Plenty of fish to be had as boat permits abandoned
A HEFTY 4.495kg yellowbelly fish was Patti Jaenke's most impressive catch on Wivenhoe dam and it won't be the last as the local fishing club is set to save almost $10,000 a year under new boating rules.
Grand Wivenhoe Social Fishing Club is the strongest it has ever been with 95 members on the books but a move by Seqwater to slash boating permits by July next year gives the club even more potential for growth.
Secretary Patti Jaenke said at $100 per year per member, the abolishment of boating permits meant club members will have $9,500 to splash elsewhere every year.
"With them not paying their recreational permit, that may help them stay as a member within our club and beyond that hopefully it will enable them to do something with their boat or fish finders because it's not cheap to go fishing these days," she said.
"With what's happening with the government at the moment with the retirees and the pensioners, they'll appreciate that extra $100. It may help us keep some of our members."
Mrs Jaenke and husband Alan were inaugural members when the club started 22 years ago.
"It's a beautiful sport and at least you can bring something home to eat so at least that cuts your costs down a little if you have a big family, you can bring home a feed.
"I give the men a run for their money.
"It's a good club, a strong club. We look after our juniors and encourage them to fish and we're only too willing to help any of them."
Boating permits for Wivenhoe and Somerset dams, the only two Seqwater sites for which permits were required, are being phased out.
Permits are half way through being phased out on a pro-rata basis until they are completely abandoned on July 1.
Water Supply Minister Mark Bailey said getting rid of permits was means of cutting red tape, reducing costs and increasing tourism incentives in the Somerset region.
"By removing this financial barrier, we hope it encourages more people to visit and enjoy both lakes," Mr Bailey said.