Anglers chip in to protect Toolondo

Efforts to reignite Lake Toolondo as a premier fishing destination are ramping up with anglers joining frontline activities to help limit the impact of noxious carp in the lake.

Horsham Angling Club has been quick to recognize the recreational-fishing potential of the lake, which has become the new home for thousands of trout.

The club has organised a community get-together on Sunday, October 29 to coincide with an intensive carp-harvesting operation removing tonnes of the fish from the lake.

The Horsham group, an enthusiastic partner in the lake-revitalization program, will host a barbecue and family fishing activities on the lake foreshore while showcasing and providing information about carp-harvesting operations.

Horsham Angling Club is partnering with us to contract the services of experienced professional carp harvester K. and C. Fisheries Global, led by Keith Bell.

Horsham Angling Club secretary Bruce Thomson said members were delighted to be part of efforts to return Toolondo Reservoir back to its ‘glory days’ and to demonstrate how large numbers of carp could be removed from a site.

“Some of the trophy fish that have come out of Toolondo are the stuff of angling legend. We’re in full support of helping get the lake back to its best,” he said.

“Carp are a threat to the lake, and we’re keen for as many people as possible to come along to our get-together on October 29, see what’s involved, learn something new and have some fun at the same time.”

Toolondo Reservoir has long had a reputation as a high-quality trophy trout and redfin fishery, attracting angling enthusiasts from across Australia and beyond and stimulating the Wimmera economy.

The lake holds little water during dry periods. But in times of water abundance, it supports environmental and socio-economic values.

Since a wet 2022 spring last year, GWMWater has transferred almost 30,000 megalitres from Rocklands to Toolondo in addition to natural inflows.

In mid-October Lake Toolondo was holding about 33,920 megalitres, or 67 percent of its capacity.

During the past two years, the Victorian Fisheries Authority, VFA, has used a contractor to remove about 130 tonnes of carp from Toolondo Reservoir to reduce the effect the pest fish has on trout survival and growth rates.

When carp abundance is high, the pest fish can decimate aquatic plant life, increase turbidity and siltation, and consume lake-bed food sources. This can lead reduce growth rates and catchability of trout and redfin.

Wimmera CMA chief executive David Brennan said, “the combined effort to enhance Toolondo Reservoir is an example of how community groups and government agencies can work together on a common goal.”

VFA chief executive Travis Dowling added that more than 20,000 brown trout and 10,000 rainbow trout had been stocked this year to accelerate the fishery’s recovery.

“Toolondo is one of Victoria’s best trout fisheries when conditions are right, with its large weed beds providing an ideal environment to grow trophy-size fish,” he said.

“We’ve stocked 25,000 trout this year and when you combine that with inflows from Rocklands, continued carp removal and a longer boat ramp providing better access for fishers, Toolondo’s on the road to being a top-class fishing destination for years to come.”

Community activities start on Lake Toolondo foreshore about 11am on Sunday, October 29.

There will be angling opportunities, prizes and giveaways, a barbecue lunch and a carp-removal presentation and demonstrations starting about 2pm. The ‘Carp Biomass Reduction Toolondo Reservoir 2023’ project is a partnership involving Wimmera CMA, Victorian Fisheries Authority through the Victorian Government’s Recreational Fishing Licence fees, carp-harvesting contractor K. and C. Fisheries Global and Horsham Angling Club.

We acknowledge the Traditional Owners and other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples across the region and pay respect to Elders past, present and emerging.

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