Fish stocking program testing survival rates

Fisheries Technician Garry Caldwell helped release 1100 yearling rainbow trout into Blowering Dam last Friday.

The NSW Department of Primary Industries is trialling a new approach to stocking Blowering Dam, releasing 1100 tagged Rainbow Trout yearling last Friday.

DPI Fisheries Technician Garry Caldwell said they typically release 20,000 younger fish at around 50mm in length. Now, they’re trying a new approach with the yearlings – which typically measure 200mm – in an effort to reduce redfin predation.

“It’s for research purposes,” explained Mr Caldwell. “We want to see how many may live and what kind of return we get from them.”

Fishermen are asked to report when and where they catch the tagged fish, via the website listed on the tag: taggedrecapture.

“We want to see if they’re surviving at the yearling size better than the little fellas,” he said.

“These are a lot larger than what we normally put in. We want to give them a little bit more chance the reddies don’t eat them.”

Mr Caldwell said the yearlings will need another six to 12 months before they’ll provide much sport for fishermen. Representatives from the Tumut Acclimatisation Society were on hand Friday for the stocking effort, excited to see the small fish spreading across the dam.

“It’s good for the local economy, we have all sorts of fish put here, trout and native fish,” said ‘Blue’ Free.

“It’s good sport and keeps the kids off the street.”

The yearling trout, measuring an average of 200mm, are tagged with the DPI’s website address for reporting.

The fingerling trout came from the Gaden Trout hatchery in Jindabyne. Mr Free said there would be other species released into the dam and Tumut River from different hatcheries over the coming months.

“These DPI guys are a really big help,” said Mr Free. “If we didn’t have these stocking programs, there’d be hardly anything going on.”

The Tumut Acclimatisation Society is made up of volunteers and stocking programs are funded by their fundraising efforts and revenue from fishing licenses.

“We do it just because our hearts are in it,” said Mr Free.