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Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Day 12, Trout I.

Back in May I wrote about the old homestead and guesthouse along the Big Badja river where my grandfather was born and mentioned his father being one of the first landowners to release trout into the river. Though well before great-grandfather Stan purchased land along the Badja in 1886, the movement to release fish in the river was well underway. As early as 1869 a news article reporting on the Monaro Region published in the Sydney Morning Herald details an unsuccessful attempt to populate the rivers with cod from the Murrumbidgee, crediting the cold water temperatures as unfavourable conditions. It suggests fish of a harder kind, specifically salmon and salmon trout, should be introduced to the rivers. Undoubtedly influenced by the successful introduction of salmon trout to the rivers of New Zealand three years prior. The article goes on to suggest the need for trout in the region would be a nice change in palate from beef and mutton, but more specifically because angling is a “gentle craft” and that “it is desirable to encourage pastime that promotes man’s health and cheerfulness, the love of country and of country scenes, and that counteracts in any way the feverish haste and money-grabbing spirit of the day” (SMH, 19.11.1869). In 1871 there was an attempt to stock the Delegate and Bendock rivers with mountain trout from Bonang, and although the fish would be unable to get upstream due to the various falls, one Mr McDonald was confident that it would only take ten pairs of fish to be put into each river for the completed stocking of the Monaro south of Nimmitabel, offering, if remunerated, his time and effort to carry out the task (SMH, 6.05.1871). Approaching the end of the 19th century there was certainly a general consensus for the need of trout in the region, by anglers and those desiring English sensibilities alike. Though great debate carried on about the appropriate species, level of success, amount of government intervention and effort it would require to populate the streams. The first trout released in the Monaro region was in 1888, with the first official release by NSW Fisheries being in the following year at Snowy River.