Located right on Mildura’s doorstep and bordering a wide stretch of the Murray, Kings Billabong is an ox-bow lake running along the Wildlife Reserve.
The billabong is surrounded by state forest and orchards and is home to wetlands of international significance.
The proximity of Kings Billabong to Mildura’s township makes it an invaluable asset to local residents. The community uses this billabong to fish, bushwalk, and bird watching. Many species of waterbirds also live on the billabong.
Kings Billabong has a mud bottom and is best known for the good runs of golden and silver perch.
Murray Cod have been re-stocked in the billabong, so stay tuned in the coming years to get one of these beauties at the end of your line.
Freshwater Catfish can be found in this billabong. This species is listed as endangered in Victoria.
To assess the state of fish habitat in Kings Billabong, OzFish volunteers conducted a habitat mapping project for the Mallee Catchment Management Authority. The mapping was undertaken from canoes, fitted with Humminbird® Side Imaging® Sonars. Volunteers mapped and assessed the complexity of the existing habitat structures.
Pictured below is an overview of how the structure of snags is graded. The results showed that there were fewer numbers of more complex graded structures compared to simple graded structures in Kings Billabong.
Two different types of woody debris were used to re-snag Kings Billabong: Mallee and River Red Gum.
The collection of the woody debris was undertaken by the Sunraysia OzFish volunteers and local recreational anglers, the larger woody debris were collected by machinery.
OzFish volunteers determined the appropriate site to install the large woody debris after reviewing past literature, reviewing habitat mapping and consulting with the community and relevant agencies. OzFish Unlimited employees then worked alongside Parks Victoria, Mildura Rural City Council and Mallee CMA to gain the required approvals to undertake the re-snagging project.
Previous studies suggest that woody habitat should be positioned in clusters that are relatively close to the riverbank. From previous studies and extensive engagement, the woody debris was placed into the waterbody via large machinery, in clusters, between one to five meters from the bank and in various water depths to ensure all native fish species benefit from the project. The woody debris are also near the recently installed fishing platforms.
OzFish Sunraysia Chapter undertook a habitat restoration program within Kings Billabong in 2020 through support from the Angler Riparian Partnership Program. The project got members out on their canoes to review the willow invasion and planted 250 native trees and shrubs across Kings Billabong.
The native trees selected ensured they’d improve water quality and provide habitat for a range of animals and native fish.
By engaging the public, we hope that members of the community can learn the benefits of river restoration and support the benefits of improving fish habitat.
As part of the project, OzFish Sunraysia set out on a community campaign to encourage recreation anglers and the wider community to become involved in their local environment and to help promote awareness of sustainable fishing practices, citizen science and the benefits of re-snagging.
The community engagement techniques included a series of fishing events that were hugely successful. The community has been full of positive feedback for the work of the Sunraysia Chapter. Whenever the team is out they often have the bushwalkers and birdwatchers swing by and congratulate them on the good work they are doing.