Anglers Club history

May 20, 2014

Congratulations to Steve Apthorpe, the Bingara Anglers Committee and members for putting the Fish Hatchery back in business.
Some Anglers Club History
Copeton Dam was completed in the early 1970s and by 1980 the Anglers Club saw a dramatic fall of fish numbers in the Gwydir River and there were no small fish being caught.
The Club paid expenses for Dr Bryan Pratt, the head of Agriculture and Fisheries ACT to come to Bingara and look into the problem.
Dr Pratt quickly came to the conclusion that because of cold water releases from Copeton Dam during the fish-spawning season that the fish had not spawned for a number of years and were unlikely to ever spawn again.
1980 also saw the first large schools of European carp arrive in the Gwydir and Horton Rivers. Before leaving Bingara, Dr Pratt said these famous words.
“Of course it is not impossible for you to breed your own fish”.
It did not take long for the Anglers Club to look into this possibility.
The Anglers Club sent delegates to do a feasibility study to other fish hatcheries to see if it would be viable to start a hatchery in Bingara.
The delegates visited fish hatcheries at Canberra, Narrandera, Wagga Wagga and Snobs Creek and returned to Bingara and reported, “it could be done”.
1981: Not only the Anglers Club but local council and the community became enthusiastic about a fish hatchery in Bingara.
Bingara Council supplied the land along with some machinery operated by volunteer council workers, pipes and fencing materials, etc, were supplied at cost price.
Other organisations donated the use of their machinery and plant operators.
Fundraisers and raffles were held and with good donations from surrounding Fishing Clubs. With a large donation from the North and North West Fishermen’s Association, the Bingara anglers had enough finance to commence construction of the hatchery.
Working bees were huge with up to 100 volunteers turning up on a Saturday morning to erect the fencing, put in pipelines etc. Not all of the workers were fishermen; they gave their time for a worthy cause.
1982: With the ponds and fencing completed the official opening of the hatchery was held at Octoberfish.
The Cod had only been introduced to the ponds some weeks earlier so no spawning occurred.
A late attempt to hormone induce Golden Perch in a heated tank inside a tent was not successful. The fish spawned but the eggs were not fertilized properly, however this gave the workers some hope that they were working in the right direction. The hatchery did not have a building at this stage.
1983: The year of embarrassment!
After a year of waiting the Cod did not spawn. Under the supervision of Dr Stuart Rowland, Senior Biologist at Grafton Research Station in Grafton, the Cod pond was drained and six Cod recovered.
Instead of three male and three female fish it was found to be five males and one female who had reabsorbed her eggs!
Dr Rowland showed the workers the proper way to sex fish and the mistake never happened again.
1984: Natural spawning sites using hollow logs were placed around the Cod ponds and – “At Last” – the Cod spawned in the logs and the laboratory was filled with Cod eggs.
Golden Perch were also successfully hormone injected and the hatchery was up and away. The following year Silver Perch were also bred successfully.
The total of fish released by the hatchery from 1984 to 1989, into the Gwydir and Horton Rivers and creeks around Bingara:
Murray Cod 100,000
Golden Perch 200,000
Silver Perch 120,000
Fish given to other Fishing Clubs for their financial support:
Murray Cod: Split Rock Dam, 3000
Murray Cod: Guyra, Ashford, Bundarra, 10,000
Silver Perch: Copeton Dam 10,000
Golden Perch: Copeton Dam, 10,000
Golden Perch Chaffey Dam, 20,000
Contributed by Phil Forster