Restocked fish evade family anglers

Rainbow trout are missing in action at Morwell Lake. photograph michelle slater
Rainbow trout are missing in action at Morwell Lake. photograph michelle slater

Something fishy has been going on at Latrobe Valley lakes with 1500 rainbow trout apparently missing in action despite assurances they were released in time for the school holidays.

About 750 plate-sized, ready to catch rainbow trout were released into both Morwell and Churchill's Hyland lakes as part of the Victorian government's Target One Million program.

The program encourages more people to take up recreational fishing and the restocking was done just in time to get kids out casting a line for the school holidays.

However, Latrobe Valley Fly Fishers vice president Dave Egan said people had been disappointed as no one had landed a rainbow trout.

Mr Egan said up to 40 people turned up to Morwell Lake after the restocking but all went home empty-handed.

"Fisheries usually put them in a week before the school holidays to let the fish settle in. The locals know about it and look forward to it, but no one's caught anything – they usually catch bags of them," he said.

"I've been fishing my whole life and I didn't see any fish in there or see anyone catch a fish. I've heard plenty of people complaining."

Mr Egan said it was possible but highly unlikely the 750 fish had high-tailed it out of Morwell Lake and into Eel Hole Creek.

He said Hyland Lake was less popular than Morwell due an infestation of European carp.

A spokesperson for the Agriculture Minister Jaala Pulford confirmed to The Express that Morwell Lake was stocked with the trout on June 25.

Ms Pulford said school holidays were the perfect time for youngsters to try their luck wetting a line.

"We want to get more families into the great outdoors, enjoying time together and being active, which is why we're improving fishing opportunities for beginners and experts with better facilities, easier access and more stocking," Ms Pulford said.

Morwell and Hyland lakes were two of 77 waterways across the state stocked with 30,000 rainbow trout.

These lakes were selected as safe and convenient for families with fishing platforms, bankside tracks and picnic tables.