The Inaugural Murray Codference
Report from Jason Middleton
In December I attended the first Murray Codference, held in Shepparton, Victoria. This was a free, single day event, funded through Victoria’s Target One Million. It attracted a great cross section of cod enthusiasts, from barefeet and fishing shirts, lots of Akubras, and people from down southern the southern end of Victoria right up to northern NSW. The conference attracted more junior anglers and families than other fishing conferences, reflecting the strong influence of cod fishing.
The Codference went through early observations on cod and their habitat, the history of European discovery and early scientific research and breeding, and changes over the decades of the Murray Darling Basin including habitat and fishing methods. Following the history of de-snagging, damming, and commercial fishing, the return of the cod was discussed, and included some assessment of cod breeding patterns, movement of the population within rivers, and the broader biological chain of the river. The loss of the wetlands was highlighted, with examples given of the redgum encroachment into traditionally wetland grasses such as moira grass and the loss of biofilms, and the impact that has in improving carbon absorption and reducing contributors to black water events.
It was also interesting to note the slower growth rates observed in cod, such as in the Murrumbidgee. Other interesting discussion points were the stressors on cod reproduction, not only during spawning, but leading up to it and following it.
In NSW there has been genetically selective stocking to improve the diversity of the fish. Over 900 sites, NSW has stocked 12 million cod.
Specifically querying the NSW panel about water controlled releases in areas like the Murrumbidgee to improve cod survivability, it was generally agreed by all the experts that this is not managed well.
There is almost certainly going to be another Codference this year, still in Victoria but possibly a bit further north. Ideally it would be a bit longer, noting many presenters were short for time with only 15-20 minutes each – and after all, a day and a half would allow for some night fishing in between. I’d certainly go back, and I encourage anyone else interested to go too.
NSW Council of Freshwater Anglers to meet at Orange
The next General Meeting of the NSW CFA will be held at Orange on Saturday 18 February 2017. The venue is the Ophir Tavern, 84 Glenroi Ave, Orange. Starting time 9.30 am.
Some of the topics on the agenda include new biosecurity legislation and implications for Redfin, delays in formation of a recreational angling peak body and executive officer, angler access, state government levies on councils returning water to waterways, NSWCFA nomination to RFFTEC, consultations with NSW government opposition partie, Lake Eucumbene fluctuating water levels and NSWCFA finances. Reports will be received from the RFA of NSW, RFFTEC and RFNSW delegates and regional vice-presidents.
There are numerous accommodation options in Orange. They include, but are not restricted to:
• Ophir Tavern (our meeting venue), room rate: $98.00, website: http://www.ophirtavern.com.au/ Phone (02) 6362 5874
• Quality Inn Ambassador: 174 Bathurst Rd Orange, room rate: $148, website: http://ambassador-orange.com.au Phone: (02) 6393 7500
• Ibis Styles, Orange: 146 Bathurst Rd Orange, room rate: $149.00, website: www.ibis.com/Styles/Orange Phone: (02) 6362 6033
• West End Motor Lodge: 2-6 Dalton St Orange, room rate: $107.50 website: http://www.westendorange.com.au/ Phone: (02) 6362 5755
All members and interested anglers are welcome to attend.
Gaden Trout Hatchery news
December saw Gaden receive a total of 58 mm of rain, with several isolated thunder storms late in the month. Water temperatures slowly increased to a maximum of 20°C. The Thredbo River was low due to the lack of rain early to mid-December.
Due to low river levels and all circulars and raceways inside the caged area being utilized for fingerlings before their release, water flow was limited to many of the earthen ponds at the site. These ponds will be monitored until normal flow rates can be once again be used. The hatching room is not currently in use and will remain this say until mid-January when the tagging program commences. By this stage, a portion of the fingerling stocking program will be complete, which will enable a few ponds to be turned off and water to be diverted for use in the hatching room. Aeration has been installed where appropriate.
Trap maintenance and repair is scheduled to begin in January when contractors are back from the Christmas/ New Year break.
Further surveying of property relating to proposed shared trail bridge and associated soil analysis for absorption trenches and inspection of the amenities were undertaken during the month by both separate National Parks and Shire employed contractors. The shared trail was recently opened from Snowline to hatchery bay and has been heavily utilised during the school holidays. Numerous cyclists have continued onto the hatchery grounds as a result of signage/misinformation about the bridge structure at the site.
Stocks on hand
Fingerlings are all feeding well. Fingerlings mortality to date has been minor and all fish are in good condition.
Atlantic Salmon: 2,000 fingerlings, 400 1+, 155 2+, 90 3+, 60 4+, 30 5+.
Brook Trout: 2,500 fingerlings (future brood/sales), 250 1+, 20 2+
Brown Trout: 105,000 fingerlings on hand..
Rainbow Trout: 255,000 fingerlings on hand, 1,000 1+ future clinic, 300 2+ fishing clinic, 280 3+
Electronic tagging was completed by staff from Gaden and the Narrandera Fisheries Research Centre in January for 75,000 fingerlings to Lake Jindabyne and 37,500 for Lake Eucumbene (out of a total 150,000 allocation).
New freshwater invasive species
The suburbs of Melbourne have become home to a dangerous new ecological invader. Six years ago, a single smooth newt was found in a pool of water at a Melbourne building site by a construction worker. The find was deeply alarming because it is the first time an entirely new amphibian order has been recorded outside of captivity in Australia.
The smooth newt (Lissotriton vulgaris), which belongs to the amphibian family of salamanders and newts, is native to large parts of Europe and to western Asia. Originally brought to Australia for the aquarium pet trade, it’s likely the newt found in Melbourne originates from escaped or released captive animals. Australia has no native salamanders or newts, so this discovery presents a potentially huge problem for our wildlife.
The detection of wild-living newts in Melbourne triggered an immediate response from the Victorian Government, which carried out surveys in 2011 to determine the extent of the incursion.
Four additional sites were identified in 2012, and another two were uncovered in 2013 from e-DNA sampling conducted by Dr Reid Tingley of Melbourne University. Some of these sites were up to 5km from the initial incursion, suggesting the problem may be much more widespread.
Smooth newts are prolific breeders, they have a broad diet and can use a wide range of terrestrial and aquatic habitats. They are likely to compete for food and habitat with native frogs and fish, and are potentially carriers of chytrid fungus, which has decimated frog populations worldwide. Native predators including birds, snakes and fish are also at risk if they ingest the potentially deadly skin secretions produced by the smooth newt.
An assessment by the Australian Government identified the smooth newt as having a ‘moderate’ invasive species risk, and concluded that impacts on native plants and animals were uncertain. However, two years after the first detection, the former Victorian Department of Environment and Primary Industries decided not to take any control action. Despite the modest $300,000 estimated price tag, the department conservatively considered the feasibility of eradication as ‘low-moderate’.
This decision caused concern among local scientists, who believed that a preventative course of action should be taken to avoid another cane toad disaster. For the Invasive Species Council, the poor decision-making represents fundamental flaws in Australia’s national biosecurity response systems and the low priority given to stopping invasive species that harm the environment.
With pro-bono assistance from ecological consultancy, Ecology Australia, the Invasive Species Council undertook surveys in the spring 2016 breeding season to determine if the smooth newt is persisting in Melbourne. Bait traps, dip netting, electrofishing and e-DNA analysis were used. So far, the newt has been found surviving around at least one of the previous sites and in a new nearby site.
The data collected will help trigger a rethink on eradicating the smooth newt from Melbourne before it has time to colonise other parts of Australia.
Nominate for vacancies on Trust Expenditure Committees
There are currently four vacancies on the Recreational Fishing Saltwater and Freshwater Trust Expenditure Committees (RFSTEC and RFFTEC, respectively).
Expressions of interest are sought for the following positions on the committees:
Region 1 - NSW-Queensland border to Evans Head, and
A person representing a NSW recreational fishing organisation
Region 7 – north west NSW, and
A person representing a NSW recreational fishing organisation.
Applicants should have knowledge and experience of recreational fishing, and a willingness and ability to assist with assessment of funding applications for Trust projects. Meeting preparation time would also be required.
The Committees generally meet three each year. Members are paid a sitting fee, travel and accommodation expenses and are appointed for terms of up to three years.
For more information and maps on the regions, check out this link.
Applications close on 12 February 2017.
NSWCFA Interclub Flyfishing Meet
The annual NSWCFA Interclub Fly Fishing Meet will be held at Wallerawang from Friday evening 5 May to Sunday lunchtime 7 May 2017. That is the weekend before Mother’s Day.
We are asking affiliated clubs/associations to send one or more teams of five members each to compete for individual and the overall best team trophies. Please nominate your team captain as soon as you can.
- Fly Tying - competitors submit three flies (dry, wet & nymph) by Saturday lunchtime in any of three divisions of Beginner, Intermediate and Open. Team points are awarded for first, second and third with a team point awarded for each entry.
- Photography - freshwater fishing scenes, with/without angler. Photos are judged by all competitors and team points are awarded for first, second and third place with a team point awarded for each entry.
- Fly casting (Sunday) - two competitions of distance accuracy (20m) and dry fly accuracy (short casts into five rings). Team points are awarded for first, second and third with a team point awarded for each entry.
- Fishing (Friday midday to Saturday 6pm) - points are awarded for number of fish caught and released and for best impoundment trout, best stream trout and for best ‘other species’. Other species include native species, carp and redfin.
- Angling Knowledge Quiz – team points are awarded for the teams with highest score (first place) to lowest score (last place).
Team members are awarded points from each competition and the points are added to their team’s tally. The team with the most points is awarded the Best Club/ Ross Salvato perpetual trophy. Winners in recent years were:
2012 - 1st Central Coast Fly Rodders, 2nd Sydney Fly Rodders, 3rd Singleton FFC/Lakeside FFC
2013 - 1st Central Coast Fly Rodders, 2nd Sydney Fly Rodders, 3rd Lakeside FFC
2014 - 1st Central Coast Fly Rodders, 2nd Lakeside FFC, 3rd Sydney FR/NSW Rod Fishers Society
2015 - 1st Lakeside FFC, 2nd Sydney Fly Rodders, 3rd Illawarra FFC/Central Coast FRC.
2016 - 1st Central Coast Fly Rodders, 2nd Sydney Fly Rodders, 3rd Lakeside FFC
Several self-contained cabins have been reserved for the Meet at Black Gold country Cabins, Wallerawang. These are well appointed and reasonably priced. Some people attending may prefer to arrange their own accommodation in the Black Gold motel rooms or villas but there is a big demand for these rooms so attendees should book early, directly with Black Gold Country Cabins, email: firstname.lastname@example.org; web site: http://www.blackgoldcabins.com.au/.
Other accommodation at the hotels in Wallerawang may be available, but, please make your own arrangements. Free camping is available at the Lake Wallace camping area, Wallerawang.
Dead carp wash up on Hindmarsh Island, SA
During January the ABC reported that hundreds of fish have washed up on Hindmarsh Island in South Australia as blackwater continues to move through the River Murray system.
Blackwater has been working its way down the river system since last year's floods, with decomposing organic material, including leaves and bark, washing into the river. Resident Catharina Taylor said the dead carp had created a "horrible smell" and she feared the smell would get worse in the summer heat.
Ms Taylor said she had alerted Alexandrina Council and the State Government's Primary Industries and Regions SA (PIRSA) department about the dead fish, but was told no help to clean up the mess would be offered at this stage.
In a statement, PIRSA said it was aware of the fish kill and it had occurred as a result of the freshwater species being trapped in the saline Coorong waters.
"During these natural kills, it is typical that animals and birds will generally clean up dead fish that remain from these events," it read.
"Dead fish should also decompose rapidly in the current warm conditions and any inconvenience should pass quickly."
Read the full story at this link.
Want to know where your licence money goes?
A summary of new projects recommended for funding from the Recreational Fishing Trusts and updated February 2016 is online at this link.
Become a Foundation Member of the NSWCFA
Freshwater anglers are invited to make a special contribution to the NSW Council of Freshwater Anglers (NSWCFA) in the interests of all freshwater anglers in NSW.
You will be well aware of the challenges freshwater anglers face in sustaining the freshwater fishery in NSW, especially regarding the preservation of angler access. The NSWCFA constantly strives to overcome those challenges but we need your financial support to meet the costs of that work.
We are appealing to members who can afford to make a small extra annual contribution to become NSWCFA Foundation Members to help meet our operating costs. Foundation Membership is just $25 per year—less than the cost of a NSW fishing licence.
Foundation Members are recognised on a special page in the NSWCFA website and at the foot of NSWCFA newsletters.
Your contribution will help meet the cost of hiring meeting venues across NSW and out-of-pocket expenses for committee members who attend meetings on your behalf (such as train, taxi, bus and parking). Your contributions will also be used for the production of our monthly email newsletters, which are sent to hundreds of members, for stationery, copying, postage, internet and telephone costs, insurance to cover the personal liability of committee members, affiliation fees to the Recreational Fishing Alliance of NSW and corporate return filing fees.
Please click here for a Foundation Membership form.
You can pay by cheque, direct credit, Visa or MasterCard.
Thank you to our Foundation Members
These Foundation Members have generously made a special financial contribution to the NSW Council of Freshwater Anglers in the interests of all freshwater anglers in NSW.
Adaminaby Fishing Club, Damian Balfour, The Barrington Club, Don Barton, Garry Brown, Kevin Brown, Oliver Brown, Vicente Butron, Ken Chapman, Richard Cottam, Richard Chesham, Geoff Davis, Radge Diakiw, Fred Dunford, FlyLife Publishing, Dan Frogan, Peter Gibson, Max Harris, Laurie Hoffman, Gordon Jones, Anonymous, Kevin Kai, Michael Lyons, James Mackie, Rob Marich, Peter Mason, New South Wales Rod Fishers' Society, Neil McAully, Sean McSharry, Ben Nieuwerth, Alan Phillis, Wayne Power, Ian Roache, Don Salter, Paul Sanders, Joe Searl, David Sheers, Paul Summerhayes, Anonymous, Hock-sook Tham, David Tinworth, Lofty Tottenham, David Wilson, Colin Wise.
Fishing season reminders
Zero bag limit for bass and estuary perch starts 1 May and ends 31 August. Catch and release is allowed. The zero bag limit does not apply to fish in stocked freshwater impoundments, including Glenbawn Dam and Glennies Creek Dam in the Hunter Valley, Brogo Dam near Bega and Clarrie Hall and Toonumbar Dams in the northeast; anglers may continue to fish for these species in those waters all year round.
Spawning season starts 1 May in the Snowy Mountains and special rules apply to the Thredbo River and its tributaries and the Eucumbene River and its tributaries (upstream of the Lake Eucumbene dam wall and including Providence Portal). A minimum size limit of 50 cm, daily bag limit of one and possession limit of two trout will apply to these rivers from 1 May to the end of the Queen’s Birthday long weekend.
Annual closure on fishing in trout streams for NSW will be in place from Tuesday after the Queen's Birthday weekend and re-opens on the October long weekend. Trout dams remain open to fishing throughout the year.
When the season opens again in October, a minimum size limit of 25 cm, daily bag limit of two and possession limit of four trout again applies to the Thredbo and Eucumbene Rivers and other fly and lure only waters in NSW.
Season closed in NSW from 1 September to 31 November, except Copeton Dam.
Eastern Freshwater Cod
The annual three month fishing closure of the Mann and Nymboida Rivers and their tributaries comes into effect 1 August to 31 October. All fishing in the specified area is prohibited to enable the endangered Eastern Freshwater Cod to spawn uninterrupted during its breeding season. Eastern Freshwater Cod are totally protected throughout NSW regardless of where or when they may be found.
Closed all year other than the following waters between 1 June and 31 August each year inclusive: (a) Murrumbidgee River between the Hume Highway road bridge, Gundagai and Berembed Weir near Ganmain and (b) Murray River from 130 below Hume Weir near Albury to the Newell Highway road bridge at Tocumwal
Crown road closure applications now ONLY online and in local papers
In August 2012 the NSW government started to clear a backlog of applications to convert Crown roads to freehold. This includes many 'paper roads' that could provide important fishing access to the public. Initially NSW DPI was monitoring the flow of applications and notifying angling groups including the RFA of any applications that could lead to loss of fishing access. However the number of applications has now increased dramatically and NSW DPI has stopped notifying angling groups due to lack of resources to cope with the avalanche.
The NSW government launched an online service showing the applications at http://roads.crownland.nsw.gov.au
The roads notices are searchable by date, locality and local government area. The information will remain online for the full 28 day submission period for each proposed road closure. The maps contain information to clearly identify which roads are being offered for sale and closure, without revealing the identity of landholders or applicants.
Anglers must monitor the website and their local newspapers (the only place the government is obliged to advertise proposed closures) so they find out about closures in their area. If you don’t watch this situation and quickly lodge objections when necessary you could lose valuable access to your favourite places.
How old is that trout?
Ever caught a fin-clipped trout in Eucumbene or Jindabyne? If you have, you can determine its age by the position of the clipped fin. Every year thousands of trout are fin-clipped by volunteers at Gaden Trout Hatchery so that the age group can be identified. Different fins are clipped to indicate the year.
The chart below, courtesy of Fisheries NSW, shows the fin-clip location for recent years. Click the image to see a bigger version you can print and carry in your vest.
Fish Habitat Network on Facebook
FHN has a Facebook page that frequently carries news about fish habitat events and projects as well as links to news items from other states and countries.
Go to http://www.facebook.com/fishhabitatnetwork and Like their page to stay in touch.
New Waterways Guide from PaddleNSW
PaddleNSW has launched its new Waterways Guide at http://www.waterwaysguide.org.au/
The online Waterways Guide is a paddling guide to Australian waterways. It provides descriptions of rivers, lakes, estuaries and the seas off the coast of Australia. It is based on the touring information published in the Canoeing Guide to New South Wales book and enables it to be updated, and enhanced with maps, photos, real time weather and river data, access points, trails and camping spots. The original information is being extended with the assistance of keen paddlers to include all waterways including estuaries and seas.
Who represents anglers?
Recreational Fishing NSW Advisory Council
Advisory Council on Recreational Fishing minutes
Recreational Fishing Freshwater Trust Expenditure Committee members and minutes
Recreational Fishing Saltwater Trust Expenditure Committee members and minutes
Recreational Fishing Alliance of NSW Facebook page
NSW Council of Freshwater Anglers Facebook page
Newsletter banner photograph courtesy Alistair McBurnie, © A McBurnie 2016
Is your club a member of the Council of Freshwater Anglers?
The NSW CFA is the main umbrella group for freshwater fishing organisations in NSW and enjoys a productive relationship with the NSW Department of Primary Industries and other agencies and recreational fishing organisations. We welcome all freshwater fishing clubs as members and as visitors to our meetings. Member organisations are able to send voting delegates to our quarterly meetings. For information about joining the NSW CFA, visit our website www.freshwateranglers.com.au or contact Mr Radge Diakiwv at email@example.com or (02) 9449 3539.|
Council of Freshwater Anglers Members
ACT Fly Fishers; Anglers Action Group (Sydney Northside); The Barrington Club; Bass Kempsey; Bass Sydney; Big River Bass Fly Fishing Club; Blue Mountains and Nepean District Angling Association; Canberra Anglers' Association; Canberra Fisherman's Club; Central Acclimatisation Society; Central Coast Flyrodders; Council of Southern Districts Angling Clubs; Fly Fish Bathurst; Greenwells Fly Fishing Club; Hastings Fly Fishers; Hawkesbury Nepean Bass Anglers' Association; Hunter Native Fish; Illawarra Fly Fishers; Lakeside Fly Fishing Club; Mid North Coast Flyrodders; Monaro Acclimatisation Society (includes Adaminaby Branch, Bombala Branch, Braidwood Fishing Club, Delegate Branch, Kydra/Kybean Branch, Anembo Anglers Club, Cabramurra Fishing Club, Cooma Trout Acclimatisation Association, Dalgety Branch, Khancoban Angling Club, Nimmitabel Branch, Tumbarumba Branch, Waterfall Farm Fishing Club, Queanbeyan Anglers Club, Tumut Branch, Upper Goodradigbee Branch, Yass Branch, Jindabyne Branch, Talbingo Branch); New England Trout Acclimatisation Society; New South Wales Rod Fishers' Society; New South Wales Coarse Angling Research Club, Orange Trout Acclimatisation Society; Professional Fishing Instructors & Guides Association; Scone Amateur Fishing Club; Singleton Fly Fishing Club; Southern Bass Fishing Club; Springwood Fishing Club; Sydney Fly Rodders; Sydney Coarse Anglers; The Lakes; Vikings Fishing Club; Wingham Anglers.
NSW Council of Freshwater Anglers Peak freshwater fishing body in NSW www.freshwateranglers.com.au
Recreational Fishing Alliance of NSW Peak recreational fishing organisation in NSW www.rfansw.com.au
NSW Department of Primary Industries www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/fisheries
Fisherman's Watch Report all illegal activities Free call 1800 043 536
Subscriber details collected for Freshwater Fisher are used only for this newsletter and are not used for any other mailings by the NSW CFA, nor are they revealed to or used by any other organisation.