Illegal fishing targeted over trout spawning season

A SIX week high profile compliance operation targeting hundreds of trout fishers in the Snowy Mountains has found the majority of anglers are doing the right thing, Department of Primary Industries Supervising Fisheries Officer, Peter Tilbrook, said.

“DPI Fisheries officers and NSW Police and Roads & Maritime Services (RMS) boating safety officers inspected almost 700 recreational anglers as part of Operation DPI India 15 from 1 May to 9 June,” Tilbrook said.

“The operation including both covert and overt surveillance measures, focused on patrolling the Eucumbene and Thredbo Rivers in the Snowy Mountains to check compliance during the annual Trout Spawning Stream closure period.

“The Snowy Mountains is home to the biggest and best brown trout run in Australia and this year was probably the best ever, and many anglers travelled to the local rivers to try their luck, mostly to undertake catch and release fishing.

“The closure period is in place from 1 May to the end of the June long weekend and provides protection for early spawning brown trout and a reduced bag limit of one trout per person per day with a minimum size of 50cms and a total possession limit of two applied.

“All fish checked and measured during the operation were all legal size, with no fish of prohibited size being seized which indicated it was predominantly large fish involved in the spawning run.

“We also conducted more than 130 vehicle searches looking for illegal catches.

“It was pleasing to see such a high rate of compliance among fishers with 90% abiding by the rules to help protect our fisheries resources for future generations.”

This spawning closure period for anglers in the Snowy Mountains occurs earlier than for the rest of NSW due to early spawning brown trout.

The spawning stream rules apply to the Thredbo River and its tributaries and the Eucumbene River and its tributaries (upstream of the Lake Eucumbene dam wall and including Providence Portal).

“The restrictions also provide fishers with the opportunity to catch a trophy sized trout – in particular the Eucumbene River has provided excellent fishing for large brown trout over the past few years,” Mr Tilbrook said.

Anglers are reminded that fishing is now prohibited in all designated trout rivers and streams throughout NSW and the season reopens on the Saturday of the October long weekend. Anglers can continue to enjoy their fishing in trout dams which remain open to fishing all year.

A number of people were issued written cautions and penalty notices under the Fisheries legislation for a range of offences including taking or possessing more than the bag limit of fish, either not purchasing of carrying their recreational fishing fee receipt, possessing fish illegally taken, using excess rods and the mutilation of fish.

“Fisheries rules and regulations are in place for a reason and are an important tool in the future management of our precious fish stocks,” Mr Tilbrook said.

“People who engage in illegal fishing activity should be warned that heavy penalties apply.

“We need community members around the State to report any suspect or illegal fishing activity observed along any of the thousands of kilometres of waterways in inland NSW.”

Anyone with any information should contact the Fishers Watch Phoneline on 1800 043 536, their local Fisheries office or online at

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