History of the Gaden Trout Hatchery
“To maintain a high quality facility to support a world class trout fishery, through a partnership between recreational fishers and the government”.
“To continue producing quality trout for recreational fishers. This will help to ensure that a pioneered recreation fishery facility is maintained for future generations”.
Early hatcheries in the Snowy Mountains
The New South Wales Rod Fishers’ Society was involved in the construction of the first hatchery in the Snowy Mountains at the old Kosciusko Hotel on Diggers Creek in 1907. In 1924 that hatchery was dismantled and re-erected
near the site of The Creel guest house. This hatchery became a joint operation of the Society, the Fisheries Department and the NSW Tourist Bureau. It was closed in 1941 because of the war and later the equipment, along with that from the Caldwell Hatchery on the Maclaughlin River, was used to construct the Gaden Trout Hatchery on the Thredbo River at Jindabyne.
There was also a very early hatchery at Cooma, built around 1929 by local enthusiasts of the Cooma Fishermen’s Club. The hatchery equipment and building was moved to the Caldwell Hatchery on the Maclaughlin River in 1939 by members of the recently formed Monaro Acclimatisation Society and much of the same equipment was later used to build the Gaden Trout Hatchery on the Thredbo.
The Gaden Trout Hatchery
After the end of the War, the Monaro Acclimatisation Society reviewed the operation of the Caldwell Hatchery and realised that the water supply at the hatchery site was inadequate.
In May 1948 an inspection of a site on the Thredbo River at Paddys Corner owned by Mr Bill Napthali was carried out by representatives from Fisheries Branch, the Department of Public Works, the Monaro Acclimatisation Society and the Shire Council. Work commenced shortly afterwards - the old Creel Hatchery building was erected on site to provide temporary accommodation for the hatchery supervisor, Mr Reuben Payten, who started work with the assistance of volunteers from the Monaro Acclimatisation Society.
The Caldwell and Tumut Hatcheries ceased operations after the 1950 season and their buildings were dismantled and transported to the new Thredbo Hatchery and re-erected. Much of the equipment from the three older hatcheries was recycled.
The official opening occurred on 31 October 1953, although work was not complete. The new complex was named the Gaden Trout Hatchery after Mr Jim Gaden, one of the pioneers in trout acclimatisation in the area.
By 1956-57 Gaden Trout Hatchery as well as Burraga Hatchery and LP Dutton Hatchery at Ebor were completed but production of ova from brood fish was inadequate - some 500,000 being obtained which was supplemented by about 800,000 ova imported by the acclimatisation societies which were encountering some financial difficulties in meeting costs.
Therefore during 1957-58, discussions started between the acclimatisation societies and the NSW Government about management of the three main hatcheries being passed to the Fisheries Department. On 1 January 1959, on the recommendation of the Trout Advisory Council following a request from the three major acclimatisation societies, Gaden Trout Hatchery, LP Dutton Hatchery and Burraga Hatchery came under the control of the Fisheries Branch, Chief Secretary’s Department with supervisors being appointed to each hatchery. In 1960-61 Burraga Hatchery was closed and its equipment relocated to Gaden.
Over the past 50 years the Gaden Trout Hatchery has been run by a dedicated succession of managers and staff, supported by members of the acclimatisation societies and other fishing clubs. The facilities have been continually improved, indeed in the last couple of years approximately $240,000 of anglers’ fishing licence trust fund money has been poured into the facility to build a new hatching shed.
* Information provided by RFA, CFA & MAS letter to members.