THE state government is hoping to lure in more tourists and boost fishing at Lake Eppalock, with 400,000 fish added to the lake.
Thousands of golden perch were released into the lake yesterday, as part of a $16m investment to promote recreational fishing.
Over the next two weeks 200,000 perch – that can grow up to 80cm long – will be added to Lake Eppalock, before another 200,000 next summer.
Treasurer Kim Wells said the aim was to revitalise the fishing spot. “Lake Eppalock was Victoria’s premier golden perch fishery more than a decade ago, before the worst of the drought,” he said. “Our aim is to get it back to that point, to give people an attractive place to come and fish in Victoria.”
Department of Primary Industries director of Fisheries Management Travis Dowling said the added stock was a great way to get more people casting a line. “In about two to three years when these perch have grown it will be very popular here,” he said.
“It’s going to make a big difference.” Mr Wells said recreational fishing was a huge industry and there were also significant flow-on effects for the local economy.
He said the combined release of 400,000 golden perch in 2013 and 2014, along with continued Murray cod stocking and angling club contributions, was expected to dramatically improve freshwater fishing opportunities in years to come.
Among the local angler groups the Heathcote Angling Club will release 12,000 golden perch fingerlings into Lake Eppalock using funds they have raised themselves. – JOSH FAGAN