Photo: That's a fish!
In an earlier post I talked about New England dam levels. While water levels are down, there is still some good fishing.
The Great Inland Fishing Festival at Lake Copeton has established a reputation among regional anglers as one of the best, with more than 800 anglers expected to vie for a prize pool of $20,000 over the weekend of November 30, December 1 and 2.
Lake Copeton is regarded as one of the nation’s best inland fisheries, with plentiful Murray Cod, as well as Yellow Belly, Catfish and Silver Perch.
In 2003 the rules were changed to make it a catch and release contest (rather than catch and kill). The proceeds were then used to put fish back in the water in an effort to further develop Inverell's claim to be the Inland Fishing Capital of Australia.
Festival organiser Darrel Kachel says while the Lake Copeton level is at 15%, the fish are still plentiful. He attributes the high level of fish to the catch and release policy of the surrounding fishing clubs in recent years.
“There’s certainly a healthy supply on hand and our sponsorship has really improved since we introduced the catch and release policy,” he said.
Mr Kachel said the festival is designed to be a family event which promotes the district and sustainable fishing.
At least three measuring stations will be set up on the dam foreshores during the competition, as well as 20 flag boats for measuring out on the water.
A highlight of the weekend is the Fishermens’ Dream Raffle – with a prize of boat, motor, trailer, and safety equipment.
The Australian Inland Fishing Champion will be awarded a major prize of $1,000.
The Great Inland Fishing Festival at Copeton Dam runs from November 30 to December 2. Lake Copeton is between 17 and 35 kilometres south west of Inverell, depending on which area of the Dam you choose to go. It is three times the size of Sydney Harbour and offers cabins, bunkhouses and campsites.
Entry fees for the Festival are $20 for adults, $8 for pensioners and children and $30 for a family. For festival enquiries, phone Darrel Kachel (02) 67224410 BH or (02) 67221054 AH
For accommodation enquiries at Lake Copeton, phone the Recreation Area on (02) 6723 6269.
Inverell is 569 kms (7 hours 35 minutes) north west of Sydney if you travel by Thunderbolt's Way. The New England Highway route is longer. If you are travelling from Brisbane it is 433 kms (5 hours 20 minutes), from Armidale 126kms (one hour 43 minutes).