It's always a pleasure to report an unselfish action by an angler. Recently, local Canberra promoter Adam Samios organised a fishing competition on Lake Burley Griffin called Pride of the Perch, with a $1000 first prize for the largest golden perch caught.
It was a beaut little tournament, hard fought by over 50 of the best anglers in Canberra. The winning fish was 43cm in length and was caught by a chap called Matt Benton. So what did he do with the money? Donated it immediately to the Canberra Region Fishing Alliance for future stocking of Canberra's urban lakes with native fish. That was a tremendous gesture; well appreciated by his fellow anglers, and a great indicator of the faith anglers have in the value of native fish stocking programs.
Fishing has improved dramatically in Jindabyne and Eucumbene in recent weeks. Lots of big browns have been caught on trolled lures and fly, but the best news has been the return of the rainbows. As we have reported previously, something went wrong with rainbow stockings in 2011 and 2012, but the 2013 stocking looks to have been eminently successful. Lots of fish, now mostly in the 25-30cm range, have shown in both lakes and have been taken on small trolled and cast lures and on fly. On most days they can be seen feeding at or near the surface, taking midges and caddis, and even trying to swallow large Bogong moths. This is a pleasurable scene; one that we have not seen for a long time and the fish should quickly grow to a large size.
The 26th Annual Diplomatic Fishing Tournament fished at Lake Eucumbene was a great success. More than 100 people from 13 embassies and missions in Canberra, together with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, took part and they caught a lot of big fish. The heaviest 76 fish weighed in averaged 957g, which was very pleasing. Most were caught trolling with Tasmanian Devils, Kwikfish and small minnow patterns, but some nice browns were landed on fly, especially Pheasant Tail Brown Nymphs and size 18 Midge Balls. Unfortunately, heavy algal growth restricted shore-based bait fishing. The winning team was the Polish Embassy, for the second year running, followed by DFAT, and then the US Embassy.
Many of the regional trout streams are now drought-affected, running low and gin clear. Fly fishers have resorted to long leaders and small flies, with an ultra-cautious approach, to catch a fish, but it has been hard going. Nymphs have been most effective, but small dries have provided some fun as the weather warms and insects become more active
The Murray cod season got off to a good start, with some nice fish at Burrinjuck and Wyangala. Lure fishers did well with a mix of deep divers, especially Smak Golden Child and Burrinjuck Specials, spinnerbaits, particularly Noxious and Jackpot, and surface walkers including the Halco Night Walker and Taylor Made Cod Walloper and Surface Breaker. Anglers seem happy with the new slot limits of 55 and 75cm but as previously, most fish, irrespective of size, would have been returned immediately after capture.
Golden perch at Burrinjuck have now spread widely from the Main Basin, with good numbers reported from Good Hope well up the Murrumbidgee Arm, above Wade Island in the Goodradigbee Arm, and up to Devils Pass in the Yass River Arm.
Bait fishers have done well from the shore with shrimps, yabbies and scrub worms, or bobbing flooded trees. Saltwater prawns have also accounted for some good fish. Many of the goldens are feeding in the shallows during the day, but competition from carp is fierce. Soft plastics bobbed up and down on flooded trees have also been effective, especially with black and other dark coloured 5cm grubs.
Redfin finally seem to have come to life, with plenty of active schools reported in Canberra's urban lakes and Googong and Burrinjuck dams. In Googong and Burrinjuck in particular, the fish are feeding actively on small baitfish at and near the surface, and respond quickly to small lures, bait and fly. Most of the fish are small, but some are large enough to eat.
Anglers chasing bass in the lower reaches of the Shoalhaven River have reported a strange situation whereby they are catching bass, flathead, bream and carp, all in the same section of brackish water! The fish seem to be cohabiting peacefully, but anglers have expressed concern that the carp may be acclimatising to increasingly brackish water where they had not been seen previously.
An adult bass caught recently in Lake Burley Griffin caused a stir, predictably. The fish looked to be in good health and, unexpectedly, had survived Canberra's cold winter. It was thought to have been illegally stocked by someone, but raises the question of whether it should be considered for stocking as another recreational species in the lake. They couldn't breed there, so there would be no problem of population management. A good thought for local anglers to consider.
Carp provide plenty of competition for bait anglers chasing native fish in Canberra's urban lakes and Burrinjuck Reservoir.
The 2011 and 2012 rainbow trout stockings appear to have been failures, but fish from the 2013 stockings look to be growing well.
The Murray cod season is off to a flying start and anglers seem content with the new size slot limits of 55 and 75cm.
Browns are still the mainstay of the Eucumbene and Jindabyne fisheries, with good numbers of fish in the 1-2kg range on lure and fly.Reads: 661