South-west fishers have responded positively to a state government proposal to end the closed season for trout fishing in the Hopkins and Merri rivers.
South West District Association of Angling Clubs president Gary Cronin, of Camperdown, said his association supported the proposal because the lack of natural breeding by the trout in the two rivers meant a closed season was not required to protect any natural breeding.
Mr Cronin said his members appreciated the state government stocking the rivers with trout because it gave them a chance to catch a trout that they would not get because natural breeding did not occur in the rivers.
Fisheries Victoria inland fisheries manager Andrew Forster said there was evidence the two rivers did not have suitable spawning grounds for trout, which were not native fish.
Mr Forster said there had been efforts to create environments for trout spawning in the two rivers but they had been unsuccessful.
“It’s best to use it (the two rivers) as a put and take fishery,” he said.
Mr Forster said about 6000 brown trout were put into the Hopkins River each year and about 8000 into the Merri River.
The artificial stocking gave a boost to regional economies by increasing recreational fishing opportunities, he said.
Mr Forster said Fisheries Victoria was seeking public comment on the proposal.
Fisheries Victoria executive director Travis Dowling said the proposed change was developed with the help of the Victorian Trout Fishery Reference Group, which consisted of 26 members from across the broad spectrum of trout fishing interests.