A TOTAL of 10,000 rainbow fingerlings have been inserted upstream in a river which feeds into Lake Oberon in another step in a long-term plan to return the lake to a trout fishery.
The objective is to allow the young fish to grow large enough so they are not eaten by the redfin population when they migrate down into the lake.
This is the fourth year of a five-year trial by the NSW Department of Primary Industries, with the assistance of the Oberon branch of the Central Acclimatisation Society, which regularly stocks local waterways with brown and rainbow trout fry supplied by the DPI.
And the trial appears to be working.
Oberon CAS branch treasurer Peter Byrom said they are now getting returns of fish having been caught.
"It is likely these fish are those that have grown in the river, because the lake is largely dominated by redfin,” he said.
"I know we will never return the lake to the old pre-redfin days, because no lake in NSW has completely eradicated the species.
“However, although we will just have to live with them, some lakes that contain redfin now support a thriving trout fishery."
In another project to build a trout fishery, 1000 grown tagged trout have been put into the lake in the past few years, the latest batch in May.
Another consignment of these fish, which are large enough to survive redfin, are due to be delivered next year.
"Stocking these large fish is, I believe, the answer, and DPI has to be commended for going that extra mile to help us," Mr Byrom said.
"Without their help, we would just have a lake full of stunted redfin. Gold perch and Murray cod are also due to be introduced into the lake next year."
Lake Oberon anglers are also being reminded to inform the DPI when they hook a tagged rainbow, another 1000 yearlings of which were put into the lake earlier this year.
"The fish were put into the dam at a yearling size of 250mm so they could survive against the redfin and improve the trout fishing," Mr Byrom said.
DPI senior fisheries manager Cameron Westerway said reporting tagged fish catches would let DPI know growth and survival rates.
Anglers should go to www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/fishing/recreational/resources/fish-tagging/recapture-form to record their catch, and they will be sent free trout lure in return.
Another assault on the Lake Oberon predatory redfin population will take place this weekend with the first round of the Australian Redfin Championship.
Organiser Ian McLean said earlier this week that entries were coming at a steady rate and he expected many more on the day.
Among the many prizes will be those for the biggest redfin and the most redfin. Mr McLean plans to catch half a dozen of the lake's redfin and tag them. They will also carry prizemoney.
For details contact Mr McLean on 0478 083 066 or 63618924, or Oberon Visitor Information Cebtre on 6329 8210.