Rebuilding Catfish Populations in Northern Victoria

On 18-19 November 2023, VRFish teamed up with the Victorian Fisheries Authority (VFA), Casterton Angling Society Inc., and Glenelg Hopkins CMA to catch catfish on the Glenelg River and release them 400km north into the Little Murray River in Northern Victoria!

More than 80 mature tandanus catfish were caught by 60 anglers participating in the fishing competition on the Glenelg River, where the species is in abundance but non-endemic to the system. Most of the fish caught were 40-55cm.

The catfish were transported to the Little Murray River to help re-establish the catfish population that was impacted by the flooding, low dissolved oxygen water levels and fish deaths in Spring 2022.

In addition to catfish, anglers removed 405 carp from the Glenelg River and caught and released large numbers of estuary perch, blackfish and tupong.

The catfish collection was so successful that the VFA, Casterton Angling Society, Glenelg Hopkins CMA and VRFish will likely continue the initiative next year, to rebuild more populations of catfish in Northern Victoria.

Tandanus catfish are listed as a threatened native fish species and the VFA are committed to re-establishing more populations of the species and bringing them back in abundance.

Recreational take of freshwater catfish is prohibited in all parts of Victoria except the Wimmera Basin. Bag and minimum legal size limits apply for freshwater catfish in the Wimmera Basin.


The Casterton Angling Society held a carp fishing competition on the Glenelg River at Roseneath which saw more than 400 carp removed from the river and the collection of the catfish. Fifty-nine anglers from five fishing clubs took part in the day.

The competition saw Dartmoor Angling Club come out in force with 30 members participating and after catching the most carp for the day. Dartmoor members caught 173 out of the total 405 carp and took home the inaugural Ricky (Bear) Owens Shield. A staunch supporter of ridding the river of this invasive pest species, Ricky passed away last year when he held the position of club President.

Individual Awards for most carp caught were:

  • Mens Category: Graeme Astbury (Portland Sports Fishing Club) caught a remarkable 67 carp
  • Womens Category: Mel Stephens (Dartmoor Angling Club) caught 5 carp
  • Boys Category: Zan Lewis (Dartmoor Angling Club) caught 21 carp
  • Girls Category: Chelsea Grosvenor (Dartmoor Angling Club) caught 6 carp

Due to the catfish collection, a catfish category was also included this year. Ricky Killey caught the longest catfish of 53.5cm and the most catfish with 14 caught. A total of 88 catfish were caught for relocation by the Victorian Fisheries Authority.

Brian Murrell caught the club heaviest carp, weighing in at 3.995kg clean weight and 75.4cm.

Brian Murrell holding a large carp (Photo: Casterton Angling Society)

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