LITTLE SWIMMERS: Lake Manchester will be stocked with Mary River Cod for the first time this weekend.
LITTLE SWIMMERS: Lake Manchester will be stocked with Mary River Cod for the first time this weekend. Contributed

Dam stock to liven up Lake Manchester with Mary River cod

AN ENORMOUS lake on Ipswich's doorstep that was once off limits to all aquatic activity could soon become a fishing Mecca.

A review of recreational activities across south-east Queensland's dams has resulted in a decision to stock Lake Manchester with more than 1000 Mary River cod.

Although small, the fingerlings that will be set free in the dam this Saturday will be capable of growing over 1m in length.

The endangered native species is a prize among fresh water anglers, and the Brisbane Valley Anglers Fishstocking Association hopes to see them thrive in their new surroundings.

BVAFA treasurer Charlie Ladd said there was no way of knowing exactly how well the little swimmers would fare at Lake Manchester.

"There is no way to monitor survival except to regularly fish the area," Mr Ladd said.

"We conducted a survey with Seqwater in November last year and found a lot of bony bream, eels and turtles.

"There were some big fish coming up on the sounder, but we don't know exactly what they were. We have heard stories of people putting fish in there over the years.

"Before we stocked the dam, we wanted to make sure it wasn't crawling with tilapia and carp."

Once prevalent in the Brisbane River, Mary River Cod have been re-established in the river system above Mt Crosby Weir as a result of stocking by BVAFA over the last 20 years.

Australian Bass have also been stocked in the river during this time at an average of 10000 fingerlings per year, making this section of the river a productive recreational fishery.

BVAFA's long-term plan is for Lake Manchester to be added to the Stocked Impoundment Permit scheme to secure a more permanent funding source to continue annual stocking of both lakes.

"Our plan is to turn Lake Manchester into an excellent fresh water fishery," Mr Ladd said.

"We will be putting Australian Bass into Lake Manchester next year."

BVAFA members will tag and release any fish that they catch, in an effort to monitor survival rates among fingerlings.

Mr Ladd said larger Mary River Cod survived on a diet of smaller fish like the pest Tilapia, with some know to hunt bird life, including water hens and ducks.

Fishermen usually use lures to catch the species.

The Mary River Cod is a no take species, unless caught in a stocked impoundment, where a bag limit of one applies and the minimum size is 50cm.

Members of BVAFA will release the cod into Lake Manchester at 11.30am this Saturday.

The release was funded by a grant from the Brisbane City Council Lord Mayor's Suburban Initiative Fund and supported by local area Councillor Margaret de Wit.



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