Sydney-based trout fishers warned about low water risks

Water levels of Lake Jindabyne and Lake Eucumbene are the lowest they have been in many years.

AN SOS has gone out to city based trout fisherman as the winter fishing season ramps up, coinciding with extremely low water levels at NSW alpine lakes, particularly Eucumbene and Jindabyne.

Roads and Maritime Services Maritime Principal Manager South Mike Hammond said boaters would need to navigate with extra care this season – particularly if they had not been boating on the lakes in several months.

“Water levels of Lake Jindabyne and Lake Eucumbene are the lowest they have been in many, many years,” Mr Hammond said. “To put this into perspective, Eucumbene which is the largest of the two lakes, has capacity for the equivalent of nine, Sydney Harbours. Right now, it is at 28 per cent capacity. The dangers associated with reduced water levels include the many submerged and semi-submerged hazards in the water, such as trees, fences and rocks – which won’t appear on electronic charts. Our concern is that many people who go fishing in our alpine lakes are from Sydney and surrounds and may not have been to the lakes since this time last year when the water levels and associated navigation hazards were very different. If skippers attempt to follow a path they preset last year, this will be bound to cause issues. A lot of the navigation markers are exposed, so many of the locations to avoid are not accurately flagged.”

Mr Hammond said anyone who fell into the water would be risking their lives.

“If do hit a submerged object, the water is around seven degrees, but in another month two degrees. You would only need to be in the water for a minute or two to be putting your life at risk.”

Mr Hammond said access to the waterways due to the very low water levels was also compromised. However, the NSW Government has allocated boating infrastructure funding, under the Boating Now program, to improve this access. 

“Several boats ramps are now not able to be used and those that are may be muddy and need extreme care,” he said.

“Launching a boat is only possible at Old Adaminaby, although the boat ramp is 50 metres from the water’s edge. Work is under way to install a low water level ramp.”

Boaters are reminded that life jackets are compulsory to be worn by everyone on board a boat on alpine waters in NSW.

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