Australian Trout Foundation ATF Online
July '14 Update
July 11,2014

ATF Update - July '14

Trout Survey

We need your help with a project that will hopefully provide significant benefits for all of us trout fishermen.

At a recent Committee meeting of the ATF it was decided to send out a questionnaire to ATF members and some 90 Angling Clubs in the various trout stream regions to collect information on our trout streams, and to seek opinions and ideas from anglers on what could and should be done to improve our trout fishing in these various streams.

Two of our committee members, Terry George and Tony Borrack, were given the task of distributing the survey forms, and it’s very likely that most of you have now received an email with the explanatory information and the survey form.

If you have filled in the questionnaire and returned it, then many thanks. The returns are coming in steadily and we are grateful to those who have gone to the trouble of completing and returning them. It’s not an onerous task, and doesn’t take long.

If you haven’t sent in your completed questionnaire yet, then please do. This is our opportunity to let the bureaucracy know just what we feel about our current trout fishing. If you don’t have a copy of the survey you can download a copy from our website, at

If you would like a hard copy mailed to you, please send a return email with your mailing address.

A summary of the findings of the Questionnaire will also be posted on the website in due course.

As we know, the fishing has been tough this year. Here is a letter written recently by one of our passionate Committee members, Ray Buckland, who is also a member of the Yarra Valley Fly Fishing Club.

Ray Buckland - A Trout Fishing Crisis is Upon Us.              

The 2013/2014 trout fishing season has been different in so many ways. We fishermen are nomads and in our travels the lament from our brothers in waders is uniform all over the east coast: ‘The fishery is buggered. What has happened? And what can we do?’

There is no doubt about it; fish capture numbers are down. The one kilometre stretch in the small and larger rivers we fish contain significantly fewer fish. The reasons are many and complex. I believe the primary reason is fishing pressure. There are many tens of thousands of fishermen seeking trout over the holiday periods and the cull grows expeditiously. The consequences are that rivers and fish are under great stress from which recovery is diminishing each year. There is surely a fish population number where the river has no chance of recovery because the breeding stocks have been so reduced we are left with a piscatorial desert.

There are other reasons. Twelve years of drought was catastrophic to breeding cycles and wildfires resulted in toxic levels of fire residue chemicals poisoning the whole river biomass. Pollution is always an ever increasing problem and there is little doubt steadily increasing water temperatures over a longer period take their toll on fish stocks: 23oC is the critical number. Ignorance is also a problem. We ATF people have a conservationist ethic: ‘Catch and Release’, but our voice is a whisper currently when we stand alone. 

What do we do gentlemen and ladies? The fishing fraternity fascinates me. Such a huge group of people (certainly a million plus) who could and should tell governments what to do, but we fight battles of little consequence all over the place while the war is being lost because of our disunity. If we are a unified political force governments would seek our counsel: ‘What do you want? How can we help? Would $10 million be sufficient?’ It will not happen until we are as one.

Secondly is the importance of a voice that can be heard. One voice in the marketplace is lost to other noises but a chorus of voices can become a roar that can’t be ignored. A marathon begins with one step, and our first step is to grow the ATF, which is our primary association to represent us and which punches well above its weight. Come on board: $20 ladies and gentlemen - two pots and a small pizza and more voices will be heard.

A great start for our growing movement would be bag limits. Our current bag limits were once suitable for a sustainable fishery but not so for June 2014. Twenty years ago five fish from a river or impoundment were satisfactory and sustainable, but not now. The limit should be two fish per angler regardless, and ‘catch and release’ hugely encouraged.

My reasons for being on the ATF committee  are simple. Fish, fisheries and you the fisherpersons, and almost all of our energies should be related to these three words only. We are 100+ people who can make a difference and influence state policy regarding our fishery. Almost all the people who administer Fisheries are fishermen and receptive to our voice, so let’s now unite and stand up and provide it. If we don’t act now we will be reduced to catching ‘pets’ in lakes and lament the leap of a wild trout. Build the voices into a roar with the ATF.

Action on Trout Response Plan

Some great news out of Fisheries – printed below is the thrust of a Media Release from Bill Sykes (MLA - Parliamentary Secretary for Primary Industries). It is the outcome of the meetings held at Mansfield and Snob’s Creek regarding the less than satisfactory trout fishing in recent times. Our sincere thanks to both the “Trout Reference Group” members and Fisheries Victoria who have worked very hard over the past few months to bring about this result.

Media Release - Bill Sykes MLA, dated June 27, 2014

(Member for Benalla and Parliamentary Secretary for Primary Industries)

"Action on Trout Response Plan"

The Victorian Coalition Government and Fisheries Victoria have progressed work on a draft Trout Response Plan following the outcomes of a survey of north-east Victorian trout streams in February. Trout population surveys were conducted in February to better understand trout numbers after reports of poor catch rates by anglers, particularly over summer. The results were presented at a public meeting in Mansfield on 10 April.

A Trout Reference Group has been established and includes representatives from Department of Environment and Primary Industries (DEPI), Fisheries Victoria, Australian Trout Foundation, VRFish, and members of the State-wide Fishing Roundtable Forum and local fly fishing clubs. The development of a draft Trout Response Plan was presented at a second Trout Reference Group meeting held on 20 June at Snobs Creek Hatchery.

Dr Sykes said, “The group has recommended annual monitoring of 11 wild trout fisheries in the Jamieson, Howqua, Kiewa, Ovens and King Rivers. Rivers throughout Gippsland and the Alpine district include the Upper Mitta Mitta, Upper Yarra, Dargo, Aire and Torongo Rivers and the Nariel Creek.”

“Key issues identified in the draft plan include whether summer water temperature adversely impacts river trout fisheries, a decline in wild trout breeding, fishing pressure impacting trout populations and whether current regulations are adequate enough to protect or sustain river trout fisheries.”

A number of key projects have been identified as potential measures which include: a trout movement study of the Delatite River and a three year stocking trial in two rivers. Also included is an assessment of fishing pressure and development of a cost-effective method to differentiate hatchery from wild trout to better understand how stocked trout contribute to the wild fishery.

Dr Sykes said, “The key focus of the response plan is to understand, preserve and invest in measures to recover wild brown trout fisheries.”

The response plan will be presented to a Grants Working Group and funding will be sought to implement the recommendations of Trout Response Plan.

Bill Sykes MP, State Member for Benalla
Parliamentary Secretary for Primary Industries
2/55 Carrier Street, Benalla  3672
Ph: 03 5762 2100   Fx: 03 5762 4478  Mobile: 0427 624 989

Fish Stocking

Members may not be aware that DEPI run a series of meetings each year to discuss the trout stockings around the state. The fisheries manager in charge of these meetings is John Douglas, who is based at Snobs Creek Hatchery (and who is also a very keen trout fisher).

John’s recent email to the ATF Secretary (Tom White) says this:

“Re: Recreational Fish Stocking Meetings - 2014

Each year Fisheries Victoria, angling organisations and other stakeholders meet to discuss the performance of the recreational fish stocking program and plan any required changes for the next year. These invite only meetings are the foundation of the fish stocking program.

I take this opportunity to invite a representative from the Australian Trout Foundation to attend the meetings, which are scheduled over late August and early September, and are to be held at Benalla (Hume Region), Heidelberg (Port Phillip Region), Ballarat (Barwon South West/Grampians Region), Traralgon (Gippsland Region), and Epsom (Loddon Mallee Region).

I look forward to having an Australian Trout Foundation representative at the meetings.

Yours sincerely

John Douglas

Be assured, the ATF will have representatives at these meetings. If you have any thoughts or suggestions concerning the current stocking program then feel free to email these to ATF Secretary Tom White on
Please not that all submissions must be in writing and only fish stocking matters are open for discussion - regulatory matters such as bag & size limits are not discuused at Vic Fish Stock meetings.

ATF Meetings

All ATF members are welcome to attend our meetings. The next meeting is scheduled for Monday, July 21, and will be held in the Yarra Valley Club Rooms at Lilydale Lakes, Lilydale. If you are interested in attending then it would be wise to email Secretary Tom White on to confirm the details, as sometimes there are last minute changes.

Come along and see your ATF in action.