More than 100 well-sized rainbow trout were released into Tenterfield Dam on Wednesday, having fulfilled their breeding duties and now ready to play bait-and-switch with anglers on upcoming designated fishing days.
The trout came out of DPI Fisheries' Dutton Trout Hatcheries in Ebor. They're in a range of sizes (to create some fishing interest) and aged 2-to-3 years. The life span of the rainbow trout is around seven years, so they have several years of dam life ahead of them if they can evade the dinner plate.
The hatcheries' assistant manager Paul Sheather, who undertook the special delivery along with manager Peter Selby, said the trout won't breed in the dam as it doesn't provide their exacting requirements (gravel beds, rushing current, etc) but, given their size, they should co-habit happily with any Murray Cod that have survived the drought-induced low water levels and post-bushfire silting of the dam.
Mayor Peter Petty said once the new water treatment plant is installed council will be 'back into battle' with NSW Health to be allowed to open up the dam to recreational activities. In the meantime, fishing days are scheduled for December 5 and February 13.
Although it's been a number of years since the hatcheries released fish into the dam, Mr Selby said it could become a regular event. The exercise is funded in part by recreational fishing licence fees.