Anglers hooked on dam access

ORANGE could have two new fishing spots if moves to open Suma Park Dam and Spring Creek Dam for recreational use take off.

Currently fishing is allowed at Lake Canobolas and Gosling Creek Dam, but Orange mayor John Davis hopes opening the other dams will be a key topic to be discussed by the council this year.

“People would like to once and for all have all the dams open to recreational usage,” he said.

Orange Trout Acclimatisation Society secretary Kevin Laughton supports the moves, but does not believe motor boats should be allowed on the dams, to avoid oil or petrol spills.

“Fishing is allowed in lots of places around the world in water systems that go into the council’s drinking water,” he said.

“The facilities they’ve got these days I can’t see any problems with it.

“They allow row boats and canoes on Lake Canobolas and the same thing could apply.”

Cr Chris Gryllis said he was a key driver of opening Gosling Creek Dam to recreational users and its ongoing success could be repeated, while misuse of the dams such as the dumping of dead animals would cease.

“As long as we obey the state government rules I’d like to see it happen as soon as possible,” he said.

“Overall I’m confident the citizens of Orange would take good care of [the dams].

“It would let the young and old have a recreational sport and keep young kids off the street.”

He was unsure if boats should be allowed on the dams.

“I can recall when there was strong objections to Kinross Wolaroi using Spring Creek Dam for rowing ... but you’ve got to look beyond the negative and see the how can we create facilities for people with not much money,” he said.

Mr Laughton believes more anglers would come to Orange if there were more places to fish.

“Our area is very limited as far as streams and rivers, we rely a lot more on fishing in lakes,” he said.

Mr Laughton said the acclimatisation society already released trout and yellowbelly fish into Gosling Creek and would be able to do the same for the Suma Park and Spring Creek dams.

“There are yellowbelly and cod in [Suma Park] at the moment,” he said.

In 2011, numbers of the pest fish redfin perch swelled at Suma Park Dam, and Mr Laughton said allowing fishing at the dam would be one way to stop redfin killing native fish.

clare.colley@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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