Should you fish the Eucumbene spawn run?

Not everyone is lucky enough to tangle with fish like this outside of the Eucumbene spawn run
Not everyone is lucky enough to tangle with fish like this outside of the Eucumbene spawn run

Fishing the Eucumbene spawn run is a pretty controversial topic amongst some. Its referred to disparagingly as “unsporting”, “shooting fish in a barrel”, “not fly fishing” and “disrespectful”. Fair enough I suppose, chucking around a couple of glo bugs and four split shot isn’t everyones cup of tea. For the rest of us though, should we be fishing the run or not?

Firstly, its good to look at what trout in Australia are here for. Contrary to the beliefs of some, trout are not a native species. There is no inherent value of trout in Australian waterways. They were introduced so people could fish for them. They are here now so people can fish for them. That is the only real value of trout in Australia, to provide sport and entertainment for the thousands of avid trout anglers that live in this country. Unlike Europe and the Americas, where trout are native fish that play an important part in aquatic ecosystems, in Australia, they perform no such role. If they aren’t providing anglers with entertainment, the truth is, there really isn’t any point of them being here.

Which brings me to the spawn run, because that is exactly what the spawn run provides so many anglers from around he country. Entertainment. Hours and hours of entertainment. For many who live a long way from Australia’s trout streams, fishing the spawn run is the only trout fishing they will get to do all year. For others it is the best chance they will get to tussle with a 5lb+ fish all season. The spawn run is a once in a season opportunity for many anglers. A chance to catch up with friends and catch world class trout. It is no wonder so many anglers hang out all year for the spawn run. That so many spend sleepless nights driving hundreds or thousands of kilometres to fish it. That so many spend their hard earned cash to fish for a few days in the freezing cold. The Eucumbene spawn run is an Australian fishing institution. It provides exactly what trout in Australia are there to provide. Entertainment by the bucket load.

The spawn run is most peoples only chance to go toe to toe with monster browns each season.
The spawn run is most peoples only chance to go toe to toe with monster browns each season.

Of course, there is a little more to it. IF there was evidence that the spawn run was impacting the overall enjoyment of the Eucumbene trout fishery across the year, if fishing the spawn run meant that the Eucumbene trout fishery was in danger of total collapse, then the “haters” might have a point and there may be a strong rationale not to fish it. I am aware of no such evidence. Even if there are impacts, if the impacts aren’t catastrophic, they would need to be balanced against the significant social good, entertainment and economic activity (which is significant and a great boost to the local economy) that fishing the spawn run provides.

Given the lack of evidence that fishing the spawn run does much damage to the fishery, most of the criticism is not about the impact on the resource, but about the uncouth methods, unsporting-ness and general madness of fishing such a popular fishing institution. On a personal level, those criticisms are completely fair enough. If you don’t want to fish the run because of the crowds or the methods or the moral grey area that is fishing for any spawning fish, more power to you. It is certainly not for everybody. That doesn’t mean that it is “bad”, just that its not your thing (its not really mine either).

So if you ask me, as long as you are taking your rubbish with you, respecting the environment around you and not being a dick (and yes many people will be breaking these commandments as they do every weekend all around Australia, which is always a pity), if you want to fish the spawn run, fish the spawn run. Enjoy it. Revel in it. Make the most of it. Heck, you can even spin fish it for all I care. Thats what trout are here for. To be enjoyed by fly fishermen and spin fishermen alike. If you don’t want to, if your idea of trout fishing is catching trout on dry flies and only dry flies, if the idea of fishing for spawning fish with four split shots and two glo bugs makes you dry wretch, don’t fish it. Thats perfectly fine. We each enjoy the sport of fishing in our own ways, which is part of what makes the sport so wonderful in the first place.

If you do see anyone breaking the commandments and using illegal tactics while fishing the spawn run (jagging, bait fishing, using sinkers as lures, keeping undersized fish) you can report them to the NSW DPI by calling 1800043536 or report them online through the NSW DPI website. Remember to include any information you can such as vehicle registration numbers and the like.

Cheers

Hamish

 

flickandflyjournal.com

Hamish Webb, Dan Firth, Graham Fifield and Lee Georgeson have been fishing the south-east Australian region since 1987. Since then they’ve become avid sportfishermen who are constantly looking for new ways to challenge themselves. They are all scientists and conservationists who are passionate about the long-term sustainability of the ecosystem in which they live. They promote understanding and appreciation of the complex socio-political, economic and environmental issues surrounding fish, fishing and fisheries, while never losing sight of the various motivations that keep them coming back. In English, that means they love all things fishing and have a damn good time on the water, and that’s all that really counts in the end!

12 thoughts on “Should you fish the Eucumbene spawn run?

  • April 10, 2015 at 5:00 pm
    Permalink

    I’m strongly against angling for spawning fish if they are native to an area, be they native freshwater or native marine fish. (Noting it’s a lot less obvious most of the time when marine fish are spawning.)

    But I agree with your comments on alien trout, they’re an introduced species here in Australia (an unnecessary and extremely damaging one too), they’re here to be caught, so they should be caught … even during the spawning run.

    Yeah, this activity doesn’t bother me.

    Reply
    • April 11, 2015 at 8:57 am
      Permalink

      Totally agree on native fish. Natives are a completely different ball game for lots of reasons, they are native for a start. They play important roles in Australian ecosystems, most freshwater species are only at a fraction of their pre-european population levels. They need all the help they can get.

      Cheers
      Hamish

      Reply
  • April 11, 2015 at 1:02 pm
    Permalink

    Oh dear Simon.

    There is ABSOLUTELY no evidence whatsoever to suggest that trout are “extremely damaging” to the natural Australian aquatic ecosystem; yes, they may predate on small native fishes from time-to-time, but so too do native Australian fish species, so really, what is the difference? There is no rampant predation on native fishes on the part of trout which would suggest that trout are ” extremely damaging” or are of sufficient numbers to decimate or otherwise impact on native fish numbers.

    Trout and native species co-exist without any measurable detriment to native populations and due to their requirement for cold, unpolluted water, their habitat range differs markedly from that required by native species which, of course, require warmer water that trout.

    May I suggest that you take an open mind to the Jindabyne hatchery, talk to the EXPERTS there and form a balanced view.

    Regards,
    Neil

    Reply
    • April 13, 2015 at 12:25 pm
      Permalink

      PS Neil

      “May I suggest that you take an open mind to the Jindabyne hatchery, talk to the EXPERTS there and form a balanced view.”

      A friend of mine did and was most amused to be told by these so-called experts “there were no native fish in mountain streams before trout” — a manifestly wrong, and easily proven wrong, in fact embarrasingly wrong claim.

      These people are not expert in anything other than propagation of a alien predatory fish.

      Frankly, the vast majority of people in state fishery departments are insanely biased towards alien trout their comments are not to be believed.

      It is no coincidence that these “trout-at-all-costs” fishery departments have not commissioned a single proper field study on the impacts of trout on native fish … despite having more than 100 years to do so.

      Then again, these are the agencies that STILL stock trout into endangered Macquarie perch habitats.

      If you think releasing an predatory alien species into an endangered native species’ habitat is acceptable, I suggest you get help.

      Consider a state government agency, filled wtih fantatical fox-hunters, that uses taxpayers’ money to breed predatory alien foxes, in a dedicated fox-breeding facility, for the 1% of the population that hunts foxes, and then releases those foxes throughout the landscape — including endangered bilby habitats — and then tells you with a straight face that foxes don’t eat bilbies, and that foxes have nothing to do with the native animals that have vanished everywhere they’ve been released.

      Yeah, right. Well, that is exactly what we currently have with alien trout in this country, and it’s insane.

      Reply
    • April 13, 2015 at 12:29 pm
      Permalink

      The Sydney Mail and New South Wales Advertiser
      Saturday 19 August 1899, Page 474
      http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article163689253
      Notes by “Plomb”
      Macquarie perch (Macquaria australasica) is caught in the Murray, Lachlan, Murrumbidgee, and other rivers in the plain[s] land, and in the mountain streams which tumble down the slow slopes of the western ranges towards the southern part of the colony. They are fine food fish, good sport, plentiful, and bite at similar baits to the coast perch. … The perch of the Snowy River district are being ousted by the imported trout, which have got a firm lease of the river, and have served every other fish in the streams with a personal notice to quit, accompanied by a writ of cap. ad sat.*

      * Possibly Ad Saturatum? (Latin: to saturation?)

      The Sydney Mail and New South Wales Advertiser
      Wednesday 4 May 1904, Page 1142
      http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article163986219
      Fishing. By The Fisherman.
      The trout in the Jenolan River are doing well, but a recent fresh will carry a lot of them down stream. If the western flowing rivers become stocked with trout the small cod will have a bad time. Cod are more valuable to the State as food than trout.

      Evening News
      Saturday 21 December 1907, Page 7
      http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article113896605
      FISHING NOTES.
      At Adaminaby we were joined by Mr. West and party. The result of a day’s fishing at Rosedale was 40 trout, [Macquarie] perch and cod. Three perch weighed 12lb; six brown trout were among the number.

      The Sydney Morning Herald
      Saturday 15 February 1908, Page 16
      http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article14935501
      ANGLING.
      It is thought in some parts of the country that trout have driven the Indigenous fish out of the parts they frequent, but this belief is not held by Mr P. Heyland and other observers on the Snowy and Upper Murrumbidgee. In these waters [Macquarie] perch, bream [silver perch] and mountain trout [Galaxias species] have been taken lately.

      The Sydney Mail and New South Wales Advertiser
      Wednesday 22 March 1911, Page 36
      http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article164299065
      Outdoor Australia
      During a violent storm of hail one afternoon on Upper Murrumbidgee, the Macquarie’s [sic] perch became ravenous. The trout had ceased rising a few minutes earlier, so a line was baited with worm. The instant that hail and rain began there was a run, and for 15 minutes bait after bait was taken. When rain stopped they stopped as though arranged by a signal, and the fat worm no longer enticed them—why? is a problem, since we really do not know much of the ways of under-water creatures.

      The Tumut and Adelong Times
      Tuesday 15 November 1932, Page 2
      http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article135136782
      ADELONG.
      Local anglers are wondering what is wrong with the Murrumbidgee this season, as the cod refuse to bite. Just an odd one seems to fall to the lure of the white grub or worms, and even the little ones, which usually are bait-robbing all day, are conspicuous by their absence. Some attribute it to the late cold weather, and snow water still coming down, but it is time now that most of the cold water had run off. There is one theory that may be correct — and that is that the river is getting a lot of big trout in it, even this far down, and it is a well known fact that cod and trout do not agree in a stream, and the trout hunt the cod away. Last season several trout were caught about these parts in the Murrumbidgee, and as they seldom take on the heavier cod tackle, they must be getting plentiful.

      The Land
      Friday 5 February 1937, Page 2
      http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article104144816
      A Countryman’s Diary. By Warrigal.

      … The chief objection, however, to the presence of the trout in these rivers is that it is a voracious eater of young cod, and some authorities believe that it will in time exterminate the Murray cod, just as the giant freshwater gar has exterminated the catfish in some of the prairie rivers of America.


      The Burrowa News
      20 May 1932, Page 8

      Trout in the Dam

      HUGE HAULS

      ARE THEY CLEANING OUT OTHER FISH?

      It has been the considered opinion of enthusiastic fishermen for a long time that rainbow trout are wiping out other fish, such as cod and bream, from the waters of Burrinjuck (says “Yass Tribune”). The main contention for this opinion is that the reports of former hauls by amateur parties seems to be becoming merely history. The old hands will tell one of Saturday and Sunday nights on the river when they could not pull the cod out quick enough. One rarely hears of such successful fishing parties in these times. Fishermen are just as enthusiastic and numerous as in former years and presumably just as able as their older colleagues, but they don’t seem to get as many fish. It is held in some quarters that wholesale netting in season and out of season, by persons trying to make a living, has cruelled the sport for amateurs. But has not netting in Burrinjuck waters always been rampant? Moreover, in these days every professional fisherman is only just making a living and in many cases just a hand-to-mouth existence because of limited hauls.

      The conclusion, therefore, seems to be that there a less fish. The humourist will say, of course, that there is a lot of water mixed with them, but no more than in former years. The trout are now being blamed for the diminution in fish, and there seems overwhelming evidence that this is so. It has been learned from a reliable source that a certain fisherman took up to 100lbs. of trout out of Burrinjuck, per nets, on nights not long ago. Although out of season, the fish were despatched by car towns and met a ready market.

      It is enough to make the true angler shed tears of blood, but it is nevertheless true. Trout up to 13lb. have been netted. The fishermen netting these trout are not altogether to blame, because they simply can’t help netting them. They are after cod and bream but can net practically nothing but trout. The trout are almost dead from exhaustion when the nets are lifted, so it is useless throwing them back. The trout when opened up are full of young fish—cod and bream—up to three inches in length. Is that the reason why stories of big hauls of cod seem only distant dreams?

      When a weary angler wends his way up the hundreds of steps below the dam, with a 6 or 8lb.
      trout and commences to relate the great fight he had with the fish, old hands at Burrinjuck are
      inclined to smile to themselves. Is it any wonder when it is common knowledge in the village that trout up to 13lb. are being lifted out of the nets in the backwaters without any thrills?
      However, the heart of the trout angler being what it is, he will still pursue his strenuous sport even if it be that trout are ignominiously being taken out of the still backwaters in the hundreds!

      The Sydney Morning Herald
      Saturday 18 September 1937, Page 13
      http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article17419590
      VANISHING COD.
      Problem of the Rivers.
      Take, for example, the English trout, which some say have cleared out our Murray cod from the upper Murrumbidgee. 
      Sydney Mail
      Wednesday 3 August 1938, Page 35
      http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article166524717
      OUR RIVERS ARE FISHLESS
      By Harold C. Morgan
      I am afraid that some recent writers have failed to get down to the main factor governing the shortage of trout in at least one of our largest trout-fishing Waters — viz., Burrinjuck and its feeder rivers. These waters cover an area of over 12,780 acres of surface water in the storage alone; it is up to 200 feet deep in many places.

      I HAVE fished these rivers and the dam itself for many consecutive years, and I have been up and down the trout-fishing length of the Yass, Murrumbidgee and Goodradigbee rivers. In the last four years I have noticed a marked lessening in the numbers of trout, as well as of other fish. Having made many inquiries as to the cause, I learned of much that could easily be rectified. There are professional fishermen in these waters who use nets, besides hundreds of yards of cross lines, each line carrying many hundreds of hooks. These men hate the trout with a bitter hatred, as they claim that they destroy the young cod — the most payable market fish of any they catch. Therefore, when they do catch a trout it is pitched as far up the bank as they can throw it. This fact is borne out by finding large dead trout well away from water levels.

      Also:

      (1905)—There is good trout fishing near Tarana … “Trout”, says one old angler, “will eat anything but the log fences hereabout. They have cleared out the bream, the cod, and the carp, but we will not mind that if they stay themselves.” [Fish River, Macquarie system]

      (1906)—Some years ago cod, bream and blackfish were plentiful in these parts, but since the advent of the trout they have disappeared, and this process is expected to be extended as the trout gradually work their way down the stream. [Delatite River]

      (1907)—In some parts of Monaro local people regard the trout with anything but favour. They know that the introduced fish have driven the indigenous edible fish away, and they regret the circumstance, especially as regards the capital edible [Macquarie] perch.

      (1912)—The rainbow [trout] has been accused of “bossing” the streams and driving native fish away from their feeding grounds. [Upper Murrumbidgee River]

      (1916)—The opinions recently expressed about the English trout destroying the native fish seem to cause us to doubt the wisdom of introducing this fish, and whether it may eventually turn out a pest like the rabbit. [Seven Creeks system]

      (1928)—That trout are gradually getting downstream is evidenced by the fact that a 4lb. trout was
      grassed in the King River at Oxley … Anglers contend that trout will gradually kill out the Murray cod and perch.
      (1928)—Trout have been introduced into nearly all the streams, and as a consequence the blackfish and other native fish are being exterminated … I am instructed to state that the greatest difficulty is the destruction of native fish by the trout. [Launceston, Tasmania]

      (1938)—A man who fished on the Lachlan for years and years told the speaker recently the fish there were just as good as ever. Nets and crosslines were used in the Lachlan and it was not half the size of the Murrumbidgee. The Lachlan was a renowned stream for fish for the simple reason that there were no trout in it. The moment trout were liberated it meant the end of the cod. The Cotter and the head of the Murrumbidgee were alive with fish when he was a boy. On a hot day one could see hundreds of perch and bream in the Little River, but he would defy anyone to find them there. The trout had driven them out or destroyed them. [Canberra Region]

      (1939)—I agree … that English trout and perch have been chiefly responsible for the disappearance of young cod. Mr. Noye says that he has caught … a trout containing three small cod. [Goulburn/Broken systems]
      (Langtry, c. 1950)—The catch of brown trout indicated that they are becoming a menace to the native fishery. Wherever trout predominate, native fish fail to reach any importance … it is ludicrous to protect this fish … [Murray system]

      Upstream of Wangaratta it becomes obvious that trout and native fish will not coexist. Trout inevitably gain the upper hand not only in the headwaters but also, especially in the case of the brown trout, in the lower reaches. Would it be feasible to discontinue the liberation of brown trout? [Ovens system]

      AND THIS IS JUST A TINY, TINY PART OF THE HISTORICAL EVIDENCE!!!!!

      Reply
  • April 13, 2015 at 12:13 pm
    Permalink

    Oh Dear Neil, you can’t really be serious.

    Mate, fly-fishermen, and fishery department personnel (usually one and the same) have exploited the fact that there was no monitoring or recording of the impacts of trout introduction and spread during the late 1800s and early 1900s … and that memories of trout impacts have largely been forgotten.

    But that game is over now. Mountains of historical evidence and research has blown that away. The myths fly-fishers have been telling themselves for years about empty upland rivers, no large sporting upland native fish, and magical lack of trout impacts have been blown away.

    (Having said this, to believe trout magically had no impacts has always been absurd given we only have to look at the track record of alien predators on our terrestrial wildlife … Also ludicrous when you observe trout zooming about in an upland stream smacking anything that moves …)

    Trout HAVE had horrendous impacts. Trout and trout stockings have succeded in extirpating a distinct upland native fish assemblage in the southern MDB that included trout cod, Macquarie perch, blackfish (either or both species) and mountain galaxias (multiple species). And yes, trout cod and Macquarie perch ARE primarily upland native fish, that DID thrive to extremely high altitudes in the cold, clear cobble-stone streams that youd escribe — and now call “trout streams”.

    The evidence is overwhelming and indisputable.

    And trout do not co-exist with native fish in most situations … which is why all natural upland trout cod populations are now extinct, most natural upland populations of trout cod are extinct, and why we have lost many mountain galaxias species, with many more (9 just described) critically endangered, clinging to existence in ridiculously short stretches of headwater streams free of trout.

    Now to cut short a long loop, neither I nor anyone else is calling for trout eradication (which seems to be the fear of many fly-fishers). Nor even a significant change in their current distribution. But foolish denials of the horrendous impacts of trout and trout stockings must cease. Irresponsible stockings of trout in endangered Macquarie perch habitats must cease, permanently. And serious thought must be given to reestablishing trout cod and Macquarie perch — for both conservation AND catch-and-release fishing — in a few decent-quality upland streams … ideally one of the number of streams that have become thermally marginal for trout in recent years due to global warming.

    Reply
    • April 13, 2015 at 12:34 pm
      Permalink

      Correction:

      That should be:

      “… which is why all natural upland trout cod populations are now extinct, most natural upland populations of MACQUARIE PERCH are extinct …”

      Reply
  • April 13, 2015 at 12:57 pm
    Permalink

    Oh Dear Neil,

    It is this kind of wilfully ignorant commentary that supports the misconception that the highland rivers where empty of native fish.

    As for there being “ABSOLUTELY” no evidence that trout have caused significant impacts to native fish (I assume by SHOUTING this assertion by the way that you hope to make the complete lack of evidence for this ASSERTION somehow more acceptable) I can supply you with countless historical references that suggest that not only did trout and their stockings contribute significantly to the decline of our native fishes and that this activity was of concern to the land owners at the time , but that native fish (including Macquarie perch, trout cod and silver perch amongst many other species) where indeed present in almost every upland river we now hail as some of our best trout fisheries.
    To claim that native fish never existed in highland streams and rivers is not only highly illogical and ecologically indefensible, it ignores decades of historical records to the contrary. It is literally the deliberate representation of a un-truth.

    Additionally, if as you claim “native species co-exist without any measurable detriment to native populations”, then where are the native fish populations in rivers like the Eucumbene? Or the upper Murrumbidgee? They were there, now they’re not. These rivers are still in wonderful condition, so what could have changed to extirpate the native fish from these waters? The deliberate introduction of a predatory species perhaps? Could you really say this for sure as you were not present in the late 1800’s when trout were first introduced to these rivers, and therefore have no idea what native fish were present, nor what impacts they suffered after the introduction of trout into these ecosystems (baseline data and monitoring, one of the crucial elements in understanding ecological impacts).
    Also, you have then immediately contradicted your own assertion on this point by then claiming that native fish and trout require different habitat. Therefore you are concurrently claiming that native fish and trout can co-exist at the same time as claiming that there were no native fish present to co-exist with… Huh???

    If you can name me a single reputable source that shows with genuine scientific rigor that;

    1. Trout have had nill effect on native fish populations in this country

    2. That native fish such as the Macquarie Perch and trout cod never existed in upland rivers and streams in Australia

    then I will pay some attention to your point of view but not before.

    As for an open mind, I have fished for trout on the fly for over 10 years, and I love catching them, but I never let myself believe for a second that trout actually belong in those rivers. Some rivers are perhaps beyond recovery and will forever have trout and nothing but in them (Eucumbene, Thredbo, Swampy plains etc). However other rivers and streams that still have the capacity to host our native species (Tumut, Cotter, Goodradigbee) should be used to recover these species and allow limited recreational fishing for these species (such as trout cod) to the benefit of all.

    Even the experts at NSW fisheries that you hold in such high regard have begun to stock trout cod into Talbingo reservoir for this exact purpose as of January of this year; http://katrinahodgkinson.com/cod-stocks-boosted-in-south-west-dams/

    So how open is your mind exactly?

    Regards,

    Alex.

    Reply
  • May 21, 2015 at 9:46 am
    Permalink

    Why is it I cannot go to any site without Simon leaving his ecological rant alone. Either fish or educate, but you do neither. You ignore facts that counter your argument, but then chastise others for a similar bias. Your references to other stocking programs (both NSW and QLD) a case in point.

    Ideally, without human interaction these rivers you decry would be have secummed to other detrimental impacts. So called environmentalists who wage a war with those who enjoy the outdoors only divides our ability to lobby from a secure standpoint – and achieve change. The evidence is writ large in the US and European history.

    So Simon, avoid trolling your single issue zealotry on forum that only inflames rather than focusing on the mutual benefits available to Australia. And if you have concerns about my credentials, I’m a fully qualified aquatic biologist who fishes.

    Reply
    • May 22, 2015 at 9:35 am
      Permalink

      The Australasian

      Saturday 27 June 1925, Page 64

      THE NATURALIST.

      BUSH NOTES.

      By Donald MacDonald.

      KHANCOBAN TROUT

      The topic is quite out of season, but the following notes from E.J.R. (Moonee Ponds) are very interesting:—
      “You wonder when, and by whom these great trout streams were first stocked. The first question is hard to answer, but not the second. I think that I state facts when I say that Mr. Lewis sent 500 yearling rainbow trout up to this stream only two[?] years ago, and that is, I think, the first trout that have been liberated in the stream. Victoria has stocked the Nariel Creek and the Ghongla for many years, and I am fairly sure the fish have worked up from these streams.

      “Speaking to old residents of the district, they told me of the great numbers of perch and cod they caught in this stream only 10 or 12 years ago, and it is about that time they first noticed fish [trout] rising there, and how the [native] perch and cod have died out.
      Now it is rare to hook one of those [native] fish.”

      Reply
  • May 22, 2015 at 9:33 am
    Permalink

    I would reply Gary by saying, why can’t I go anywhere without seeing trout zealots absurdly claim that trout have magically had no impacts on upland native fish?

    And, no Gary, there are plenty of upland streams in the southern MDB that have not “succumbed” to other forms of degradation and absolutely, undoubtably WOULD still hold healthy wild populations of trout cod and Macquarie perch … were they not filled with high densities of alien predatory trout … and constantly reinforced with stockings of alient trout.

    And if I do overstate the case—and I really don’t believe I do—it is because people like you understate the case. I’m tired of the absolute absurdity of denial, including things like fishery department information sheets and recovery plans that try and even deny trout cod and Macquarie occurred in upland habitats, and fail to even mention trout impacts. It’s just truly pathetic. Talk about elephants in the room, double-think and double-speak.

    What really pisses me off about people like you portraying me as an extremist is that actually, my position is very reasonable … and it is the trout camp that are actually the extremists.

    All I’m after is:

    — some recognition that our southern MDB upland streams actually did abound with large native fish

    — some recognition that trout introduction and trout stockings did have severe impacts

    — a cessation of irresponsible trout stockings in streams that hold remnant endangered Macquarie perch populations (or other endangered fauna).

    — a handful of upland streams in each state becoming dedicated upland native streams, for both conservation and catch-and-release fishing (where trout populations are minimised to the maximum extent possible and upland native fish regularly stocked until firm populations establish)

    This is a pretty bloody reasonable wish-list, that leaves trout fishing in SE Australia as a whole unchanged, and actually improves freshwater fishing diversity and options in SE Australia, and brings conservation.

    Nah, sorry mate, YOU are the unreasonable extremist here … proven by your instant ad-hominem attack against me because I “dared” to say something against the precious trout.

    Reply
  • May 22, 2015 at 9:56 am
    Permalink

    Gary,

    While Simon’s expression of his argument can be said to be somewhat forceful, he does have some very valid points, which include;

    •There was once (before significant interference to them through the stocking of thousands of introduced predatory fish for over 100 years) thriving native fish assemblages of large native fish in our southern waters, including in many rivers we now consider trout waters (and there is significant evidence for this).

    •That the impact on these native fish species by introduced trout has been widely ignored by vested interests for those ‘mutual benefits’ you’re talking about (otherwise known as ‘licence fees’ to fisheries departments to continue trout stocking).

    •That many of our “trout” waters are perfectly capable of hosting native species such as Macquarie Perch and Trout Cod and that if we were to re-establish these species in these waters that they could become valued fisheries in their own right.

    All of these points you have failed to argue against, despite your claim of “facts” supporting your view. I must say for a “fully qualified aquatic biologist” your feelpinions and anecdata are a pretty poor replacement for these supposed facts and not the kind of argument I would expect from someone with scientific training. Like Neal above, you are simply asserting what you feel to be the case without any supporting evidence.

    As for ‘environmentalists going to war with those that enjoy the outdoors’… well I agree with you! We need to be engaging with rec fishers and outdoorsmen and outdoorswomen everywhere to let them know about the beautiful and unique fishery that has been lost to them, and that could be restored. After all, look at the rise and rise of the profile of the Murray Cod in Australia over the past decade. Imagine if somebody tried now to claim that these iconic native fish were inevitably going to succumb (correct spelling by the way) to the many detrimental impacts they have suffered since European settlement and that we shouldn’t bother trying to recover them because carp are so much better to fish for. I would say anybody daring to suggest such a thing nowadays would be ground into the dust by the negative press that would generate.

    I am not suggesting that trout should be removed from our streams and rivers, only that in certain waters that can host them, that native upland fish like Macquarie Perch and Trout Cod be reintroduced and given a chance to thrive for everyone to enjoy… even you Gary!

    Reply

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: