NSW stocked fishing hotspots

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NSW has many stocked fishing waters, including trout and native fish.

Accessing a history of stocking events in each waterway is easy thanks to the government’s Google map. There are markers on all the stocked waters with a popup showing the stocking history.

Here’s a couple of screenshots below to give you the idea, and here’s a link to the government map … https://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/fishing/recreational/resources/stocking





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Exmouth’s grander blue marlin

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About 500 people gathered in Exmouth for the weigh-in of a 1089lb potential record blue marlin. Picture: Tackle World Exmouth
About 500 people gathered in Exmouth for the weigh-in of a 1089lb potential record blue marlin. Picture: Tackle World Exmouth

Exmouth is an amazing fishing destination, perhaps unique.

It was in the spotlight again this week after Peak Sportfishing landed Australia’s first grander blue marlin.

The fish was taken on New Year’s Day.

Skipper, ex-Darwin lad Eddy Lawler, and Coffs Harbour fisho Clay Hilbert, landed the 1089lb fish.

It is likely to be a new national record, and the first 1000lb+ blue marlin caught in Australia.

The current record is held by Melanie Kisbee, who caught a 996lb blue in 1999 off Batemans Bay, NSW.

Rowan Smith has the current WA record at 813lb, caught off Exmouth in February 2014.

The latest catch will attract international attention.

Exmouth is a prime location because the Continental Shelf comes in close, providing the deep clear water blue marlin like.

Broadbill swordfish are another possibility in such waters.

Exmouth is also renowned for nearby Ningaloo Reef, a fringing coastal reef that extends far south along the coast, with crystal clear water inside the sandy lagoon providing sight fishing for species such as bonefish, golden trevally, queenfish and giant herring.

Along the outside of the reef are all manner of fishing opportunities.

It is a true fishing playground.

Meanwhile, Tackle World Exmouth’s Jeni Gates said a fibreglass replica of the big blue marlin would be displayed in the shop.



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Busted in Great Barrier Reef green zones

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With all the mapping information that is available there is no excuse for being busted in green zones like these people.

There is a list of GBRMPA zoning maps and an app here.

And a downloadable KMZ file you can use in Google Earth is available here.

Not to mention most digital marine charts have the zones on them.

If you are caught, too bad …




Ten of the NT’s Million Dollar Fish caught in first month

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Ludmilla Creek
Darwin’s suburban Ludmilla Creek … could a red tag barra be in there?

The NT’s Million Dollar Fish tagged fish promotion, in its third year, has produced ten of the $10k barramundi for lucky anglers in the first month.

To recap, there were 101 tagged barra released across the NT early in 2017, with 100 of these fish worth $10k each. One fish is worth $1m.

Fishing started in October, and to date (early November 2017) 10 of the tagged fish have been caught already.

Some have been caught by landbased fishermen, you don’t need a boat to succeed, keeping in mind the crocodile danger.

The promo ends at the end of February 2018.

This is a world class promotion.

More info here … http://www.milliondollarfish.com.au/ … gotta be in it to win it!

NT’s Million Dollar Fish

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Kelli Carroll and George  Voukolos were among those to catch a $10,000  tagged fish in the Million Dollar Fish promotion
Kelli Carroll and George Voukolos were among those to catch a $10,000 tagged fish in the Million Dollar Fish promotion

If you haven’t already noticed, the Northern Territory leads the away among Australian states for its management and promotion of recreational fishing.
Not only has the NT pulled gill nets out of large tracts of coastal waters, to bolster its prized barramundi stocks, it has also spawned one of the best fishing promotions in the world.

The promotion is called Million Dollar Fish (MDF), and involves releasing dozens of tagged fish into various NT waterways for recapture, with the captors eligible for large cash prizes.

Seasons 2 (the second year) of the competition kicked off in October 2016 and saw 100 fish released with $10,000 tags in each, and one fish with a $1,000,000 tag.

Season 2 ends in February 2017, and a Season 3 is likely to kick off in October 2017, according to Tourism NT, which promotes the competition in conjunction with the NT’s Crownbet.

The MDF tagged fish recapture rate has been excellent, so good in fact that some people are scratching their heads as to why other barramundi tagging programs have recorded a far lower tag return rate.

As I write there have been seven of the Season 2 fish caught. The season kicked off in October and ends February 28. Season 1 saw 76 tagged barramundi released, with 10 fish recaptured, which exceeded all expectations.

Anyone can fish the competition, all you must do is register at http://www.milliondollarfish.com.au/

The tagged barramundi are released across the Top End, but the best chance for a recapture is believed to be Daly River, Mary River, Darwin and Bynoe Harbours, and the McArthur and Roper Rivers.




Redclaw bandits busted

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The illegal redclaw haul
The illegal redclaw haul

Fishers fined $7,000 for 798 redclaw tails

Two Townsville fishos found with eight times the legal possession limit of redclaw have each been fined $3500.

Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol district officer Robert Ibell said officers found 798 redclaw tails in a freezer at a Kidston Dam camp in mid 2015.

“The possession limit for redclaw is 40 per person but in this case two of four fishers at the camp had 319 of the freshwater crayfish over the possession limit,” Mr Ibell said.

“They were also fishing with five traps more than is legally allowed and their fishing gear was not correctly tagged with the owner’s name and address.

The fishers faced 11 charges in the Townsville Magistrates Court, including unlawfully possessing regulated fish and failing to comply with fishing gear laws.

They had no conviction recorded and all 18 fishing traps were forfeited to the court.

Mr Ibell said possession limits and restrictions to freshwater fishing gear were in place to protect Queensland’s valuable fish stocks from overfishing.

“A fisher must not use more than four canister, collapsible, funnel, round traps or four dillies, or a combination of these traps at one time.

“There is no size limit for redclaw, however, the possession limit is 40 from their natural range which is the Gulf of Carpentaria drainage and from Jacky Jacky River basin south to the Normanby River basin on the north east coast of Queensland.

“Female redclaw carrying eggs and young must be returned to the water when taken from these waters.”

Fishers have a responsibility to ensure they understand and are up-to-date with Queensland’s fishing rules.

COMMENT
While some of us may feel sorry for these guys having to pay $3500 each, if everyone did this sort of thing, our fisheries would be in dire straits. So a deterrent is needed.




Impoundment fishing

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Changing water levels remain an important factor in determining fishing quality at impoundments, and it seems levels fluctuate more than ever with today’s extremes of weather.

A good one-stop shop for water level information is this BOM website … http://water.bom.gov.au/waterstorage/awris/

With all the great info on the internet today, how did we catch fish before computers came along? 🙂

Hope you find the site useful.

BOM water levels screenshot

Queensland stocked impoundments

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The Queensland Government has almost doubled the number of stocked impoundments where anglers can fish under the Stocked Impoundment Permit Scheme (SIPS).

The expansion of the program from July 1, 2016, gave fishos access to 63 dams and weirs throughout the state.

“The addition of these fishing spots will see a boost to freshwater recreational fishing right across the state,” Minister for Agricultural and Fisheries Leanne Donaldson said said.

“Anyone over 18 who wants to fish in these waters will require a permit but the good news is that at least 75 per cent of the money received in permits will be directed back into the system.

“This means this money is being used to enhance the stocking program and for the first time, it will allow stocking groups to apply to use some of this money to enhance the recreational fishing experience at their local dams and weirs.

“The expansion of the SIPS will provide increased recreational fishing opportunities to regional communities through the provision of world class freshwater fishing.”

This is a win-win for recreational fishers, local fish stoking groups and regional communities right across Queensland.

“Currently the scheme generates revenue of approximately $1 million each year through the sale of some 50 000 permits,” Ms Donaldson said.

“SIPS will also move into the 21st century from 1 July with permits becoming digital making it fast, easy and convenient for anglers.

Digital permits for freshwater fishing will arrive by email or text message and will be able to be displayed on the phone.

Australia Post will manage the sale of permits which can be purchased online, at any Australia Post outlet or sub-agent in Queensland and from limited locations in northern New South Wales or over the phone.

An annual permit costs $50, $36 for an annual concession permit and a weekly permit is $10.

Permit fees have been fixed for the next five years.

New SIPS stocked dams and weirs …

· Aplins Weir Townsville (North Queensland)

· Caboolture River Weir, Caboolture (Moreton Bay)

· Goondiwindi (Hilton) Weir, Goondiwindi

· Miles Weir, Miles (Western Downs)

· Baroon Pocket Dam, Maleny (Sunshine Coast)

· Cecil Plains Weir, Cecil Plains (Toowoomba)

· Hinze Dam, Gold Coast hinterland

· Surat Weir, Surat (Maranoa)

· Beebo Weir, Texas (Goondiwindi)

· Chinchilla Weir, Chinchilla (Darling Downs)

· Inglewood Town Weir, Inglewood (Goondiwindi)

· Talgai Weir, Clifton (Southern Downs)

· Beehive Dam, Wallangarra (Southern Downs)

· Claude Wharton Weir, Gayndah (North Burnett)

· Jones Weir, Mundubbera (North Burnett)

· Whetstone Weir, Inglewood (Goondiwindi)

· Ben Anderson Barrage, Bundaberg

· Ewen Maddock Dam, Landsborough (Sunshine Coast)

· Koombooloomba Dam, Ravenshoe (Tablelands)

· Woodford Weir, Woodford (Sunshine Coast)

· Ben Dor Weir, Inglewood (Goondiwindi)

· Gill Weir, Miles (Western Downs)

· Lake Belmore, Croydon (Gulf Savannah)

· Wyaralong Dam, Beaudesert (Scenic Rim)

· Black Weir, Townsville (North Queensland)

· Gleeson Weir, Townsville (North Queensland)

· Lake Kurwongbah, Petrie (South east Queensland)

· Yarramalong Weir, Milmerran (Toowoomba)

· Bonshaw Weir, Texas (Goondiwindi)

· Glenarbon Weir, Texas (Goondiwindi)

· Lemon Tree Weir, Millmerran (Toowoomba)

4230 fishing markers in just two weeks

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The site has been up for only two weeks and already has 4230 fishing markers, with more on the way.

Comment functionality will be added to markers in due course, along with forum links for important marker discussion.

And then regular fishing articles, from a top team of fishing writers.

Wikifishingspots.com.au is still bare bones, but it is growing fast.

The site has kicked off with the important map items – boat ramps, shipwrecks and stocked waters. We’ll zoom into various spots with more detail once the basics are done.

Please don’t be shy. Sign up and add markers of your own, including your commercial fishing lodge or charter operation. We want it all on Australia’s fishing map.

Port Macquarie Artificial Reef

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Port Macquarie Artificial Reef
Port Macquarie Artificial Reef

NSW has gone down the road of installing purpose-designed reef systems. It is possibly the best approach, but it is also the top-dollar approach.

While NSW is doing a great job, I don’t agree with their departmental knocking of “junk” reefs.

Junk reefs have been hugely successful. Steel boat hulls – eg scuttled trawlers, oil rig tenders – and unwanted concrete culverts and yacht hulls and the like – have been a great success around the world.

In Australia, nowhere have junk reefs done better than in the NT. The NT has used scuttled hulls, mooring anchors, concrete culverts, bus stops, concrete pipes, and old mining gear. One of the best NT reefs is an old bottlewashing machine!

History has shown that some types of junk are unsuitable for reefs, eg tyres. And some items – eg car bodies – don’t last long.

Otherwise, junk reefs can be cheap and effective. The junk needs a clean-up, and then must be installed in a suitable area.

It’s not that hard to do. In some cases NT reefs have been sunk by volunteers, working with government approvals, although the insurance implications are complex.

Obsolete warships sunk around Australia for divers are, by definition, junk reefs. And they have worked well.

I’d be keen to hear of any junk reef or shipwreck that has not worked well as a fish attracting device.

Meanwhile, here’s the link to the latest NSW artificial reef, off Port Macquarie. It was installed in February 2016, with 20 concrete modules each weighing 23 tonnes, each more than 5m tall. The modules were constructed in Newcastle and loaded onto a barge, which was towed to the artificial reef site.

Each module was “expertly placed” on the ocean floor at a depth of approximately 46m, 6.3km off the coast.

Great work boys. But no excuse to be knocking junk reefs!