Anglers fishing in Toowoomba’s Cressbrook Dam are being urged not to take 60 fish tagged as part of a research project to improve fishing in dams.
Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF) Principal Fisheries Biologist Dr Michael Hutchison said 30 Australian Bass and 30 Golden perch have each been tagged to evaluate the use of fish attractors in dams. “Each fish has been fitted with an internal acoustic device which transmits valuable data and an eight centimetre long bright yellow external tag, located near the dorsal fin, that clearly identifies the fish as being part of the research project,” Dr Hutchison said.
“Anglers who catch a tagged fish are asked to return it to the water quickly and gently.” “Several large signs with details of the tagged fish are being placed around Cressbrook Dam to remind anglers about the importance of returning these fish to the water if they are caught.”
Dr Hutchison said the research project was a joint project between the DAF, Toowoomba Regional Council, Fisheries Research and Development Corporation and the Toowoomba and District Fish Stocking Association. “The project will continue until late 2020 so having the tagged fish in the water for as long as possible means more valuable data can be collected,” Dr Hutchison said.
“Data from the fish is being used in a tracking study to determine which fish attractor structures are most effective. “Given the importance of the study in helping to improve fishing in dams, releasing a tagged fish is a ‘one that got away’ story anglers shouldn’t mind telling.”
Dr Hutchison said 733 fish attractors will be installed in Cressbrook Dam as part of an Australian first program, the Impoundment Habitat Enhancement Research Program. “Structures commonly known as porcupine cribs, synthetic trees, spiders and cubes will be installed and will be compared over the next two years,” Dr Hutchison said.
“The fish attractors were purpose designed by DAF researchers to attract fish by mimicking natural habitat, such as fallen trees or rock piles, to provide shelter and access to food for fish. “Fish attractors lure fish into a particular area and encourage them to hang around making it easier for anglers to work out where fish are likely to be and hopefully catch more fish.”