I’ve been fishing Googong a fair bit recently and enjoying good success on the yellowbelly. It has been a lot of fun, and with the lower water levels at the moment it has been possible to explore a bit more water than when the dam is full. I was recently fishing a shallow inlet and came across what I thought were spawning yellowbelly. Yehhaaa! I thought, until I realised that what I was witnessing were three carp mooching in the shallows.
A quick google search for carp in Googong confirmed what I had thought until now: that Googong was supposedly carp free. It is broadly acknowledged that there are koi and goldfish in the dam, but what I have seen are definitely carp. I know a mud marlin when I see one. Since the first sighting, I’ve been back and spotted them every time. Fish ranging from 2-5 pounds.
We have asked a few of the local anglers and fisheries folks about their knowledge of carp in Googong. Responses have ranged from ‘They’re not in there. I spend a lot of time on the water, and I think I would have seen them’, to, ‘Yeah, they’ve always been in there, just in low numbers’. So what’s the verdict in terms of whether it is carp free? It ain’t. Thankfully, at this stage, the numbers appear to be low. Hopefully (and perhaps perversely), the hoards of hungry redfin are suppressing the populations, with the resident population of yellowbelly and monster cod keeping a lid on the population of larger fish.
How they got in there is anyone’s guess. It’s extremely unlikely to have been the result of the Murrumbidgee to Googong water transfer pipeline – extensive effort and research went into ensuring carp (and their eggs) could not be transferred. It’s a shame that the investment in this was arguably wasted. Consequently, it’s likely to be natural transfer by birds, the result of someone introducing carp into a farm dam in the catchment, unscrupulous behaviour by fishers using carp as livebait, or deliberate introduction.
We’re keen to hear anyone’s thoughts on the issue, or whether there have been other sightings. Feel free to comment below or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Update: Carp have recently been confirmed in Googong. Following this blog being posted, we were contacted by a couple of local fisheries ecologists who expressed interest in the reports. Unfortunately at the time the response was, ‘We are pretty sure they are goldfish, but may try to do some electrofishing or eDNA research’. Well, I guess I can now, sadly, say ‘I told you so’! I can’t help but wonder whether eradication might have been possible had my initial reports been taken more seriously. Highly unlikely, but it is particularly sad due to Googong having become one of Australia’s premier big cod fisheries. Who knows what will happen in coming years.