Cania Toga Trek
  |  First Published: December 2002

THE PINE River Fish Management Association (PRFMA), along with the stocking group at Lake Samsonvale (North Pine Dam) and the assistance of Boral Quarries Petrie, is trialling a scheme to create a source of saratoga fingerlings for Lake Samsonvale.

The PRFMA hopes to eventually be able to stock Lake Samsonvale with greater numbers of saratoga fingerlings at minimal cost. This will compliment the current population of Australian bass, yellowbelly, silver perch, Mary River cod and snub-nose gar.

At 3am on September 26, seven members from PRFMA, with two representatives from Boral Quarries at Petrie, set off for Cania Dam at Monto. This party made the journey with two four-wheel-drives, one sedan, two tinnies and the PRFMA’s fish recovery/transportation trailer. The plan was catch up to 20 adult togas, return to Brisbane and release the fish at Boral’s quarries on the northern outskirts of Brisbane on Saturday the 28th. For this release, Boral organised a family day and BBQ with local dignitaries, PRFMA members and Boral staff. Prior agreement of the Cania Dam Fish Stocking Association, and QFS permits were obtained to catch and translocate the togas to their new home.

The party arrived at Cania George Tourist Park at approx 11am Thursday. The locals advised that bass were on the go but the togas were quiet and finicky. By late afternoon only six togas had been caught, with at least triple that amount missed through members’ inexperience on how to stay connected to these magnificent sportfish. Bass and yellowbelly were easily caught, but the togas were reluctant to co-operate.

By day’s end, seven togas were in the trailer for the overnight stay after John Nolan from Boral scored one with a casual cast next to the boat ramp. With the oxygen gauges set so that the air stones in the trailer bubbled freely, the party retired for some sleep at the Tourist Park.

Next morning it was up at 5:00am and back on to the water. Everyone was keen to catch the next 13, but it didn’t happen! The team caught only four more saratoga, bringing the total to 11. Every method was tried – artificial flies (they should have used live ones because there were plenty around during the middle of the day), surface poppers, plastics, spinners and shallow diving lures. The majority of fish were caught on small lime green Cotton Cordels. The back trebles were removed to minimise injury to the fish, and Environets were used when handling the togas. All fish caught were of breeding size, and their quality and condition was superb.

Cania Dam is currently at only 5% capacity, but its picturesque surrounds are a must-see. The Cania Dam Stocking Association certainly has to be congratulated on their development of a great fishery at this magnificent location. The Association has its own hatchery and hopes that the dam will soon reach a level where they can carry on their great work.

Leaving Cania at 11am with 11 fish in the trailer, the party tackled the 520km trip back to Brissy, arriving home at 6pm Friday night. Oxygen cylinders were changed, gauges reset, the condition of the fish was checked and only an overnight stay in the trailer awaited the togas’ release on Saturday morning.

The release at Boral’s dam was celebrated by all present, with a family BBQ and a few drinks. Water temperature in the trailer was gradually brought up to the same temperature as the dam and then the togas were carefully released into their new environment, swimming off peacefully amongst the lilies and weed growth. It’s now up to nature and time to see the results of this trial.

Many thanks go to Boral Quarries at Petrie for their ongoing support, and also to the Cania Dam Fish Stocking Association for allowing the PRFMA to undertake this venture. – Malcolm Pattison.

To find out more about the PRFMA’s activities, including the stocking of Lake Samsonvale and how to obtain boating access permits, call 0417 742 023 or e-mail --e-mail address hidden--

1) Releasing saratoga into the Boral dam. [Photo by Chris Astill, PRFMA]

2) A new home for the saratoga at Boral Quarry, Petrie. [Photo by Chris Astill, PRFMA]

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