"More than 10,000 licences are normally issued every year for the season, which runs from today until the end of June next year," Mr Francis said.
"Freshwater fishing attracts lots of family groups, especially during school holidays, and with a licence no longer required for under 16s, we hope more people will be encouraged to get out and enjoy the activity.
"For those over 16, the licence fee is $40 per year, or $20 where concessions apply. The fees are used to contribute to the costs associated with stocking trout in South-West rivers, streams and dams.
"Every dollar of recreational fishing licence revenue is invested into projects that benefit recreational fishing, management, compliance and research."
The Minister said keen freshwater anglers targeted rainbow and brown trout, which were stocked by the Department of Fisheries, however he also encouraged fishers to catch redfin perch, which was a pest species.
"Redfin perch, which is also a tasty eating fish, is a predator of marron and the protected native finfish species, so fishers should not return them. or other pest species, to the water if they are caught," he said.
Mr Francis said Harvey Dam was one of the major trout stocking locations for the department's ongoing program, in which the Pemberton hatchery produced about half a million trout each year to enhance freshwater fishing spots in the South-West.
Other popular freshwater fishing locations are Big Brook, Glen Mervyn and Logue Brook dams and the Blackwood, Donnelly and Warren rivers, and the streams and tributaries flowing into these locations.
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