North East Catchment Management Authority (CMA) will partner with the Alpine Fly Fishers Inc to deliver an instream project to restore fishing habitat on the Ovens River below Jacks Swimming Hole at Bright.
A $38,000 grant has been awarded to the project by the Victorian Government through the Recreational Fishing Grants Fund. The project is supported by the Australian Trout Foundation and other angling groups, as well as the Victorian Fisheries Authority and Alpine Shire Council.
North East CMA will provide technical oversight of the work at ‘Mayfly Rise’, named for the insects which form a significant part of the trout food supply.
The project includes:
- Installation of large boulders, or “bed seeding” to create greater viability in flows, leading to scour-pool development and the creation of fish resting areas;
- Installation of constructed log jams to create further habitat niches, trap sediments, encourage macrophyte growth and cause localised “affluxes”, resulting in the inundation of stream side grassy verges. These important feeding and spawning grounds for fish are limited due to the current uniform flat cobble bed;
- Establishment of indigenous shading vegetation to enhance in-stream cover and insect activity; and
- Provision of a more challenging and interesting fishing experience through the presentation of a range of habitats requiring different angling techniques.
North East CMA Chief Executive Officer, Katie Warner, said the CMA has been working in partnership with other angling clubs to deliver in-stream habitat works and supported this type of project and the river health benefits.
“This project also aligns strongly with the North East CMA’s Regional Catchment Strategy implementation, including ‘supporting innovation in recreational fisheries management that enhances visitation while conserving the environment’.”
Secretary of Alpine Fly Fishers, Billy Hinton of Bright said the stretch of the river was, like many in the district, badly impacted by gold dredging of the previous century.
“The dredging left wide shallow sections without shelter, which sustains little aquatic food, and which can become too warm for most fish species,” Mr Hinton said.
“This grant, from Recreational Fishing Grants Fund, will allow us to try and re-create something resembling the river as it was in earlier days with deeper holes and runs.
“This will give variability and create shade and shelter for trout and other fish species. It will improve conditions for aquatic insect species which form part of the fishes’ food chain and therefore will also benefit other aquatic fauna such as platypus and freshwater crayfish.”
North East CMA is removing rusty railway iron from the river at the Mayfly Rise site. In the past, river management practices included using railway iron as a material when constructing river rehabilitation projects to pin and secure logs and other erosion management materials. The railway iron can pose a health and safety risk to the public who use the river for recreation.
Ms Warner said the North East CMA had assessed locations and threats posed by railway iron in the Ovens River and is working to remove the iron from priority sites in the river including Mayfly Rise.
Pic 1: An excavator at Mayfly Rise swinging and pinning a large swamp gum before winter flows.
Pic 2: Alpine Fly Fishers members and North East CMA staff inspect the site.