Wednesday, 31 January, 2018

Anglers in Victoria will now have better opportunities to bag a barramundi at Hazelwood pondage with 500m of new fishing access set to officially open from 1 February, 2018.

Member for Eastern Victoria Harriet Shing declared that recreational anglers chasing barramundi at Hazelwood Pondage will have better shore-based access to catch that fish of a lifetime.

Gippsland Water have agreed to open a 500m stretch of land alongside the pondage channel where plenty of stocked barramundi now reside.

This initiative is consistent with the Labor Government’s comprehensive water plan, Water for Victoria  –  which sets out to ensure local communities can enjoy recreational benefits that our waterways provide.

Under the plan water authorities are required to consider these benefits when managing our water resources – and Gippsland Water’s efforts at Hazelwood are an example of the Plan in action.

The new access arrangements have been funded by the Andrews Labor Government’s Target One Million plan, which aims to grow participation to one million anglers by 2020.

Intensive monitoring of the fishery since April 2017 suggested that around 1500 barramundi had survived the cold winter and were now confined to the upper reaches of the 36ha channel.

Stocked barramundi are now actively feeding again in the pondage channel, which has reached 30 degrees, so anglers have a good chance of enticing a strike on a cast lure.

The access improvements include a road, fencing, signs and a new car park, all of which will keep Hazelwood Pondage a family friendly option that can be enjoyed by locals and visitors.

To ensure the fishery provides year-round angling opportunities for people of all ages, the Victorian Fisheries Authority will continue to stock rainbow trout in winter, grown at Snobs Creek hatchery. The release of Australian bass fingerlings will also be considered.

Anglers are reminder that they need to hold a Victorian recreational fishing licence to fish in Hazelwood Pondage, including the channel, unless exempt.

Stocking barramundi into Hazelwood Pondage was a commitment in the Labor Government’s Target One Million plan, which is investing a record $46 million, to get more people fishing, more often.

Target One Million is also bringing an end to commercial net fishing in Port Phillip Bay, increasing fish stocking to more than five million including record numbers of bass into Gippsland waterways, improving anglers’ access and facilities, and creating new fisheries such as native fish in Rocklands Reservoir.

Quotes attributable to Member for Eastern Victoria Harriet Shing

“Over a four month period, the fishery attracted more than 5,000 anglers and injected more than $700,000 into the Latrobe Valley economy – we look forward to seeing that grow even further.”

“The new access makes these trophy barramundi, some of which are longer than the magical-metre-mark, accessible to anglers who would otherwise have to travel to Queensland or the Northern Territory to tackle with this iconic sportfish.”

“The Hazelwood Pondage provides local anglers with a year-round, high quality fishery for stocked barramundi and rainbow trout that supports local jobs right across our Gippsland region.”