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My last fish of the year…

The plan was to head to the mid stretches of the Thredbo River in the Snowy Mountains to try and fool some foot-long brown trout into eating a dry fly. But after a short walk to my favourite stretch of water the rain had set in making it almost impossible to spot my fly. A change in tactics was needed, so I tied on a heavy double nymph rig and attached a subtle indicator to fish some deeper runs.

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Thinking about sand and the fish (and researchers) that call it home

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Why would you study pretty fish on coral reefs if you could be trying to find grumpy weirdos like this Painted frogfish (Antennarius pictus)

Maarten De Brauwer is a marine biologist, dive instructor, biology teacher, PhD-candidate at Curtin University in Perth (Western Australia) and studies fish on soft sediments is lucky enough to work on sandy habitats  ;). He also does a really nice job on the science communication front over at Critter Research!  Below is his guest blog with some recent musings…

Thinking about sand and the fish (and researchers) that call it home

When I was asked to write a guest blog I first considered writing about fluorescent frogfish or about how weird fish that live on the sand can send children to school in developing countries. While I might do that another time, instead I decided to start a guest blog for Fish Thinkers by thinking about fish. Maybe because thinking about fish is what I am currently paid to do, though the fact that I’ve gone through 3 gin tonics and a fair amount of wine on a long-haul flight might play a role too. Continue reading

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Dry fly fishing the Snowy Mountains

Warm afternoons, insects hatching and brown trout looking to the surface for a feed – A couple of weekends ago my old man and I had a great weekend fly fishing the Snowy Mountains region. After mid-week snow and rain the creeks were running well and the trout eager for well-presented dry flies. Below are a handful of images from the trip…

By Matt Rees
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Fish on marine sand: homebodies or adventurers?

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Word cloud based on the publication text  

A large part of my PhD involves working with researchers from NSW DPI and UOW to try and understand the movement patterns of fishes found on marine sands. And our recent paper (open access and free to read here) on blue-spotted flathead is the first piece of the movement puzzle Continue reading

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Local communities improving fish habitat

A few weeks ago, we helped Conservation Volunteers Australia and the William Beach Bush Care group to improve fish habitat along the shores of Mullet Creek, Lake Illawarra.

It was a fantastic day with a lot of trees planted and rubbish removed from the riparian zone. This work will hopefully enhance the local fishery by improving water quality and increasing habitat structure that fish need throughout various stages of their life.

One of the best aspects of the day however, was interacting with community members who are passionate about habitat restoration and fishing. It was great to meet and chat  fishing with members from the Illawarra Fly Fishers Club. Another drawcard of the event was fly fishing legend Juan Luis Del Carmen from the Advanced Fly Fishing School Sydney, who gave some of us a much needed fly casting lesson (me)!

Watch all the action that unfolded on the day above in a great video produced by our friend James Lidsey from North Head Media. Massive thanks to Adam Woods from CVA for organising the event and having us. Keep an eye out for more events like these in the future!

The project was assisted by NSW DPI Rec fishing trusts “Habitat Action Grants”.

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If you ever need a fly casting lesson Juan is the person to see!!

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Lac cleaning up litter along the bank of Mullet Creek.

Baby sharks head for home…

Who says sharks aren’t cute?  Watch this video and tell me otherwise!  And worth a quick blog post surely?

I recently spent a few days running a shark tracking workshop @tarongazoo projectshark in Jervis Bay with @400knots & @kye.adams.  There were various other workshops running too – Including Matts on marinedebris and another on Port Jackson shark ecology and behaviour by Sherrie and Cat from Maquarie Uni together with Sue from crest diving.

After the event I got a chance to race off and film these little sharks getting released back into the wild by Conner who had just arrived from Macquarie Uni Fish Lab.  Research from the lab has shown that when these PJs are adults they will migrate to Tasmania and back again each year! And often return to exactly the same crevice to breed each time!!

If you want to learn more about all the various Port Jackson shark research underway then head over to the Behaviour, Ecology and Evolution of Fishes Laboratory page.