Survey reveals Lake Glenmaggie bass bonanza

A survey of Lake Glenmaggie last month has confirmed that the stocking of Australian bass has significantly improved fishing opportunities in Gippsland.

Member for Eastern Victoria, Harriet Shing, said this was good news for freshwater anglers and complemented the Andrews Labor Government’s Target One Million plan, which aims to grow participation to one million anglers by 2020.

The survey, undertaken by scientists from the Arthur Rylah Institute (ARI), captured more than 190 Australian bass, the largest of which was 38cm and more than 1.1kg.

“Lake Glenmaggie has been stocked with more than 138,000 bass fingerlings since 2002 so it’s very pleasing to see the investment making a difference.

“Bass cannot breed in the lake so the fishery is entirely dependent on annual stocking. The species are slow growing, but can live for up to 22 years, so will be available to anglers for some time yet.

“The stocking of bass along with other native species, and trout and salmon, is all funded by recreational fishing licence fees and Target One Million,” Ms Shing said.

Ms Shing said the survey at Lake ‘Bassmaggie’, as she hoped it would become known, recorded multiple year classes, indicating that bass from stockings in several years had survived and grown.

The survey captured plenty of small bass, which is encouraging for future years, and 63 that measured 30cm or more, which is great news for anglers right now.

Other species caught in the lake included abundant redfin, the best of which measured 33cm and weighed 700 grams, goldfish, carp, short-finned eels and a single brown trout of 470 grams.

Similar surveys in the Macalister and Thomson rivers have been encouraging too. Only a few wild fish were captured in historical surveys, but 54 were surveyed in 2015 and again in 2016

In the Macalister River, downstream of Lake Glenmaggie to its junction with the Thomson, 28 bass ranged from 17 to 33cm and 140 grams to 690 grams. In the Thomson River, below the dam to its junction with the Latrobe River and including Rainbow Creek, 26 bass were sampled ranging from 4cm to 37cm and 1 gram to 990 grams.