Daly River 2021

And jacks, salmon, jewfish - tell us how you went. NT, FNQ and Norwest.
bigwoody
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Re: Daly River 2021

Post by bigwoody » Sat Apr 03, 2021 12:00 pm

Just got back from 3 days at the Daly, my mate the skipper said he will not go there again, to many boats and bugger all fish. WW was right...


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Re: Daly River 2021

Post by ronje » Mon Apr 05, 2021 5:47 pm

To understand what's behind the changes, look at the effect of the Bradley cells.
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Re: Daly River 2021

Post by maxpower » Tue Apr 06, 2021 6:38 am

Had a good trip to the Daly for Easter. River was busy but no different to any other year and certainly no issues with "safety". Fishing was tough early on but improved each day as it often does at this time of year with the big tides. We had a couple of really good sessions. This thread is a glass half empty one for me and sounds like sour grapes about visitors to the Daly. The bait is there in plague proportions as are the birds. I don't expect it to be a bumper year but the numbers caught from the Classic/Nationals should tell the story in a few weeks time. Hopefully it's a good story with some river recovery after some lean years.

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Re: Daly River 2021

Post by Matt Flynn » Tue Apr 06, 2021 10:01 am

The bait is there in plague proportions as are the birds.
Good news. The wet season has developed enough to get the cycle going. Better fishing in years ahead, especially with young barra able to grow so quickly.

As for the sour grapes about visitors, might still be OK now but it is fair to ask where we are heading as a whole, for example in 20 to 30 years time?

Will they hand out a limited number of tickets each year to fish river systems? Some places already have river access lotteries ... https://www.nps.gov/grca/planyourvisit/ ... ottery.htm

As for Buley Rock Holes etc, last time I went I couldn't get in, the carpark was full with coaches and tourist cars parked down the road, couldn't even get close - yes, some sour grapes about that.

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Re: Daly River 2021

Post by maxpower » Thu May 06, 2021 9:15 pm

I see the competitions are finished with 1045 fish caught in the Classic and around 2000 (I can't find the exact number) in the Nationals. Does anyone know how these numbers stack up against other years?

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Re: Daly River 2021

Post by Matt Flynn » Thu May 06, 2021 10:27 pm

A tally of 2000 fish at a Nats or Classic is exceptional, I've got stats for previous years, I'll post them up tomorrow.

The Nationals catch this year shows that the gloomers may have been wrong about "low barra stocks".

No really big fish though, eg 110cm+.

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Re: Daly River 2021

Post by Matt Flynn » Sun May 09, 2021 9:15 am

Would be good to hear WW's take on Daly barra stocks after the 2021 comp catches.

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Re: Daly River 2021

Post by wonderwobler » Mon May 10, 2021 12:36 pm

The number of fish captured by the tourists anglers partaking in the resent Barra comps is, at face value, impressive.
These numbers should not be used as a comparison or calculation tool for fish stocks. Here are some of the reasons.

The comp with the highest capture figures changed the scoring system that had been in place for over 20 years. In the past only Barra over 40cm would be counted, now every fish is counted regardless of size, around 60% of captures were of fish less than 40cm in length.

The other comp did not count fish under 40cm and in all likelihood would also have racked up higher numbers if they used the same scoring method. If you look at the score board of the classic you will see the evidence of the high percentage of small fish captured.

There is a high ratio of one year old fish from the 2020 spawn, fish of <35 – 45cm in the river. These fish are not able to be harvested by gill netting, which will happen next year as these fish grow into the >55-65cm size.
Fisheries scientific research however shows these <35-45 cm size fish are heavily cannibalistic predators of fresh spawned fingerling Barra.
With a failed 2019 recruitment there were virtually no <35 -45 cannibal Barra to prey on the 2020 spawn, resulting in a disproportional number of that year class fish now in the river. They are now feeding on the 2021 spawn.

The critical spawning of cherabin was also effected by the 2019 failed wet with the knock on impact of a diminished food source for fish.
The 2020 spawning of cherabin did occur, and due to the Covid 19 lock down the cherabin harvest by tourists did not occur, there is much anecdotal talk about the current abundance and size of cherabin in the river. The tourist will be attracted by this and have a bumper harvest this year. As did the fish.

As the NT Fisheries researched showed there was virtually no recruitment of fish in 2019 and a very low recruitment in 2018, evident by the low numbers of those year class fish.
This confirms the need to have multiple consecutive average rain falls in the river catchment to sustain or increase a biomass of fish life, a one hit wonder will not do the job.

As for comparisons of fishing success in these comps I’ll leave you with these numbers.

In the early to mid-1990s when there was only one “big Barra comp” with a field of 24 boats with Two anglers per boat fishing with pretest 6kg monofilament line with a very small selection of lures and electronics that barely showed how deep it was, when a 40hp engine was considered to be powerful and fast, captured and tagged over 1000 Barra over 40cm for 3 years in a row. I was there in one of those boats.

Nowhere on earth is there a wild fish biomass that is not diminishing, why would Barra be exempt. Enjoy it while you can, your grandchildren will read about it and wonder what it was like to catch a wild Barra.

As I have said, I’d like to be wrong.

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Matt Flynn
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Re: Daly River 2021

Post by Matt Flynn » Mon May 10, 2021 12:58 pm

Great analysis WW.

Bottom line is that there are some fish to be caught this year, which will be a relief to those who thought there'd be very few.

Fishing at the Roper has been very good this year, Blackfella Creek was alive with bait, one crew caught a heap of big fish, including a 120, with only one undersize fish for the trip. The lack of undersize fish showing up may be an opposite fit with what you report about the Daly, eg no recent breeding at the Roper.

As for diminishing biomass everywhere, don't get me started. Dinosaurs were around for 180 million years or so, humans though ...

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Re: Daly River 2021

Post by wonderwobler » Mon May 10, 2021 2:05 pm

It is said we are living in a new geological epoch, the Anthropocene.

Humans have transformed over half of the ice free land on earth, with our machines we have moved around more earth than all the rivers and streams combined.

Human biomass outweighs all wild animals and fish by a ratio of 8 to 1.

What could possibly go wrong...

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