CATFISH have been released into Crusoe Reservoir to boost population numbers and eventually attract fishers.
The 500 fingerlings were put in the Kangaroo Flat water supply on Tuesday - the first time the fish have been placed in Victorian waters.
Fisheries Victoria is hopeful that within a few years the populations will flourish and the fish will be large enough to catch.
Senior fisheries officer Greg Brodie said the fish were not yet able to be caught by recreational fishers, but that restrictions would be reassessed in the next couple of years.
"People in the future might be able to catch them," he said.
"Within three to five years they'll probably get to around 300mm to 400mm.
"Any enhanced fish population benefits both the environment and tourism."
Member for Northern Victoria Damian Drum said the fish boost was part of the first instalment of catfish fingerlings.
He said the $133,920 in funding for the catfish was provided by proceeds from recreational fishing licence fees.
"We can see there's already strong numbers at Crusoe Reservoir," he said.
"This will improve recreational fishing opportunities and rebuild the catfish population."
"Catfish were once widespread across northern Victoria but a decline in distribution and abundance now limits them to only a few locations, so they are classified as a threatened species."
In Victoria catfish can only be taken by anglers from the Wimmera catchment, with a daily bag limit of two catfish.