Since 2000, more than 3.7 million native fish fingerlings have been stocked into Lake Eildon to improve fishing opportunities for anglers. That’s a lot of fish into one lake!
Native fish are relatively slow growing. Golden perch take around three years (to reach 30cm) while Murray cod take four to five years (to reach 55cm), depending on the productivity of the waterway.
Native fish are also long-lived so are available to anglers for quite some time, often more than 10 years. It’s important to acknowledge however that predation, natural mortality and harvest by anglers means that not all stocked native fish live that long.
Included in the table are details of the ‘Murray cod million’ project. One million extra Murray cod fingerlings were stocked into Lake Eildon over three years (2011-2013). This was in addition to the 50,000 fingerlings, or thereabouts, the lake normally received. The project was funded entirely by recreational fishing licence fees and commenced soon after drought-breaking rains saw a rapid rise in water level, flooding the shallows and hugely boosting lake productivity. This was ideal for fingerling survival and growth.
Anglers have reported a noticeable ‘pulse’ of small and very fat Murray cod between 45-55cm in recent years, which are probably fish from the ‘Murray cod million’ project.
Most trout in Lake Eildon spawn naturally in its inflowing tributaries during winter. Some of those make their way back down to the lake and take up residency. Some stocking of trout also occurs, but it is unclear what contribution they make to anglers’ catches.
These trout stockings use one year old fish (yearlings), which are about the size of a person’s hand. They have improved survival when stocked at this size, but cost considerably more to produce in the hatchery. Extensive research has confirmed yearling trout stockings deliver more for anglers on most occasions and in most waters.
Trout are much shorter lived than native fish so the ‘stocking investment’ doesn’t last as long. They grow rapidly when compared to native fish such as Murray cod and golden perch.
Following the drought breaking rains of 2010, Lake Eildon trout improved in condition significantly and provided very good fishing.
Redfin breed naturally in the lake and do not require stocking. Their numbers fluctuate depending on water conditions and lake level, spawning habitat and predation by birds and other fish.
Highly prized by anglers for their eating qualities, they are often targeted by anglers and also caught as by-catch while chasing trout and native fish. – Compiled by Marc Ainsworth, DEPI Fisheries
|Year||Murray cod||Golden perch|
|Note: Between 2000 and 2005, the Futurefish Foundation stocked large numbers of Murray cod and golden||perch into Lake Eildon. Their contribution is included in the numbers above.|
|Year||Brown trout||Rainbow trout|