With 2014 being the 150 year anniversary of the arrival of the first brown trout in Tasmania, this year’s Trout Weekend at Liawenee held special significance. The event is arranged by IFS (Inland Fisheries Service) to coincide with the annual spawning migration of brown trout in Tasmania’s central highland. There was a festival atmosphere with crowds of people – old and young, anglers and non anglers – immersing themselves in the exhibits and displays.
At centre stage though were the hundreds of trout jostling and competing to make their way up the Liawenee Canal to their spawning grounds. It was amazing to reflect that at least some of those fish would have been the direct descendants of those few hundred brown trout eggs hatched at the Salmon Ponds a century and a half ago. IFS staff were on hand to catch the wild trout and strip them of their eggs. The fertilised eggs were then destined to be transported to the State’s hatchery at New Norfolk, where they will be grown on to fingerling size. Although many Tasmanian waters thrive as wild fisheries without stocking, these little trout are destined to be distributed around Tasmania into those waters with limited natural recruitment.
Nearly 4,000 visitors attended the weekend to enjoy the displays and exhibits on all things trout and fishing – including cooking and fish smoking demonstrations, casting clinics with Peter Hayes, fly tying exhibitions and the ever-popular junior anglers pool where children had the chance to catch one of those magnificent trout. Also available were helicopter rides giving a bird’s eye view of the Central Plateau and Great Lake; trade displays and historic film footage of trout fishing in the 1920’s to 1950’s. Overall, the weekend was great celebration of all things Tasmanian trout!