Hundreds of tagged barra released into Awoonga
THE last of the season's barramundi fingerlings entered Lake Awoonga yesterday as part of the Gladstone Area Water Board's restocking program.
About 450 tagged barramundi fingerlings averaging 22cm were released, forming only a fraction of the 300,000 fingerlings bred and released into the lake each year.
Board hatchery and fishery manager Thomas Hayes estimated about five million barramundi fingerlings had been released since 1996.
"Barramundi initially grow expediently. In the hatchery it's about 1mm a day and within a year they'll be 500mm long and we're now seeing three-year-old fish about 85cm on average," Mr Hayes said.
The legal size range for barramundi is 58-120cm.
The board tagging program helps gather data on growth rates and fish movements at Lake Awoonga.
Mr Hayes was joined at the release by Gladstone Fly and Sportfishing owner Justin Nye and Boyne Tannum HookUp president Jennifer McGuire.
"We're pleased to announce our support for the Boyne Tannum HookUp for a third year by sponsoring the three tagged barramundi in Lake Awoonga, worth $5000 each if caught over the HookUp weekend," Mr Hayes said.
The three adult barramundi will be caught from Lake Awoonga and each fitted with a tag before being released back into the lake prior to the event.
Ms McGuire said it was great to see businesses of all sizes supporting the event and encouraging sustainable recreational fishing in the region - from Lake Awoonga to the Boyne River, Gladstone Harbour and beyond.
"There are so many businesses that get behind HookUp and the event just wouldn't be possible without them," Ms McGuire said.
Gladstone Fly and Sportfishing will sponsor the new Fly Fishing category at this year's event.
"It's great to see the event diversifying and encouraging different styles of fishing," Mr Nye said.
"In recent years we've seen the HookUp committee encourage more live weigh-ins and now we are seeing specialist categories like the Human Powered Water Craft and the Fly Fishing categories.
"Fishing is like any sport. It requires knowledge, technique and practice but it really doesn't take much to pick up a line, give it a go and get involved."
The Fly Fishing category will target golden and giant trevally with prizes for the longest fish and the most centimetres of combined fish caught.
This year's HookUp will be held from May 3-5 at Bray Park, Boyne Island.
HookUp tickets are available at boyntannumhookp.com.au or at Pat's Tackleworld, LJ's Complete Angler or Boyne Bait and Tackle.