With Friday being a public holiday I’d agreed to monitor the stocking of several NFFC waters by Bushman’s River Trout. So at 6am Sharon and I took a leisurely drive to the Giant’s Castle area where we met John. He’d stocked the 3 dams with 3″ (or 5”) fish the previous morning and it was now time to put in a few 10″ fish to kick start the process of rehabilitating these Mondi waters.
The whole process was surprisingly fast and started by looking for a place to safely release the new fish. The obvious choice was along the dam wall into deeper, safer water. There was however a small problem in that we could see the previous day’s smaller fish shoaling along the wall. Not wanting the 10″ fish to consume the previous day’s work we examined the rest of the water but soon realised that the dam wall was the only option. As such we searched it for the place of least activity and began the process there.
He part emptied the tanks and added water from the dam. This was to acclimatise the fish to their new living conditions from those in the tank. During this process one of the fish managed to leap from a tank and I picked it up hoping to snap off a quick photo. Fat chance! All the fish I usually hold have been at the end of a fly line for a few minutes thus tiring them out. This particular one had however been in cool, highly oxygenated water and was at full strength. I must admit, I was impressed! It had so much power I was unable to hold it for any length of time without it wriggling free from grasp.
After allowing the fish time to acclimatise they were then netted, probably 40 odd fish at a time, run to the water and thrown, yes thrown, in. I was a little shocked that the fish were thrown for 10 odd meters before hitting the water, but soon discovered that the shock jolted them enough to make them move off happily in their new environment (or so I was told).
With the first dam complete we moved off to the next water and repeated the process there. Only this time, due to a small outlet stream, John was forced to run a fair distance to safely release the fish.
The whole process took just over 2 hours allowing me plenty of time to head to Kamberg and bash some trout of my own.