A state government initiative to increase fish stock numbers at Lake Eppalock has been welcomed by a local fisherman.
Eppalock Fishing Facebook group founder Dion Hayes said the latest stocking of brown trout yearling at the lake will help increase participation among anglers and help boost the local economy.
“I was one of the people that actually contacted Victorian Fisheries Authority and encouraged them to put trout in Eppalock,” Mr Hayes said.
“Some people didn’t like the brown trout but I think it’s a good thing for Bendigo and for the lake, so families can go have a barbecue, use the facilities and chuck a rod out and catch something other than redfin.”
The lake was stocked with 166,000 brown trout yearling that were grown at the Victorian Fisheries Authority’s Snobs Creek hatchery and then released at Lake Eppalock.
In addition to the yearlings that were released last year, in previous years there were 6000 catchable brown trout stocked which Mr Hayes estimated to have been approximately 25 cm in length.
“Some diehards want it to be a native fishery only, and when you’re stocking an introduced species like trout, some people turn their nose up,” Mr Hayes said.
“I think it’s great for Eppalock because it gives us more fish to catch, especially during winter.”
Mr Hayes said brown trout are a winter species and they’re more active and catchable during the colder months of the year and the latest addition has added another “fishing element” to Eppalock.
In 2017 Lake Eppalock was also stocked with native Australian fish which included 200,000 Murray cod and 150,000 golden perch.
The increase in stock is part of the state government’s Target One Million plan that intends to grow participation among recreational fishing to one million anglers state-wide by the year 2020.
State Minister for Agriculture Jaala Pulford announced the latest Victorian fish stocking number milestone in a media statement.
“From historic Lake Toolondo in our far west, right up to our north east– we aren’t leaving any angler dry on their quest to reel in a catch,” she said.
“2017 has seen fish stocking records tumble for recreational anglers across Victoria and there remains even more stock to look forward to.”
“The enormous leap in trout production at Snobs Creek is a credit to dedicated fisheries staff who are committed to growing, transporting and releasing fish that make a real difference for anglers.”
Barkers Creek Reservoir, Cairn Curran Reservoir and Tullaroop Reservoir were also stocked.