An idea to open up Cataract Dam to recreational fishing has got one councillor seeing the tourism potential.
The dam, which supplies Macarthur with its drinking water, could see anglers fishing for Australian native bass, Macquarie perch and silver perch, and brown and rainbow trout.
The state government has begun a risk assessment of Cataract and its sister dam Prospect in western Sydney, to determine if they should be opened to recreational fishing.
Wollondilly councillor Simon Landow said it was a “fantastic” idea and a great opportunity to bring more tourists into Wollondilly to explore what the shire has to offer.
“It would be a massive win,” Cr Landow said. “I hope the plan can expand to other dams in the shire such as Warragamba, Cordeaux and Avon.
“People would come from far and wide to fish at Cataract.
“It would be extremely popular.
“The council wants to promote Wollondilly as a tourism destination and this could be the start.
“There would be a flow on affect because bait and tackle shops would need to be opened as well as accommodation places.”
A working group has been established including representatives from the Department of Primary Industries’ fisheries and water sectors and a member of the Recreational Fishing NSW Advisory Council.
The risk assessment would consider the threats and ways to mitigate the risks of allowing recreational fishing in water supply dams.
Mr Landow said he was not concerned that people would “trash” or damage the dam and surrounds if it was opened to the public because more “eyes would be there to make sure people are doing the right thing”.
He also wants to ensure the proposal does not infringe on sensitive or sacred Indigenous sites.
Mr Landow said he would like to see the dam open to sailing boats, canoes and kayaks but did not want speed boats on the water.
Gabe’s Boating and Fishing owner Ray Stares is a keen angler and said the idea would be “great” for the community and an “exciting activity” but wanted more information before he fully supported the proposal.
“If sail, electric and paddle boats were allowed then I can’t see any harm to the water,” he said. “But power boats would need to be kept out.”
Cr Landow said he also wanted to see walking tracks opened.
He said he would pursue the idea at council once other stakeholders, such as Blacktown Council, were consulted.