Recreational fishers are helping catchment management authorities to monitor trout populations in creeks across the north-east and High Country.
A number of groups are involved, with representatives from the Australian Trout Foundation, VR Fish and local fly fishing groups liaising with North East and Goulburn Broken CMAs.
North East CMA chief executive officer Katie Warner said trout, introduced from the Northern Hemisphere, were cold-water fish.
‘‘With the ongoing extreme heat we’ve been experiencing, the temperature of the water in waterways such as Howqua, Delatite, Buffalo and parts of the Ovens River have increased and this is affecting fish, particularly trout,’’ Ms Warner said.
‘‘While we had some quite heavy falls in some parts of the north-east last month, many other areas have had little or no rain, which means some creeks and rivers have no or very low flows.’’
In the recent extreme heat, temperatures about 30°C were reported in sections of the lower Howqua River and parts of the Ovens River. Trout health is affected once water temperatures get above 20°C.
ATF president Terry George said fishing groups recognised the importance of improving riparian vegetation to improve water quality and temperature.
‘‘This is why organisations such as ours have been working with the CMAs for a number of years now on a range of projects to improve the health of popular recreational fishing sites,’’ Mr George said.
‘‘These shrubs and trees provide valuable shelter and help keep the water cooler for all fish and wildlife. Where this work has been done, we’re less likely to see stressed fish as there are cool, deeper pools for them to move to.’’
Ms Warner said more rain and run-off were the only ways to improve current flows and reduce water temperature.
‘‘We hope there is some decent rainfall and cooler temperatures on the horizon although the Bureau of Meteorology is predicting below average rainfall and hotter conditions for the rest of summer,’’ she said.
■For more information about helping trout in hot weather, visit the ATF’s Facebook page or the VR Fish website at: www.vrfish.com.au