Local Fishing Boost For Tumut

January 11, 2000 Tumut & Adelong Times

Local waterways have received a major boost with in excess of 100,000 trout and Murray Cod being released already this summer and there are promises of more to come.

In December 33,000 Brown Trout and 30,000 Rainbow Trout were released into Tumut and Talbingo waterways, covering Talbingo, Jounama and Blowering Dams as well as every permanent creek from Adjungbilly to Goobragandra.

Back in spring, the Tumut Acclimatisation Society (TAS) released 15,000 Brown Trout into the Tumut River. Meanwhile, 40,000 Murray Cod were also released into Blowering Dam in December by the NSW Fisheries.

Early this year there will be more cod going into the dam from private hatcheries financed by local fishing clubs, TAS and some local fisheries, as well as NSW Fisheries.

The extra allocations has been made possible following the introduction of the inland fishing licence with the increased revenue enabling NSW Fisheries to increase its fish allocations in recent times.

The Tumut district has seemingly always been renowned for its fantastic fishing, and specifically as a trout fishing mecca, although the district's appeal to anglers is undergoing a metamorphosis of sorts.

With two rivers and a number of good creeks, together with three lakes, there has always been plenty of trout to go after. However, this changed somewhat in the early 1980's, when native fish were placed in Blowering Dam and subsequently thrived in the local waters, and in turn, Tumut's appeal as a fishing destination has since trebled among anglers.

It is not unusual nowadays to catch one of Australia's mightiest fish, the Murray Cod, up to a size of 30kgs, whilst Golden Perch are often taken up to six or seven kgs. The Jounama Dam has been "seeded" with golden perch as well.

The opening of the Cod season was heralded in with some fine catches, and some larger ones have been spotted, but proved too crafty for their pursuers and escaped to grow a little more.

Whilst native fish are popular among anglers, trout hold a special fascination for lots of fishing folk with all the methods of catching, including bait fishing, spinner and the increasingly popular fly fishing.

The Tumut River is famous as a trout fishery all season, the usually cold, high flowing water from the bottom of Blowering Dam proving ideal for the trout.

This river is what's known in fishing jargon as a tail race fishery, similar to the Mitta River below Dartmouth, the Goulburn below Eildon and the Swampy Plains below Khancoban Pondage.

Anglers are reminded it is now compulsory to have a fishing licence and these are available at a variety of businesses around town, including service stations, corner stores and fishing tackle specialists. The money raised from the sale of licences is being channelled back to improving inland fishing.

Methods used to catch the fish are as diverse as the breeds themselves, from boats using lures and live bait, to bank fishing with bait, lures and flys.

There are ample retail outlets in Tumut to cater for all angler's requirements, no matter what the weather.

The Tumut River is probably one of the most popular and well known trout fisheries in NSW, but other streams in the region also produce some good catches.

Nimbo Creek, Brungle Creek and the Goobragandra River are regular destinations for those in the know and the Murrumbidgee River at Gundagai has been know to produce some big fish.

Access to these areas is either by arrangement with landholders, or the few public areas available.

Up in the Goobragandra, about a half hour drive, there is a camping ground, popular all year round.

There are three major dams in the Riverina Highlands which produce some excellent catches of fish.

Blowering Dam is close to Tumut and has been heavily stocked with native fish such as murray cod, yellowbelly and silver perch, as well as the introduced species of trout. Redfin are also abundant at Blowering.

Jounama Pondage is a small dam on the Tumut side of Talbingo, and, due to the frequent rise and fall of the water, it is hard to anticipate when fish will bite. Some very good catches have been reported.

Talbingo Dam is a very deep impoundment about five kilometres from Talbingo, up in mountain country. It has been stocked but also has plenty of breeding potential, carrying mostly trout and silver perch due to the cold waters. It fishes well all seasons but caution should be taken due to rapidly changing weather conditions, which catch many people off guard. Talbingo is best fished from a boat.

Along the Tumut River, the most popular spots are:

• Mill Angle, about two kilometres from Tumut's Town centre, upstream, where there are

quite a few shallow and slower pools. A great spot for spinning and working wet ales. Access is via Elm Drive.

• Pioneer Park, within walking distance of the town, under giant elms and silver poplars. This place is a real picture and extremely good for relaxation.

• Tumut Pioneer Bridge, emerging as a profitable spot, with a record of good catches with lures as the water runs at a reasonable pace.

Riverglade Caravan Park, which is available for guests.

• The Junction, where the Goobragandra River meets the Tumut River. It has long been a popular spot and a great place to take the family, with Tumut Lions Club improvements including a park and playground. Ideal for picnics.

• Snowy Mountains Trout Farm, which has become a mecca for many recreational fishermen and catches are usually excellent in quality and quantity. Turn off the highway towards the Blowering Dam wall and turn again about four kilometres upstream when you see a sign pointing to the canoe launching area.

• Jones Bridge Picnic Area, which is the site of the former Jones Bridge on the Talbingo Road. It is also accessible from the road leading towards the dam wall. Camping is not allowed, but there's plenty of room for the kids.

• Gilmore Creek Junction, two kilometres downstream from town, and the last public fishing spot for about 35 kilometres. It is warmer water here and carp can be a problem, but you may find some redfin as well as the tasty trout.

• Gundagai turn-off (past Brungle), which is a public reserve and often frequented by fishermen from Gundagai and beyond. There is a sharp turn in the river and the water slows, allowing bait to be drifted. Some good catches downstream.