Snowy River’s bass secrets revealed

Research funded in part by Victoria’s recreational fishing licence revenue has provided an insight into the migration patterns of Australian bass in the Snowy River.

Minister Responsible for Fisheries Joe Helper said the research indicated adult bass could move with ease across a 16km stretch of shallow river – known as the sand slug – north of Orbost.

“Some bass actually spent significant time in this sandy stretch of river suggesting it contains some suitable habitat for these iconic fish,” Helper said.

“To track the bass, scientists from the Fisheries Research Branch at Snobs Creek implanted fish with acoustic tags that could be detected by data loggers placed along the length of the Snowy River.”

Acting Executive Director Fisheries Victoria Anthony Hurst said this approach revealed many adult bass travel extensive distances, moving upstream at speeds averaging over 3 km/h.

“Two tagged bass travelled an amazing 83km, swimming downstream from Jackson’s Crossing to Marlo Jetty and the Little Snowy River near Marlo,” Hurst said.

Although extensive movements were recorded year round scientists found significant migrations to the lower reaches of the catchment during late winter and spring.

“Australian bass migration towards the ocean during the colder months suggests a spawning area from Loch End downstream to Marlo, and up the Brodribb River to the Cabbage Tree Creek,” Hurst said.

“As water temperatures increased in spring, bass moved away from the ocean to waters higher in the catchment. Although bass moved throughout the day and night, they preferred staying close to woody snags and boulders during daylight hours”.

“After dusk, however, the bass were shown to move into the deeper waters along the Snowy River.”

To obtain a full copy of the Australian bass movement and migration in the Snowy River study, visit and follow the links to research reports.


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