ANGLERS are among the big winners from a move to triple the winter flow into the Goulburn River downstream of Eildon.
The initiative involves building on the minimum passing flow of 120 megalitres a day with environmental water to deliver a flow of 400 megalitres per day.
In making the announcement near Eildon, Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority river manager Mark Turner said the natural flow of the river had changed dramatically.
“Flow is a critical part of river health and here on the Goulburn River, it’s significantly altered because we’ve got Lake Eildon in the upper catchment and the Goulburn Weir in the lower catchment,” Mr Turner said.
He said recent surveys of Victorian anglers showed the Goulburn River was their preferred fishing waterway.
“We’re pleased to be able to play a role in bringing back a small amount of natural variability because the minimum passing flow leaves a lot of the aquatic vegetation, riffle and pool habitat used by water bugs, native fish and trout exposed.”
Mr Turner thanked the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder and the Victorian Environmental Water Holder (VEWH) for their contributions to the increased flow.
VEWH executive officer Dr Sarina Loo said she was keen to throw a line in the state’s most popular fishing river.
“Fishing as a kid with my grandfather has led me to a career where I want to improve waterway health. That tactile sensation of having a fish tug on your line and to be able to pull it in, is pure joy,” Dr Loo said.
She added it was important people were connected to rivers and became their stewards.
“We want to create rivers and waterways that people love and want to use, so when the GB CMA put forth this reach as a priority, it made perfect sense to use environmental water to create better habitat for fish.”
Keen trout fisherman and angling advocate Philip Weigall said the announcement was a coup for the state’s anglers.
“We’re learning very quickly about the importance of habitat for fish. We can have all the regulations you want around fishing but it’s all for nothing if you don’t have the right habitat for the fish you’re trying to protect,” Mr Weigall said.
“It’s just fantastic there’s high-level support from the GB CMA and the environmental water holders. The improved flows are going to have a big impact on the quality of trout fishing in the Goulburn River,” he said.
This initiative is a joint project between the GB CMA and its partners Goulburn Murray Water, the Victorian Environmental Water Holder and the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder.