Stocking the district waters with fish

TROUT PLACED IN VALLEY LAKE.

STOCKING THE DISTRICT WATERS WITH FISH.

TROUT PLACED IN VALLEY LAKE.

Border Watch

Saturday 23 June 1900

Mr. William Schmidt, a one time resident of Mount Gambier, but now of Ballarat, was entrusted by the Mount Gambier Fish Protection Society and Anglers’ Club to bring from Ballarat the 500 yearling English lake trout promised by the Ballarat Fish Acclimatisation Society for the stocking of the Mount Gambier lakes and other waters in the district. The fish were placed by the Ballarat Society in seven tins, like shortened milk cans, except that they were only about 18 inches deep, and Schmidt started with them on Wednesday evening by train. He had instructions not to change the water during the journey, which some of the more experienced members of the Society now consider to have been a mistake. On arrival at Wolseley Schmidt observed that a great many fish were dead and many others dying, and thought it would have been wise to have changed the water, but he did not care to act contrary to his instructions. The long delay at Wolseley seems to have been fatal to a large majority of them, for on examination after their arrival in Mount Gambier on Thursday evening at 7.30 o’clock it was found that only 35 of the 500 were alive, and some of the survivors were not in a very promising state. Mr. E. Lewis, to whose care they were consigned for the night, put the tins into a trough, and allowed a stream of fresh Blue Lake water to run around them all night. Yesterday morning the whole 35 were found alive and alert, the sick ones having revived in a wonderful manner.  It was arranged on Thursday that the fish should be put into the Valley Lake at 11 o’olock the next forenoon, and residents and members of the club were invited to be present. Yesterday forenoon was very wintry, and conditions were not such as to entice people to go to an outdoor function. But 11 o’clock saw Messrs. E. Lewis, C. MacKenzie, F. Davison, H. Glover, W. Webb, and Dr.C.C. MacDonald, members of the Anglers’ Club, at a point on the south side of the Valley Lake, where in the summer season Mr. J. Glanville moors his boots. A drizzling rain from the northward was falling as the party were going down, and continued until after the fish were committed to their new home. Just before they were poured out a party of eight or nine shags, that are almost constantly about the lakes, approached the island three or four chains off, and appeared to be interested spectators of the proceedings……………. The little grey trout looked very pretty in the water. As soon as they were put in, most of them, seemingly full of life and vigour, hid out of sight. Two or three remained a minute or two to survey their new surroundings, and then followed their brethren.

The Club members went back to their conveyances, and drank success to the fish, Mr. Davison, the President, acting the part of host. The party then spent a quarter of an hour inspecting the groves of trees planted west of the Valley Lake some dozen years ago, and having done so returned to have another look at the spot where the fish were placed……………………..  None of the fish were observable, having betaken themselves to deeper water……….

The club, in common with everyone else who feel an interest in the stocking of the district waters with first-class fish, regret that the long journey from Ballarat was so disastrous to the young fish, but are hopeful that if the 35 put in have a fair show they will in two or three years fairly stock the lake. The club regret very much that their desire to place trout in Lakes Leake and Edward and Ewen Ponds cannot at present be realised but it is likely application will be made this season for a further supply, and if better fortune attend them these waters will be stocked and the Valley Lake further supplied. The great drawback the Club suffer from is want of money. Although the Ballarat Acclimatization Society grant the fish free there is necessarily a heavy expense attendant on their introduction to Mount Gambier. If there, then, be any gentlemen in the district who would like to see the district waters stocked with valuable fish and have not yet assisted the Society in any way they have a chance of doing the district a service…………… Another thing the Society will have to discuss will be the destruction of shags. It is said that less than a dozen infest the lakes, but they can do an immense amount of harm. It would be well if a reward could be offered for their destruction, as it might insure their early disappearance, and give the young fish a fairer chance. The lake trout (Saleno ferox)……. are a very fine fresh water fish. It attains a size of almost 30lbs and is a very powerful active fish, which tries the skill of the angler………. If those put into the Valley Lake yesterday escape the dangers of youth they and their progeny will very likely make things warm up for the perch that now luxuriate there. It is interesting to briefly recall the efforts that have been made from time to time to stock the waters of the district with fish. The last and most successful effort to stock the Mount Gambier lakes with perch was made by Mr. F. Davison about September, 1882.  In the same month Mr. G. Riddoch had Lake Leake and Edward stocked with perch. The fish did well in the Valley and Leg of Mutton lakes and three years later many other waters in the district were stocked with young fish from them. Messrs. H. Rubenkonig, F. E, Wehl, and Kabitz must have the credit for this, they placed 177 perch in Lake Bonney in August, September, and October, 1885, and they have done remarkably well there, and now afford anglers many a pleasant hour. Nearly all the female fish of that lot were spawners, and weighed from 1lb to 3½lbs each. They were in splendid order when put in. In 1885 also the same gentlemen placed perch in Lake Hawdon, the Dismal Swamp, the Peweena Swamp, Ewens’s Ponds, and lakes and swamps at Nangwarry, near the Punt, beyond Compton and elsewhere. In several of these places they have succeeded very satisfactorily.

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