Growing up in the Australian Capital Territory, my passion for fishing began with dropping a line in the rivers, streams and lakes of the Snowy Mountains for brown and rainbow trout. To this day, they hold a special place in my heart. When the opportunity came up to visit the Gaden Trout Hatchery in Jindabyne and go on one of the guided tours, I jumped at the chance.
Gaden Trout Hatchery is situated a few of kilometres outside Jindabyne in the Snowy Mountains off Kosciuszko Road. It’s well signposted; just head towards Perisher and then take the Gaden Road turnoff. The Visitor’s Centre has plenty of parking and is open daily from 10am-4pm (closed Anzac, Christmas and Boxing days). Guided tours are available at 10am and 2pm. A small fee applies and the tour is very family friendly.
The tour I went on had a real cross section of age groups from young children and their parents to old blokes like me taking the opportunity to reminisce about many hours on the water hoping to catch fish like the ones you see in the hatchery ponds.
We watched a 10-minute video that explained the origins of the hatchery, information on the species that are reared there and the partnership between anglers and NSW Fisheries that has seen the hatchery supply stocked fish for the Snowy Mountains region for over 50 years. A tour of the facility followed this and we were taken around the brood stock ponds, the fish rearing tanks and ponds that hold fish in their various stages of growth, being readied to stock into the local waterways.
The tour finishes with feeding some wild fish in the Thredbo River. These fish have taken up station knowing that a feed of pellets will come their way at least a couple of times a day. What they also do is show that there are some trophy fish in the river and Lake Jindabyne, which the river flows into. The area adjacent to the hatchery is out of bounds to anglers. All up, the tour takes about 45 minutes and it had this angler fired up to get out there and have a fish.
The Visitors Centre is not the only attraction. There is a large picnic area that runs along the Thredbo River that has a number of BBQ areas and shaded shelters. The area is picturesque and the added bonus is that you can go fish spotting in the runs and pools of the river. There are also toilet facilities.
Thank you to the team at the hatchery for letting me join in and have a look around, I enjoyed every minute of it.
Gaden Hatchery fishy facts
• With its sister hatchery Dutton Trout Hatchery in Ebor, the two hatcheries provide the majority of trout fingerlings for stocking in NSW.
• Only brood stock of Atlantic salmon and brook trout are held in the hatchery to strip eggs and milt from.
• Brown and rainbow trout are captured from the Thredbo River to provide milt and eggs. In recent years a small amount of rainbow trout have also been kept to sublimate a reduction in wild fish.
• The entire facility is gravity fed with water from the Thredbo River. The water is carefully monitored for temperature and quality throughout the process.
• The facility is run with funds received through fishing licences sold in NSW.
• Other than the tours, the hatchery also does kids fishing days. Details can be found at www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/fisheries/info/gaden or you can contact the hatchery on (02) 6451 3400.Reads: 1974