FISHING FRENZY: Craig Cluff, from Hanwood Fish Hatchery, takes a look at the fingerlings before releasing them into the Mount Morgan Dam on Saturday.
FISHING FRENZY: Craig Cluff, from Hanwood Fish Hatchery, takes a look at the fingerlings before releasing them into the Mount Morgan Dam on Saturday. Contributed

40 people help release fingerlings that replenish stocks

IT WAS a big journey for thousands of small fish, but Craig Cluff is hoping they'll be enough to create a ripple effect at the Mount Morgan Dam.

On Saturday the Queensland fish farmer, from Hanwood Fish Hatchery, transported more than 1500 silver perch and 7000 golden perch fingerlings to help replenish local fish stocks.

He spent two and a half months rearing the fingerlings at the Murgon hatchery, about six hours away, and was up at 1am on Saturday to prepare the deliveries.

The fish were bought by Mount Morgan Promotion and Development Incorporated, which restocks the waterway each year.

About 40 people met Craig at the dam, with a number of keen locals armed with gumboots and buckets eager to help with the release.

The fingerlings were freed in sections around the dam's perimeter and placed in sheltered shallows to allow further protection from predators and strong currents.

The young fish are expected to take about 18 months to reach legal catching size, which is about 30cm.

But while locals wait for them to grow they can still throw a line in to try their luck with the fish that were released during previous restocking efforts.

The weekend's release is the fifth year of restocking for the promotions and development group, with past releases including sleepy cod, eel-tailed catfish, saratoga and silver and golden perch.

It has brought the restock tally to over 20,000 fingerlings.

Each release is of a native species, achieved through a restocking permit and a management plan.

MMPAD development officer Camille Steinberger said they're keen to hear from those who landed a catch so they could monitor past restocks and the overall success of the project.

Know your fish

Golden perch are willing takers of baits including crayfish, shrimps and worms. They are also lure takers with spinnerbaits and trolled deep diving lures gaining more popularity.

Silver perch thrive on shrimps, yabbies and aquatic insects.



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