Having been working in a fishing tackle store for the last nine years, purchasing an annual fishing licence is a standard affair. I remember first purchasing one on my birthday, that way I always remember it is time to purchase a new one, ensuring that I am legally allowed to fish in both saltwater and freshwater areas around the state.
Every year I must sell other anglers hundreds of licences and as a whole, my work place sells over 100,000. Combine that with over 1,000 other outlets across Victoria and there is plenty of revenue received. What’s more is that the revenue received goes into a trust fund which is managed by the Department of Primary Industries but still the projects are ticked off by the Minister. This ensures that the fishing license revenue is not dispersed into consolidated revenue and goes to other government funded projects but kept purely and simply to be put back into fishing.
Every so often, I come across an angler complaining, only to say such things as 'this is a waste of money' or 'the government taking from us again'. If only anglers really got to see where the licence fees are going there would be a lot less resentment.
While being in the industry, I do see what is happening around the state and while I do not hear of all of it, knowing that some things are being done such as fishing platforms being upgraded, boat ramps being maintained and fish being stocked into impoundments for anglers is a satisfying feeling.
One a recent note, the Department of Primary Industries have begun more projects around the state. What is more rewarding is that only a portion of licences fee revenue is being used for these projects while the state government has added additional dollars to aid in the assistance.
Such projects which are being undertaken now are: The ongoing stocking of trout into 140 waterways throughout Victoria. Travis Dowling, the acting Executive Director of Fisheries Victoria has said that more than 636,000 trout and salmon have been released across the state so far. Mr Dowling said that most of the stocked trout were grown at the department’s Snobs Creek hatchery, near Eildon.
Local trout stocking has been very productive and will continue into the future.
'The stockings included nearly 75,000 catchable size rainbow trout that were released for the second and third term school holidays, mainly into small lakes in suburbs and towns,' Mr Dowling said. 'However, experienced trout anglers reaped the benefits of ongoing stockings in larger lakes such as Tooliorook, Deep, Elingamite, Burrumbeet, Learmonth and Fyans.
Other projects include the stocking of Golden Perch into Lake Eppalock. Lake Eppalock will be stocked with an extra 130,000 golden perch this summer and next summer to accelerate the recovery of its native fishery. At Lake Eppalock for this year’s stocking, Treasurer Kim Wells said the boost would almost triple the lake’s annual allocation of golden perch from 70,000 to 200,000 for each of the two years. 'In addition, the Heathcote Angling Club will stock 12,000 golden perch fingerlings using funds they have raised themselves,' Mr Wells said. 'Lake Eppalock was Victoria’s premier golden perch fishery more than a decade ago, before the worst of the drought, and attracted local anglers from Bendigo and further afield including Melbourne. 'Since coming to office in November 2010, the Coalition Government has released 120,000 golden perch and 125,000 Murray cod into Eppalock to rebuild the fishery. 'The combined injection of 400,000 golden perch in 2013 and 2014, along with continued Murray cod stocking and angling club contributions, is expected to dramatically improve freshwater fishing opportunities in years to come,' Mr Wells said.
Though fish stocking is a high priority, other projects include building on the success of man-made recreational fishing reefs for boat-based anglers in Port Phillip Bay. Fisheries Victoria has created three new reefs for shore-based anglers.
This is a sample of the reefs being installed into Port Phillip Bay
The three reefs have been funded by recreational fishing license fees and were completed in spring 2012. The new reefs are in a water depth of between 3-4.5 metres, approximately 40 metres seaward of Altona Pier, Frankston Pier and Portarlington Pier’s rock-wall section.
These locations were chosen based on their environmental and physical attributes and following consultation with angling representatives, local councils and other government agencies.
Each reef consists of 99 hollow dome shaped reef modules of different sizes arranged in three reef complexes of 33 reef modules each. The reef modules range between 170 and 340 kg in weight and 50 to 60 cm height, and have numerous external openings to allow movement of currents and fish through the modules and in July 2012, Fisheries Victoria began a two year research project to define the spawning needs of calamari in Port Phillip Bay. The types, locations and importance of spawning habitat for calamari populations should be determined if this species is to continue to provide recreational fishing opportunities.
So with these projects and hundreds more listed on the Department of Primary Industries and the state government websites it is great to see what is being done and where the money is spent. For me, I am one happy angler that knows that the annual $24.50 that my license costs is going to look after our fishery and areas in which we as recreational anglers fish.
THIS IMAGE TO GO UNDER LEE'S INTRODUCTION
On a lighter note, over the next few weeks Lee Brake will be taking a look at some of the more popular ammunition used by deepwater jigging enthusiasts. This week he is looking at the arrow-like, flicking, darting wonders that are jerk shad soft plastics.
THIS IMAGE TO GO UNDER CARL'S INTRODUCTION
Down in Tasmainia, Carl Hyland takes a step back to describe the effectiveness of using artificial frog lures to catch trout. While back in the day real live frogs were used, today it is a different story.
THIS IMAGE TO GO UNDER GARY'S INTRODUCTION
Gary drops into the correct anchoring procedures to improve your fishing. Gary describes some of the different anchors which can be used and explains their uses.
And I grab a few mates and hit the muddy flats of Western Port in search of Bass Yabbies. To some, Bass Yabbies are the best bait by far and when it comes to fishing for whiting or estuarine species, the humble Bass Yabby is a deadly bait. Finding them is one thing but pumping them is another and in this week’s article, I explain the simple techniques required to collect such a high quality bait on your own.