RECREATIONAL fishers have another reason to get back to Gippsland with the state government tagging several black bream fish worth $5000 each for the annual Twin Rivers Bream Classic.

The event will be held at the Gippsland Lakes and Tambo, Nicholson and Mitchell Rivers, on July 17 and 18.

Victorian Fisheries Authority (VFA) will work with competition organisers to tag three black breams, with the first two caught during the weekend competition earning their captors a $5000 prize.

The tagged bream will be within the new slot limit of 28-38cm which came into effect in the Gippsland Lakes and feeder rivers in April this year.

The new slot limit provides added protection for larger bream in the system. Large black bream are more prolific breeders, produce more eggs and contribute more to future generations.

The Twin Rivers Bream Classic is in its 24th year and has also changed to a catch and release only competition without live weigh-ins this year, aligning with the VFA’s Gippsland Lakes Recreational Fishery Plan that aims to return the region to the fishing mecca it once was.

The new slot limit, improvements to fish habitat and removing commercial netting are all steps to improving recreational fishing in the Gippsland Lakes and boosting regional tourism for small businesses like pubs, bakeries, motels and caravan parks.

If fishers can’t make it to the Twin Rivers Bream Classic this year, they will still have plenty of chances to catch a winning fish because the Gippsland Lakes and tributaries remain home to 150 uncaught Golden Tag fish, including one worth $10,000.