As some of you know here at fishsticks we have a permit to experiment with blackfish.

these experiments have culminated in fishsticks being the first to breed river blackfish in a farm setting ie we have recovered enough young fish to justify the method in other words we have managed to farm the fish. THE FIRST.

Once we had been successful we had surplus fish so I offered these fish to fisheries for restocking however because the brood stock came from a dam and not natural water they could not go into the river systems ( genetics) so I looked around and found a lake that once had trout and redfin but apparently no longer, fisheries agreed and a survey was carried out and the survey of the lake was positive there were no protected fish no turtles no eels no trout or redfin left the local council was on board (they could see the potential) as were local farmers, a small amount of earth works was need to ensure safety of potential fishers in other words good to go except it had to be okayed by the managers of the lake which happened to be parks , parks sent it to the DWELP and they crushed the whole plan.


So we now have a situation where blackfish cannot go into any empty body of water because they might impact on the local inhabitants such as frogs etc ( funny how the trout were ok) to put juvenile fish into water that holds both rainbow and brown trout is just suicide so where can these fish go!






Yabby for lunch

I am getting some great video of the blackfish in the aquarium recently , he has gotten used to me being around and will feed while I watch .

In this video we see him take a yabby on the second bite and then struggles to find his pipe I think because the lights in the container where on .

We can safely say that you would not want to be a yabby anywhere near a blackfish.

i am stunned that their growth rates are so slow ( given the food this one eats) perhaps the lack of high protein food such as yabbies and moths in their natural enviroments  are a factor.

I am going on a field trip to Tassie soon and we know that Gadopsis marmoratus grow to much larger sizes down there( up to eight kilos) and we also know that they have access to much bigger crustaceans, it will be interested to see for myself hat foods are availiable.

Ghost fish

This is a video I got from a trail camera in one of my ponds well not in the water, Travis Howson and Ty Matthews are placing cameras in the water I decided that I would place them outside and put a see through panel in the tank, I have had it running for about ten days now and these are the results.

The first video shows the see through panel with two pygmy perch swimming around.

sorry about the wind noise, some parts of the country are in drought not here its been raining since May and cold to.


The second video show the ghost , he is in the far top right corner, this is taken with infrared but he looks like he can see the light, notice also the coating on his eyes this enables him to see at night.

Where is the weirs

I have long argued for more small natural weirs to be placed in some waterways to hold back water in the creeks throughout the dryer months , especially the Cooriemungle and Scots creeks, this would allow enough water to sustain blackfish and other small fish until the rains came again.

This could be achieved with fallen logs or rocks and would cause minimal damage to surrounding riparian vegetation .

This is good example it was probably constructed when the original bridge was built to slow the water during construction.

I don’t think it looks bad in the environment, moss and algae grow over it and it blends in quite well.

One of the arguments against weirs is that they would constrict flow for other species , I say what other species.



I have been asked on several occasions now that I should start a hatchery here at the farm, firstly there are several different types of hatchery , without going to boring detail  you have open systems and closed system and a variety in between .

To breed a fish you first need to understand that fish and sadly we know very little about blackfish breeding

In my experience if you take the eggs off the fish minder( the litriture says thats the male fish) the eggs  die, so if we don’t know that how can we start a hatchery .

The very definition of a hatchery is to breed fish, so how can we breed fish when we know so little about them , that’s born out by the recent trials by Travis Howson who is filming the fish in the wild to try and ascertain just what does go on during mating.

It is a disgrace that after nearly two hundred years of knowing of these fish we know so very little about them , where is fisheries, growing trout , a blow in from Europe, what about native fish , where is there concern for this very Australian fish.

I am Australian to my boot straps and I will not see this fish disappear on my time here.

Trout it seems can be released anywhere you like, they have recently released a tiger trout into lake Purrumbete how long before this fish is in the Curdies river killing remnant blackfish.

Below is a short video of a blackfish taking a yabby , have a look at the colours and notice the similarities to Murray cod . if Murray cod are legends of the north then blackfish are like the ghost fish of eastern Australia .

Do we seriously want to lose this fish . if the policies of the managers of our waterways dont start to give their full attention to these fish I can only conclude that they want to troutafy the state of Victoria to the detriment of all other native fish.

Believe me i am on the phone to local and federal Government people all the time but they dont seem to care.



Grub time

One of the foods that Blackfish like is grubs this type of grub are found in dead or dying wood , they like them either as grubs or later on as moths , they have several common names so I wont bother trying to name them here.


it takes a while until the fish will trust you enough for them to be comfortable to show themselves, but with time and food they will become just like puppy dogs, I am not sure this will lead to good breeding habits but I believe when people get to see what a great fish they are more people  will want to protect them , just have a look at the colours , we really need to start calling the something other than blackfish, (southern marbled cod) maybe.

The fish finally sees the grub and its all over in a flash.

Note the blackfish  poo just in front of the pipe in the second video.