FISHERIES Victoria has announced that the three month closed season for Murray cod will not apply to Lake Eildon in 2016. The closed season aims to provide protection for spawning wild fish, and with research finding that 99.6 per cent of Murray cod in Lake Eildon were stocked fish, the decision was made to remove the closed season. Fisheries Victoria Executive Director, Travis Dowling, said the change would expand freshwater fishing opportunities close to Melbourne and delivered on the State Government’s Target One Million plan to get more people fishing, more often. “Anglers will be permitted to take Murray cod from Lake Eildon during September, October and November this year however the closed season will remain in place in all other Victorian waters,” Dowling said. “If Lake Eildon’s Murray cod are not breeding, it makes no sense to protect them unnecessarily with a closed season, especially when it limits fishing opportunities during springtime. “Lake Eildon’s reputation as a productive Murray cod fishery has grown in recent years thanks mostly to a substantial stocking program funded by anglers through their fishing licence fees. “More than one million Murray cod fingerlings were released into Lake Eildon between 2010 and 2013, complementing an existing population developed from decades of smaller scale releases. Mr Dowling said the removal of the closed season at Lake Eildon was expected to provide new fishing opportunities, increase participation and boost regional tourism in the northeast. The change mirrors a New South Wales decision to remove the Murray cod closed season at Copeton Dam, which has proved popular with anglers and fishing dependent businesses. Other Victorian fishing regulations for Murray cod will remain unchanged including the slot limit introduced in 2014 of 55 to 75cm, the bag limit of 1 Murray cod in rivers and the bag limit of 2 in lakes. The removal of the closed season at Lake Eildon will be trialled for 12 months and monitored via feedback from freshwater anglers.