Angler surveys of Lake Eucumbene providing important insight into fishery

DPI Fisheries Officer with a brown trout on the Eucumbene River. Image: NSW Fisheries

THE Lake Eucumbene trout fishery is an iconic destination for anglers from across Australia. The fishery has undergone boom and bust periods since the lake first filled in the 1970s. The fishery for brown trout in the lake is world class, but in recent years, anglers have reported low catches of rainbow trout. Therefore, the fishery in Lake Eucumbene was assessed using angler surveys over the peak summer season 2014/15.

The detailed surveys collected information on fishing effort, catch-and-release and harvest, angler targeting preferences, fishing methods, and the reasons why fish were released. Preliminary results suggest that the shore-based fishery harvested more, and significantly larger, rainbow and brown trout, and attracted twice the fishing effort to that of the boat-based fishery.

The study also found that rainbow trout were caught and either released or harvested at approximately twice the rate of brown trout in both the boat and shore based fisheries, and that most rainbow trout originated from natural recruitment. In addition, existing size and bag limits did not effect many anglers as they voluntarily released many harvest-eligible trout.

This study provides crucial data to inform future management strategies in Lake Eucumbene, and provides a baseline to assess future change.

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