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Releasing a rainbow trout into Drakesbrook Weir

Releasing a rainbow trout into Drakesbrook Weir

The weather cleared for just long enough last weekend for Recfishwest’s annual Troutfest to take place in Waroona.

With wet and wintry conditions right up to the morning of the event things were looking a bit grim, but the weather gods smiled on us and the sun even came out for the release of thousands of trout of various sizes into scenic Drakesbrook Weir.

Troutfest is held every year and is a celebration of more than a century of trout stocking in Western Australia.

As always, the highlight was the releasing of the fish, which varied in sizes from fingerlings through to yearlings and then some very big ex-broodstock browns and rainbows that were very much in the trophy size.

This part of the day always gets a fantastic reaction, with families and kids taking it in turns to release the fish, all bred at the historic hatchery in Pemberton, into their new home.

There were plenty of oohs and aahs when an impressive brown trout around the three-kilo mark was released under the supervision of Fisheries Minister Don Punch.

With the Recfishwest team in attendance, everyone at the event got their chance to release fish into the weir, with around 2000 trout in total liberated as hatchery staff watched on.

Drakesbrook in is one of four stocked impoundments in the area, with Waroona Dam, Logue Brook Dam and Harvey Dam also holding trout.

Having been heavily stocked in recent years Drakesbrook offers some great freshwater fishing opportunities.

It is very easily accessible, being just a long cast from the heart of Waroona and is excellent for family fishing, with plenty of open banks, good kayaking opportunities and a small stream that runs into it.

Troutfest was an excellently run event, with hundreds of people attending despite the ominous weather, and also included a kids fishing clinic, fly casting demonstrations and a sausage sizzle.

Once my duties at Troutfest were over it gave me the chance to try some of the local trout fishing, which I have always been very partial to but had not done for a few years.

Matt Lilly, Robert Goodlich and I hit some local streams and really earned a few lovely 30cm fish, at times battling dense scrub to get to our locations.

It was great to be back of some of my favourite fishing spots after a long break and it was immensely satisfying when I caught my first rainbow from a brook that used to be my favourite but which I hadn’t visited in close to a decade.

I’d had so many magical days on this stream over the years and it was fantastic to know it still is capable of producing such great memories.

Matt and I also hit the Harvey Dam the following day in our kayaks, managing a couple of smallish fish on fly late in the day by fishing the recently flooded grassy banks.

Water levels were extremely high at Harvey, meaning that there should be some excellently conditioned fish caught out of there in the coming months, with plenty of fresh food available to them in the flooded areas.

Indeed, we should be in for a bumper couple of seasons of trout fishing in our South-West over the next couple of years, as we freshwater anglers reap the benefits of a more focussed stocking program combined with improved water levels after the heavy rainfall over winter.

Caption: James Florisson of Recfishwest releasing a rainbow trout into Drakesbrook Weir.

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