Big cats spotted swimming at Lake Purrumbete

Freshwater fishers are rejoicing the first ever large-scale stocking of cheetah trout into an Australian waterway today with 1,600 released into Lake Purrumbete, near Camperdown.

Victorian Fisheries Authority (VFA) CEO Travis Dowling said the stocking was funded by recreational fishing licence fees and the State Government’s $35 million Target One Million plan to get more people fishing, more often.

“A cross between a rainbow trout and a brook trout, cheetah trout feature striking markings along their back resembling the patterns of the African cat,” said Mr Dowling.

“The highly distinctive species adds yet more diversity to the Lake Purrumbete fishery in southwest Victoria, which is stocked annually with brown trout, rainbow trout, Chinook salmon and brook trout, the first three of which are all grown at the Fisheries’ Snobs Creek hatchery, near Eildon.

“The addition of cheetah trout to Lake Purrumbete makes it a unique destination fishery in Australia, capable of growing huge fish including brown trout over 6kg and Chinook salmon over 8kg in recent years.

“The lake is also home to a self-sustaining population of redfin, which are a wonderful species for beginners, great on the dinner table and lots of fun to catch.”

Mr Dowling said more than one million trout and salmon were stocked into 145 lakes and rivers last year to make inland fishing even better for Victorians who love wetting a line.

“Many of those fish will be catchable size this winter and were released into waterways that have a long stocking history, meaning plenty of chances to hook that trophy fish of a lifetime.

“Victorian trout fishers have lots to celebrate with Target One Million committed to improving access to lakes and rivers, for shore-based fishers and those in boats.

“Kayaks, canoes and boats powered by electric motors are now permitted on Tullaroop Reservoir, near Maryborough, which has been producing great for trout and redfin. Barkers Creek Reservoir at Harcourt now permits kayaks and canoes with electric motors, with other waters to open soon.

“Further afield, work is underway to improve camping and fishing access to crown frontage leases so more people can access public rivers through public land.”

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