Mt Morgan fish restocking efforts going swimmingly
RAISING fish and raising funds go hand in hand when it comes to restocking the Mount Morgan Dam each year. Thousands of fingerlings, thousands of dollars, a six hour road trip, and an annual restocking permit are just some of what's required each time the local waterway is restocked.
It may sound a big effort for some small fish, but Mount Morgan Promotion and Development Incorporated say it's all worth it.
With the help of Hanwood Fish Hatchery, the local group release thousands of fish into the Mount Morgan Dam each year in an effort to enhance the recreational use of the area.
Their latest restock took place last Saturday, with over 8,000 Golden Perch fingerlings released into the local waters.
The fish arrived at the Mount Morgan Dam around 8am, following a six hour journey from Murgon, transported in specially designed and water filled boxes.
They were delivered by Craig Cluff (pictured) of Hanwood Fish Hatchery, who had been lovingly tending the small fish for the past two and a half months.
It was an event that also reeled a crowd of supporters. Around 30 people joined MMPAD for the release, including dozens of young locals donning gumboots and excited grins.
The group took turns in setting the Dam's newest inhabitants free. Measuring just five centimeters in length, the small fish were freed in sections around the dam's perimeter and placed in sheltered shallows to allow further protection from predators and strong currents.
Mr Cluff said the babies are expected to have a good chance on their own; with ample shelter, food and water as they grow.
"Like all fingerlings we bring to the Dam, these are estimated to reach 30 centimeters in length within around 18 months," he said.
Or in fishing enthusiast language, that means "legal catching size".
The weekend's release marks the sixth year of restocking for the local Promotions and Development Group.
"We say it a lot, but we really believe in this project," MMPAD President, John Steinberger said.
"Our team fundraise every year to buy the fingerlings, and it's something we always look forward to. It's been great to have another crowd join us this year."
The latest release brings the restocking tally to over 31,000. Mr Steinberger said past releases have also included Sleepy Cod, Eel-tailed catfish, Saratoga and thousands of Silver and Golden Perch.
"Each of the restocks have been native species that are expected to adapt well to the environment here," Mr Steinberger continued.
"We work with Hanwood and Fisheries Queensland each year on what's best to release and while we know we will lose a percentage to wildlife and Dam overflows, we hope for the best for these little guys and for improved future fishing experiences overall."
For those planning a future fishing trip at the Mount Morgan Dam, MMPAD say the group are keen to hear from those who land a catch of earlier releases.
"As always, we'd really like to hear from those who are willing to share details of their catch," Mr Steinberger said.
"This assists our group in monitoring our past restocks and the success of our project this far."