This is a long (340 km) wedge-shaped basin with only one main river, the Avoca. The narrow section in the south consists of steep hills while the wider northern end consists of undulating alluvial plains. Mean annual rainfall decreases northwards from 600-1,000 mm near Avoca to 200-300 mm at Lake Tyrell in the far north.
There are some small areas of forest south of St Arnaud, on the edge of the basin but in the north, all land use is grazing and cropping (wheat). There are several small swamps and marshes upstream of Kerang. Flow is low and very variable and surface water quality in the Basin is generally poor because of high salinity. Surface water at Avoca is around 2,000 EC increasing downstream to 8,000 EC at Quambatook. Bottom water is more saline particularly in the deeper pools between Logan and Coonooer where levels of 28,800 EC have been recorded. There are also severe anaerobic conditions in these pools during summer with less than 10% saturation of dissolved oxygen. Groundwater is also mostly saline (>8,000 EC).
Water will be imported into the Basin from the Wimmera-Mallee Pipeline (after 2010). Most angling occurs in small lakes or reservoirs. The largest lakes are saline and carry no fish. The most common and widespread angling species is redfin.
Fishing Opportunities and Access Maps
Freshwater Fish in the Basin
- (Large fish): *bony bream, golden perch, Murray cod, ##silver perch, Murray spiny crayfish and #freshwater catfish.
- (Small fish): Australian smelt, blackfish, flathead galaxias, flathead gudgeon, mountain, galaxias, +Murray River rainbowfish, +unspecked hardyhead and western carp gudgeon.
- Brown trout, European carp, goldfish, eastern gambusia, redfin and tench
Native species in bold are protected in this Basin. Introduced species in bold are declared noxious.
+Murray River rainbowfish and unspecked hardyhead were collected in 1989.
*Record of bony bream comes from a fish kill in Lake Bael Bael.
##Freshwater catfish and #silver perch were reported in 1976, but have not been taken in more recent surveys. Silver perch can only be taken from impoundments.
Because of the limitations of the sampling methods and the brief sampling program, smaller species may be more widely distributed than is recorded.
See Introduction for information on management agencies and programs.
Victorian Fisheries Authority
- manages stocking, fisheries policy, compliance with fisheries regulations and angler contact
- Fisheries Management Plan (FMP) (a recent project that provides recreational anglers, government agencies and other stakeholders with clear guidance on fisheries management issues with a regional area over a five year period).
Victorian Fisheries Authority will develop a FMP for waters with this Basin in the future.
- Stocking Program (stocking plans for desirable species are based on an approved Victorian Fisheries Authority stocking policy and are reviewed annually via Vic Fish Stock). Golden perch and/or Murray cod are stocked in the Avoca River, Green Lake, Redbank Reservoir, and Tchum Lake. Golden perch
and silver perch are under consideration for Bealiba Lake. Salmonids are stocked into Teddington Reservoirs and the Old St Arnaud Swimming Pool. Note that due to drought conditions in 2008/09, not all waters can be stocked until conditions are suitable.
Up to date information on numbers and size of each species stocked can be found under Fish Stocking in the Fisheries and Aquaculture section of this website or in the annual Vic Fish Stock Report published by the department..
- Family Fishing Lakes Program (an ongoing project of stocking small waters within urban areas with larger trout, for junior and disabled anglers. See Introduction for further information). There is one (Old St Arnaud Swimming Pool) in this Basin. See details in angling waters.
- Victorian Stream Classification (a project that was completed in November 2010, which classifies each water as a native, salmonid or mixed fishery). Classifications relevant to this basin are:
- Trout - Old St Arnaud Swimming Pool and Teddington reservoirs.
- Native - all other waters including Avoca River, Bealiba and Redbank reservoirs and Tchum Lake.
North Central Catchment Management Authority
- is responsible for catchment management and the Victorian River Health Program.
- Victorian River Health Program (an on-going state government initiative to achieve healthy rivers, streams and floodplains). River improvement works are being carried out in the upper reaches of the Avoca River, within the section nominated as a Representative River.
Grampians Wimmera Mallee Water
- manages irrigation and rural diversion also urban supplies in the central area of the Avoca River. They also manage Stream Flow Management Plans. They now incorporate the previous Grampians Region Water Authority.
- Stream Flow Management Plans (an ongoing project in which various agencies and water user's develop a flow sharing arrangement which ensures an adequate environmental flow allocation for each river in Victoria). None completed in this Basin.
Lower Murray Water
- manages irrigation, urban and domestic and stock water in the northern area along the Murray including Swan Hill and Kerang. Coliban Water Authority and the Central Highlands Water Authority manage urban water requirements in the southern end of the Basin. Bealiba Reservoir is managed by the Bealiba Progressive Association.
Best Fishing Waters
|Teddington Reservoir Top Lake||Brown trout|
|Teddington Reservoir Bottom Lake||Brown trout, redfin|
Wimmera Mallee Pipeline
Completion of the Wimmera Mallee Pipeline in 2010 will mean that Green Lake and Tchum Lake will no longer be required as part of the previous Wimmera-Mallee Stock and Domestic System. These two lakes (as well as nine in other Basins) have been nominated as Recreational Lakes. An annual water allocation will be shared by the eleven lakes.
The upper reaches of the Avoca River are listed as a Representative River for West Victorian dissected uplands.
(wetlands of international significance, Convention on Wetlands. Ramsar, Iran 1971).
Lake Bael Bael and The Marsh (called First Marsh in Ramsar), are listed as Ramsar Sites.
Threatened Fish Species
Seven species in this Basin (Murray cod, Murray River rainbowfish, freshwater catfish, flathead galaxias, silver perch, unspecked hardyhead and Murray spiny crayfish) are threatened species in Victoria. The list of Victorian threatened species, with their national conservation value, scientific names and explanation of their conservation status category, is available on the DSE web site (Department of Sustainability and Environment [DSE] Dec 2007).
Species in bold type and the Lowland Riverine Fish Community of the Southern Murray Darling Basin are also listed under the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988) and cannot be taken or kept without an order, licence or permit. Such an order has been made by the Governor in Council allowing anglers to take Murray cod and Murray spiny crayfish from any water and silver perch from any impoundment in this Basin.