition. Over half of the fish collected were between 1.0 – 1.5 kg (see Figure 1), with the heaviest fish weighing 1.7 kg. There were signs of recruitment from last year with a small number of fish around 130 mm in length. In addition, significant numbers of river fish had dropped downstream and were captured in the bays where the streams flow in. Most fish were feeding on subsurface items such as aquatic beetle larvae and snails.
Figure 1: Length and weight plot for brown trout, Camden Dam, February 2022.
Camden Dam is showing promising results and is likely to continue to improve as a fishery over the next 3 – 5 years. Beyond this, the size of fish is expected to decrease as the population grows with high recruitment expected.