Tenterfield Dam is brimming with life

Michael Davey with one of rainbow trout released into Tenterfield Dam on Friday. Tenterfield Shire Council acting chief executive Kylie Smith is in the background.
Michael Davey with one of rainbow trout released into Tenterfield Dam on Friday. Tenterfield Shire Council acting chief executive Kylie Smith is in the background.

Tenterfield Dam's stock of fish was further boosted on Friday with the addition of around 500 rainbow trout, in the range of 22-27 centimetres. Hopefully the larger ones will be looking to hook themselves on a line at the dam's Family Fishing Day coming up this Saturday.

Some 300 of the new additions are tagged. Anyone snagging one of these is asked to measure it and report to Fisheries so that growth rates can be monitored.

You receive a certificate and a free lure for your trouble, and you're still legally entitled to take them home and eat them.

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A large number of fingerlings and breeding trout were also released into the dam in February and last October 2020 to encourage species recovery following the effects of drought and fire.

The restocking is funded by the purchase of NSW fishing licences as well as the Bushfire & Drought Recovery Programme, and is part of the NSW DPI Fisheries promise to stock Tenterfield Dam for recreational fishing use in the future.

Watch 'em fly: Council's acting CEO Kylie Smith and water manager Gillian Marchant watch as 500 trout are released. Photo: Michael Davey.

Watch 'em fly: Council's acting CEO Kylie Smith and water manager Gillian Marchant watch as 500 trout are released. Photo: Michael Davey.

With the approval of the tender for construction of the new Tenterfield Water Treatment Plant at last December's meeting, council is beginning to plan the use of Tenterfield Dam as a recreational fishing precinct once the new and efficient filtration plant is operational in late 2022.

This gives the fingerlings plenty of time to grow, breed, and establish a good fishing stock.

"It has been a long road to here," Mayor Peter Petty.

"In March 2019 council were awarded $7 million through the NSW Government's Safe & Secure Water Program to upgrade the Water Treatment Plant. This was supplemented in October 2020 with $2.64 million from the Building Better Regions Funding.

"Being able to use the dam for recreational fishing where everybody will have the opportunity to throw in a line will encourage visitors and local alike and I sincerely thank Michael Davey and Fisheries Research and Development Corporation for their assistance in helping council to access the fish to restock the dam and Tenterfield Creek."

Mr Davey has been doing some low-key monitoring of fish health in the dam, but said that's about to be ramped up in conjunction with council.

He said the dam's never looked better.

"The water's great, the fish are moving around, and there are still some cod there. The dam's absolutely full of life."

He's certainly supportive of keeping the process going, restocking the dam each year with trout and native fish. Many of the trout released on Friday already meet the 25cm minimum length for taking home on Saturday.