Talk Wild Trout 5

After a detour to Melbourne in 2018, on Saturday 23 November, Victoria’s Talk Wild Trout conference is heading back to where it all began in Mansfield. While a return to Mansfield means a longer drive for many of us, it also allows a bit of actual fishing for wild trout in the many nearby streams, to compliment learning about them at the conference!

Now in its fifth year, Talk Wild Trout began as a collaboration between anglers, scientists and the Victorian Fisheries Authority (VFA), seeking to better understand (and therefore better manage) Victoria’s wild trout fisheries. In particular, the knowledge gained and shared over subsequent years, especially around elevated summer water temperatures, has led to a renewed focus on preserving and enhancing wild trout habitat – with record investment and angler effort.

Improved habitat on the Rubicon…

Meanwhile, there’s been a lot of work on understanding the dynamics of Victorian wild trout populations, including tracking populations of important trout streams through the popular Health Cards presented at each conference. We’ve learnt that for a range of reasons, wild trout numbers are seldom static. The makeup of species (browns/ rainbows) and size classes (new recruits through to adults) vary naturally from year to year, stream to stream and even reach to reach – sometimes dramatically. The Australian Trout Foundation and VFA are investigating if some of these peaks and troughs can be smoothed through the use of incubator boxes.

… and a resident!

This year, Talk Wild Trout presentations will include:

  • Keynote speaker Hilary Hutcheson: Montana trout guide, fly shop owner, journalist and film maker.
  • Greg French (just about my favourite trout fishing writer) talking about the value of wild trout fisheries – something Greg is absolutely passionate about.
  • Martin Auldist discussing exploring new waters.
  • Robbie Alexander on the fun of wild trout.

Greg French will be one of the speakers this year.

‘Regulars’ will include the latest wild trout research results (with more Health Card updates from our best wild trout streams), updates on wild trout habitat improvement works, and the latest on incubator stocking trials. We’ll also hear news on phase two of the State Government’s ‘Target One Million’ plan. And as usual, there’ll be plenty of opportunities for questions from the audience.

In my experience, Talk Wild Trout has seen a small revolution in fisheries management, where the spirit has moved from the conflict that so often blights angler/ fisheries manager discussions, to one of cooperation. There’s a genuine commitment from VFA people (several of whom are keen trout fishers) to sustain and improve our wild trout fishing, and with Talk Wild Trout, anglers are being openly invited along to help that happen.

Every year I learn some new gem of information from Talk Wild Trout, and I simply enjoy hearing from trout experts and entertainers. If you can make it on the 23rd, I recommend you go – and add a day or two of fishing on either end if you can!

When: Saturday 23 November 2019, from 9.30am until 4pm

Where: Mansfield Performing Arts Centre,

To reserve a free seat: click here. (Registering helps plan seating and catering, which includes free lunch and refreshments.)