Wild Trout Fisheries Management Program

Summary

Wild trout fishing in Victoria is important and provides enormous social and economic benefits to anglers and regional communities.

The Victorian Government have invested heavily and worked closely with trout fishing organisations better understand our wild trout fishery and what we can do to manage and improve wild trout fishing for all anglers.

This work was delivered under the Wild Trout Fisheries Management Program (WTFMP), which was funded by recreational fishing licence fees and the State Government between 2014 to 2019.

Substantial outcomes have come from the WTFMP  that have improved the management of Victoria’s wild trout fishery and engagement with stakeholders. To learn more about the WTFMP and key outcomes:

For further information about the WTFMP, please contact Anthony Forster, Manager of Freshwater Fisheries (Anthony.forster@vfa.vic.gov.au), Taylor Hunt, Fisheries Manager (taylor.hunt@vfa.vic.gov.au) or John Douglas, Fisheries Manager (John.douglas@vfa.vic.gov.au).

Background

Wild trout fishing in Victoria makes a significant contribution to regional economies and small business, as fishers, their friends and families, travel through remote communities buying food, fuel, tackle and staying overnight.

In response to a decline in wild trout catches in the hot summer of 2013/14, the Victorian Government invested heavily and worked closely with trout fishing organisations better understand our wild trout fishery and what we can do to manage and improve wild trout fishing for all anglers.

This work was delivered under the Wild Trout Fisheries Management Program (WTFMP), which was funded by recreational fishing licence fees and the State Government between 2014 to 2019. Specifically the WTFMP aimed to deliver:

  • A clearer understanding of the cause(s) of the decline in wild trout fisheries,
  • Better understanding of priority trout populations' health and status,
  • Improved engagement with fishers to share our understanding of trout fisheries management, science and factors that drive the fishery,
  • More responsive management of wild trout recreational fishing in Victoria, and
  • Improved fishing opportunities for wild trout in Victoria.

To achieve this, an evidence-based approach was adopted that involved extensive trout population surveys, tagging of fish, assessment of riparian shading, assessment of the effectiveness of trout stocking and, the significance of trout fishing pressure.

The WTFMP also explored which interventions might best be adopted to support the recovery of the trout fishery. For example, the Australian Trout Foundation (ATF) held workshops to identify potential river health restoration projects and work started to evaluate the effectiveness of Scotty Jordan incubators.

The WTFMP has been a partnership between the VFA, trout fishing organisations, the Victorian trout Fisher Reference Group, Arthur Rylah Institute, Catchment Management Authorities, University of Melbourne and the Department of Environment Land Water and Planning (DELWP).

Considerable effort has also been invested in engaging anglers and communicating the findings of this research to trout fishers through annual Talk Wild Trout Conferences which included; presentations, proceedings reports, videos and the use of leading international and Australia-wide expertise.

Talk Wild Trout Conferences, Proceedings, Videos and Presenters

To share the key findings from the key projects within the WTFMP, the VFA and partner trout fishing organisation have annually hosted the Talk Wild Trout Conferences.

The Talk Wild Trout Conferences have been tremendously successful attracting 200-400 trout anglers annually to discuss key issues and opportunities in our wild trout fishery.

Conference Proceedings

The VFA have produced a Conference Proceedings document for each Talk Wild Trout Conference, which provides a detailed and engaging written update on key projects within the WTFMP.

The Conference Proceedings enable key findings to be shared with those who couldn’t make the conference, as well as to record these learnings for future reference. Of particular note in the Talk Wild Trout Conference Proceedings are the health report cards of our most popular wild trout streams.

To download Talk Wild Trout Conference Proceedings, click below:

Videos

Videos are also available of select presentations given at the Talk Wild Trout Conferences, click below:

2019 Talk Wild Trout Conference Videos

The Adventure of Fly Fishing - Hilary Hutcheson, USA

Dare to be wild - Greg French

The fun of wild trout: Victorian context - Robbie Alexander

Off the beaten track: Time to find new water? - Martin Auldist

2018 Talk Wild Trout Conference Videos

Trout fishery management lessons from Idaho - Jim Fredericks, Chief of Fisheries, Idaho Department of Fish and Game, USA

Talk Wild Trout - four years on - Anthony Forster

The state of trout in Victoria: 2018 survey results - Health cards for six wild trout streams 2018 – Dr Brett Ingram

Yearling trout stocking in rivers study-final report - John Douglas

Climate and trout – forecast and ground truths - Dr John Morrongiello

Repairing where fish live - Terry George and Mike Burgess

Jordan Scotty Incubator Trials - first year findings - Matt Byrne and Brett Ingram

Expanding the Diary Angler Program - Taylor Hunt

Lure tossing in the South West rivers - Mark Gercovich

Feathers & flies – Tips from a trout fishing guide - Philip Weigall

Talk Wild Trout 2018 – Jim Fredericks Impressions

Talk Wild Trout 2018 – The Experts

Talk Wild Trout 2018 – Attendees Thoughts

2015 Talk Wild Trout Conference Videos

Trout fisheries in a changing landscape - Dr Dan Dauwalter, Trout Unlimited, USA

The state of trout: Survey results from key wild trout rivers - Jason Lieschke

Health cards for twelve of our best wild trout streams - Taylor Hunt

The heat is on: Summer trout movement in the Delatite River - Jason Lieschke

Looking at riparian vegetation effects at local and landscape levels - Dr John Morrongiello

How riparian vegetation supports aquatic insects and better trout fishing- Di Crowther

Riparian vegetation management into the future - Mark Turner & Amber Clarke

Smarter trout stocking & the use of chemical markers - Dr Brett Ingram & Fletcher Warren-Myers

Taking stock: Are we overfishing our trout? Social aspects & harvest of wild trout stream anglers - Kylie Hall

Does size matter?: The lengths we go to for trout size limits - John Douglas & Anthony Forster

Other Videos

Jamieson River Tree Planting

Victoria’s Wild Trout Fishery Management Program

Presenters

The Talk Wild Trout Conference series is proud to have featured presentations and reports from the following speakers:

  • Dr Dan Dauwalter, Trout Unlimited (USA)
  • Ms April Vokey, Fishing Advocate (CA)
  • Dr John Hayes, Cawthorn Institute (NZ)
  • Jim Fredericks, Idaho Department of Fish and Game (USA)
  • Hilary Hutcheson, Casting For Recovery (USA)
  • Philip Weigall, FlyStream.com
  • Dr John Morrongiello, University of Melbourne
  • Greg French, Trout Enthusiast
  • Jon Clewlow, Millbrook Lakes
  • Rex Hunt, Recreational Fishing Advocate
  • Terry George, Australian Trout Foundation
  • Matt Byrne, Australian Trout Foundation
  • Paul Stolz, Australian Trout Foundation
  • Ray Buckland, Australian Trout Foundation
  • Dermot O’Brien, Victorian Fly Fishers Association
  • Kris Leckie, VRFish
  • Steven Relf, VRFish
  • Tom Camp, Mornington Fly Fishers
  • Mark Gergovich, Fishing Journalist
  • Robbie Alexander, Fishing Journalist
  • Martin Auldist, Fishing Journalist
  • Mark Turner, Goulburn Broken CMA
  • Jim Castles, Goulburn Broken CMA
  • Andrew Briggs, North East CMA
  • Amber Clarke, DELWP
  • Fletcher Warren Myers, University of Melbourne
  • Jason Lieschke, Arthur Rylah Institute
  • Di Crowther, Arthur Rylah Institute
  • Renae Ayres, Arthur Rylah Institute
  • Anthony, Forster, Victoria Fisheries Authority
  • Dr Brett Ingram, Victorian Fisheries Authority
  • Taylor Hunt, Victorian Fisheries Authority
  • John Douglas, Victorian Fisheries Authority
  • Kylie Hall, Victoria Fisheries Authority
  • Hui King Ho, Victorian Fisheries Authority
  • Anthony, McGrath, Victorian Fisheries Authority

Outcomes of the WTFMP

The outcomes of the WTFMP to date have been substantial and, has re-shaped the VFA’s trout fishery management and fishing stakeholder engagement approach across Victoria. Some of the key outcomes / learnings include:

  • Population surveys and assessments of 21 trout streams over five years throughout Victoria (some streams surveyed over multiple years),
  • Development of user-friendly wild trout fishery (river) report cards,
  • Demonstration that stocking of yearling brown trout in rivers is ineffective,
  • Demonstration that trout fishing pressure is not significantly impacting trout populations,
  • Evidence that hot summers are directly impacting trout fishing and trout survival,
  • Analysis of data shows changes in climate are significantly impact wild trout fisheries,
  • Evidence that streamside shading is critical for trout to buffer against summer temperature shocks,
  • Developed a tool to identify where riparian shading will deliver maximum benefit to trout fisheries,
  • Secured $1 million of State Government funding through the Angler Riparian Partnership Program to help fisher restore river health,
  • Strong trout fisher engagement and ownership of the WTFMP - almost 2,000 Talk Trout Conferences participants,
  • Substantial increase in fisher volunteer commitment to river health projects through the Australian Trout Foundation (ATF) – 750 people across 113 angling clubs involved, 23,700 plants planted, 31 projects across 24 waterways and 45km of streams.
  • VFA’s adoption of Talk Trout Conferences model for other sectors including; Port Phillip Bay, Murray Codference, Dusky Flathead,
  • Emulation of the WTFMP in New South Wales.

Wild trout myths busted magazine article

The following Freshwater Fishing Magazine article provides a summary overview of some of the key findings from the Wild Trout Fisheries Management Program over the past five years: Wild trout myths busted (PDF - 8.9 MB)