Fisho survey – Have you fished Tuross Lake since 2004?

THIS piece is actually a request to Tuross Lake regulars to send us back a bit of information.

A couple of weeks ago the South East Trawl Fishery Industry Association (SETIA)’s Newsletter featured some analysis of a NSW DPI/Fisheries study completed back in 2005 which compared captures by anglers recorded in a 1999/2000 study with catches from one conducted in 2003/2004. The first was undertaken prior to the lake’s establishment as a Recreational Fishing Haven (RFH) in 2002 and the second a couple of years later.

Our report in the News section generated a range of claims, counter claims and theories, as there were unanswered questions about changes in harvest levels for a number of popular species. Link to report here.

For example, in the second study the recreational harvest of both dusky flathead and sand whiting (both number and weight), yellowfin bream (number only) and sand mullet (weight only) had increased significantly, but levels for luderick, yelloweye mullet, and large and small-toothed flounder had all decreased significantly. There were also significant seasonal differences in harvest rates between the two surveys.

Having now read the full report, we see that the authors put forward a few speculative theories as to why this should be so, and recommended that surveys should be repeated every 3-5 years to monitor longer term trends, but to the best of our knowledge this hasn’t happened. So from their speculations we’ve devised a few questions we hope regular Tuross anglers might respond to. It would be just plain interesting to read some answers to these questions even if we don’t “prove” anything definitively about Tuross or the success of RFHs generally. Despite the view of some scientists, anecdotal evidence does have value, particularly when it’s backed by personal catch diaries.

So, if you’ve fished Tuross Lake between 2004 and now:

  • Have your catches of duskies, yellowfin bream and whiting continued to improve in numbers and average lengths?
  • If yes, do you think the soft plastics boom of the early 2000s and other new techniques like poppering contributed to this?
  • Did you change your primary target species as/if numbers built up (eg from luderick to yellowfin bream, or from mixed-bags to duskies or whiting specifically)?
  • If you’ve regularly kept fish for the table, have your retention habits changed? For example, if you’ve caught more whiting, duskies or bream, have you released more mullet, luderick and tailor, for example?

Hopefully we’ll get some interesting answers, and of course other theories or comments would, as always, be welcomed.

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