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River Surveys

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IFS staff member, Paul Middleton undertaking an annual river survey

Over the past week, we started our annual river surveys. So far, we have surveyed the South Esk and Meander Rivers. The Russell River and Mersey River are to be completed over the coming weeks.

Three 100-metre reaches on each river are assessed by backpack electrofishing. This involves working through each 100-metre section three times with the aim of capturing the fish present.

The trout from both the Meander and South Esk rivers were in outstanding condition. We found good numbers of native fish with many blackfish and eels present in both rivers.

Three sites were assessed between Meander and Deloraine, with 53 trout sampled. Of these fish, 34 were takeable (greater that 220mm in length). The largest fish captured was 422 mm, with the average size of the takeable fish roughly 330mm.

To date, two sites on the upper South Esk River have been assessed. Lots of trout were present at the Upper Esk Road Bridge. There were 113 fish taken from this stretch, mainly fry, showing that the future of the South Esk River trout fishery is looking bright. Twenty fish were greater than 220 mm (takeable size) in this short section of river.

Griffin Park was the other site we assessed on the South Esk. Here we found 20 brown trout, 17 were of takeable size with the largest being 324 mm.

Both the South Esk and Meander rivers are at good levels for fishing, and our river surveys show there are plenty of fish there to catch! This time of year you can’t beat using grasshoppers for bait, and celta lures are also a good option. Fly anglers will do well with nymphs, dry flies or grasshopper imitations.

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