First sighting of rare fish in Warrego River in decades
It has been decades since catfish have been caught in the Warrego River, but news of the mysterious return of the rare fish in the river system near Charleville has hooked anglers.
Michael White’s son snagged the 45cm female at Gowrie Crossing on January 6, and could be the first catfish anyone has caught in the river for years.
It was so big that the boy thought it was a shark to start off with.
“It was a big surprise to see it,” Mr White said.
“That’s a good catfish.”
But it wasn’t only the one catfish they caught, but also 15 smaller ones averaging 35-40cm.
According to Mr White, they all died off many years ago but the recent rain could have washed them downstream where they can now be found.
He said there were plenty of eggs inside the big female and knew there would have to be a big male out there somewhere.
“If people do catch big females with eggs in them, throw them back in so we can keep them,” Mr White suggested.
Charleville Fishing and Restocking Club founder Judey ‘Rude Jude’ Aiken said she hasn’t caught a catfish in the Warrego River for 25 to 30 years and was so excited to hear of Mr White’s find.
“They are my favourite eating fish,” Rude Jude said.
“I don’t know how many there are but gee, I got excited when I saw all the photos and that.”
She said they haven’t been able to do restocking for catfish and doesn’t know why they’ve come back.
According to Rude Jude, the bottom feeding carp are the main reason catfish have all but disappeared as they eat the fingerlings.
She hopes to see many more catfish in the Warrego River as time goes on.
“It’s so good to see those catfish. Yum yum, I love it.”