Cod mecca monopoly
Lake Eildon’s spring bonus - only waterway open for Murray cod
CAN Lake Eildon become the Murray cod capital of Victoria?
Certainly, it will be able to lay claim to this title throughout spring, as it will be the only place in the state people will be able to catch and keep the sought after native fish species.
From September 1 through to November 30 inclusive, there is a closed season on Murray cod across the state, except for Lake Eildon.
The decision by the State Government to exempt the lake from closure is hoped to draw more recreational anglers to the region.
According to the government, fish population surveys and angler reports indicate Lake Eildon is emerging as a high quality mixed fishery with a growing population of stocked native fish, including Murray cod.
“We stock Lake Eildon with approximately 80,000 cod finger- lings each year, and from 2011 to 2013 that was more than a million a year,” said Freshwater Fisheries manager Anthony Forster.
“Murray cod live for a long time - 30 to 40 years - and we will continue to stock for a long time.
“The main cod fisheries such as the Murray, Lake Nillacootie and the Ovens and Goulburn rivers will continue to have a closed season, so we hope that fishers will head to Eildon for late winter/spring fishing.”
In 2015, a large-scale research project assessed the stocking success of Murray cod (and golden perch) in several lakes and rivers.
It found that in Lake Eildon, 99.6 per cent of Murray cod were from stocking, indicating that natural recruitment was very low.
“The lake is very deep and cold, so cod will spawn in the rivers and streams which continue to have a closed season, but are not really spawning in Lake Eildon,” Mr Forster said.
The key rationale for removing the Murray cod closed season at Lake Eildon included:
a closed season is intended to protect breeding Murray cod, which is not relevant to Lake Eildon where breeding success is minimal;
the Lake Eildon Murray cod fishery is primarily reliant on fish stocking ie it is managed as a stocked ‘put and take’ cod fishery;
removing the cod closed season at Lake Eildon will create new springtime fishing opportunities; and
fishing participation and associated tourism in the region is expected to increase, which is consistent with the State Government’s Target One Million plan that aims to get more people fishing, more often. It’s happened elsewhere too. The change mirrors a New South
Wales decision to remove the Murray cod closed season at Copeton Dam, which has proved popular with anglers and fishing dependent businesses.
Like Lake Eildon, research found most of Copeton’s Murray cod were stocked fish and not the offspring of wild Murray cod.
This initiative at Lake Eildon will be trialled over 12 months.
With more available fish, more fishers will be attracted to Lake Eildon thus providing a tourism bonanza for places like Bonnie Doon, Goughs Bay and Howqua Inlet.
“The plan is very much about the benefits to places like Mansfield from the increase of fishers to Lake Eildon,” Mr Forster said.
“The State Government is committed to delivering its Target One Million plan for recreational fishing, which aims to grow participation to one million anglers by 2020.”