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Monitoring trout populations with fish Counters

Using Gaden fish trap, Vaki Riverwatcher and Trout Scouts
NSW DPI

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The spawning run of brown and rainbow trout in the rivers flowing to Eucumbene and Jindabyne Dams form an integral component of the fishery in the region.
Overview

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What are we doing?
In order to track numbers of trout in the annual spawn run, we are installing a VAKI Riverwatcher system. This will be complemented by a number of Trout Scout video systems. The trap on the Thredbo River will also be supplemented with Trout Scout video systems situated in the Jindabyne catchment.
The VAKI Riverwatcher is used widely in Europe, America and Canada to monitor migratory salmonids.  The Trout Scout is based on the “Smolt Spy” designed by FISHBIO in America. FISHBIO use it mainly to monitor juvenile fish but NSW DPI have designed systems for a range of environments and fish sizes.
Fish counters

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Vaki Riverwatcher
The Vaki Riverwatcher is a fish counting tool used to collect data on fish numbers and movements, aiding in the improved management of the Snowy Lakes fisheries. The system includes an infrared scanner which records a silhouette image of the fish, triggering a camera which captures images or video of each fish. Latest movements via the Eucumbene counter.

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The Trout Scout video systems are based off the American FISHBIO’s “Smolt Spy”. It involves a motion detection camera system that will record any fish moving through the device. From this we are able to collect information about when trout travel up and downstream to spawn, as well as size range and species.
The Trout Scouts
Gaden Fish Trap
The fish trap on the Thredbo River at Gaden has been in place for many years. The trap is checked daily by hatchery staff and all fish measured and checked for tags. Those that are not required for the hatchery operations are released upstream so they can continue on their journey.

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· Non-invasive - We can count, identify, and observe trout without having to touch them or remove them from the water.
· Remote Access - We can access some of the information remotely in all weather conditions.
· It complements previous and current electrofishing monitoring.
· Suitable to use in remote areas.
Why these Methods?
Where can you find out more
Find out more about our monitoring  programs online or check River watcher daily to keep up to date.