Loddon River (North) Basin
Loddon River basin has been divided into two sections, north and south, for better map presentation.
This northern section of the Basin (Serpentine to the Murray) consists of an old flood plain of finely textured soils. It has deeply entrenched waterways, swampy depressions and landforms developed by wind erosion. The only relief is the rocky granite remnants forming several hills to 100 m altitude around Pyramid Hill, south west of Kow Swamp. The entire area is used for grazing and cropping with only a few small isolated patches of red gum woodlands and a denser strip of forest along the Murray River. Mean annual rainfall is 300-400 mm and groundwater is highly saline. There is also significant land salination.
Water flow in the Loddon River is controlled by storages, resulting in low flow during winter/spring and high flows during summer (January-April) down as far as the Loddon Weir. This is a reversal of the normal flow regime. Although there are few pools exceeding two metres deep in this section of the Loddon River; there are some instream snags, which provide some cover for fish. The main environmental problem in this river is the historically low summer flows because of irrigation demands. Most of the lakes are also connected to or influenced by irrigation schemes. This results in low water levels in many lakes during the non-irrigation period (15 May to 15 August).
Fishing Opportunities and Access Maps
Freshwater Fish in the Basin
- (Large fish): Golden perch, bony bream, Murray cod and Murray spiny crayfish. +freshwater catfish and silver perch
- (Small fish): Australian smelt, *blackfish, flathead galaxias, flathead gudgeon, Murray River rainbow fish, unspecked hardyhead and Murray hardyhead
- **Brown trout, European carp, goldfish, eastern gambusia, redfin, tenchand #oriental weatherloach
Native species in bold are protected in this Basin. Introduced species in bold are declared noxious.
* Blackfish have a low tolerance for salinity and now possibly occur only in Serpentine Creek and the Lower Loddon River.
+ Freshwater catfish were stocked into some waters pre 1980's but are now common only in the Little Murray River and lagoons off Gunbower Creek.
** Brown trout are reported present in the Waranga Western Channel but would not occur elsewhere. High water temperatures in lakes and rivers in the Basin (18-28o C) and low levels of dissolved oxygen make the waters unsuitable for the long-term survival of trout.
# The oriental weatherloach occurs in irrigation channels in the Basin.
Most of the waterways and lakes are connected by channels and irrigation water and migratory fish such as golden perch and silver perch, can move freely throughout the Basin. They are likely to occur anywhere. The Murray spiny crayfish, Euastacus armatus, is present in this Basin, but its occurrence in particular waters has not been given. There have been few recent surveys of waters and most information on fish species present has come from surveys or departmental reports obtained in the 1980's to 1990. Information on fish occurrence up to 2008 has been obtained from DSE and local anglers.
See Introduction for information on management agencies and programs.
Fisheries Victoria, Department of Primary Industries (DPI)
- manages stocking, fisheries policy, compliance with fisheries regulations and angler contact
- Fisheries Management Plan (FMP) (a recent project that provides recreational anglers, government agencies and other stakeholders with clear guidance on fisheries management issues with a regional area over a five year period).
Fisheries Victoria will develop a FMP for waters with this Basin in the future.
- Stocking Program (stocking plans for desirable species are based on an approved Fisheries Victoria stocking policy and are reviewed annually via Vic Fish Stock). Golden perch and/or Murray cod are stocked in Boga Lake, Charm Lake, Gunbower Creek, Kangaroo Lake, Kow Swamp, Little Boort Lake, Little Lake Meran, Little Murray River, Loddon River, Meering Lake, Pyramid Creek, Serpentine Creek and Reedy Lake.
Up to date information on numbers and size of each species stocked can be found under Fish Stocking in the Fisheries and Aquaculture section of the DPI website or in the annual Vic Fish Stock Report published by DPI.
- Family Fishing Lakes Program (an ongoing project of stocking small waters within urban areas with larger trout, for junior and disabled anglers, see Introduction). There are none in this Basin.
Victorian Stream Classification (a project that was completed in November 2010, which classifies each water as a native, salmonid or mixed fishery). Classifications relevant to this basin are:
- Native - all waters.
North Central Catchment Management Authority
- is responsible for catchment management and the Victorian River Health Program.
- Victorian River Health Program (an on-going state government initiative to achieve healthy rivers, streams and floodplains). Flow in Gunbower Creek has been increased to flood areas of the Gunbower Forest more frequently, to improve wetland habitat.
Goulburn Murray Rural Water
- manages irrigation, domestic and stock, and bulk water supply services, also development of Stream Flow Management plans.
- Stream Flow Management Plans (an ongoing project in which various agencies and water user’s develop a flow sharing arrangement which ensures an adequate environmental flow allocation for each river in Victoria). None developed in this Basin. However a SFMP is being prepared for the Upper Loddon which will affect flows downstream in this section of the Basin.
Lower Murray Water
- manages urban demand in the northern area along the Murray including Swan Hill and Kerang.
- manages urban water diversion in the remainder of the Basin.
Best Fishing Waters
Murray cod, golden perch, redfin
(wetlands of international significance, Convention on Wetlands. Ramsar. Iran.1971)
Within this Basin, Lake Tutchewop, Lake William, Lake Cullen, Lake Kelly, Little Lake Kelly, Kangaroo Lake, Lake Charm, Reedy Lake, Middle Lake, Third Lake, Johnson Swamp, Hird Swamp, Stevensen Swamp, Fosters Swamp, Racecourse Lake, Cemetery Swamp, Town Swamp and Back Swamp (forming part of the Kerang Wetlands); and Gunbower Island State Forest, and Gunbower Creek from the township of Gunbower north to Koondrook township (forming part of Gunbower Forest) have been listed as Ramsar Sites.
Seven species in this Basin (Murray cod, silver perch, freshwater catfish, Murray hardyhead, unspecked hardyhead, Murray River rainbowfish and Murray spiny crayfish are threatened species in Victoria. The list of Victorian threatened species, with their national conservation value, scientific names and explanation of their conservation status category, is available on the DSE web site (Department of Sustainability and Environment [DSE] Dec 2007
Species in bold type and the Lowland Riverine Fish Community of the Southern Murray-Darling Basin are also listed under the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988. ) and cannot be taken or kept without an order, licence or permit. Such an order has been made by the Governor in Council allowing anglers to take Murray cod and Murray spiny crayfish from all waters and silver perch only from lakes or impoundments.