Skip to Content

Learning about Native Fish with Kym Manning

Deep in the Murray River channel between Kingston and Moorook in South Australia’s Riverland, lies a fish hotel that weighs a whopping 10 tonnes, understood to be the biggest man-made structure found in the basin.

“I assembled it in my front yard,” Murray River Trails guide and fishing enthusiast, Kym Manning, explains. “It was picked up by a 100-tonne crane so that it could be placed deep enough in the river to ensure it wouldn’t disrupt any boats.”

Kym's Fish HotelKym's Fish Hotel. Image: Murray River Trails

The enormous wood and iron structure is one of nearly 100 fish hotels that Kym has built and helped position in the Murray-Darling Basin including Lake Bonney – a freshwater lake fed by the Murray River – over the years, thanks to various fundraising efforts that have helped the concept catapult. “The hotels are structures made from River Red Gum and they’re designed to shelter native fish, such as Murray Cod, Golden Perch and Silver Perch.

Watch - Meet Kym, Our Guide: Murray River Walk, South Australia

We hope that this helps facilitate the growth of their populations,” Kym explains. “I also run the SA Carp Frenzy fishing competition targeting the pest species, European Carp, drawing over 1,450 fishermen to our small town this year.  We have removed almost 70,000 carp and raised $180,000 from the proceeds, with 100 percent of the raised funds donated back to community projects.

Kym with Murray CodKym with a Golden Perch. Image: Murray River Trails

Through his guiding work with Murray River Trails, Kym is able to educate guests about the Murray River and the multitude of aspects that all play a role in the river’s health. “What I like to do is pull up a root ball from the river, and from there we start a discussion about fish habitat and the destruction of the environment.

Watch - Murray River Trails: Our Story

I tell guests about how the paddle steamers pulled three million root balls out of the basin since they started trading along the river in the 1850s. And, I rationalise that if three million trees were chopped down, it wouldn’t go unnoticed,” Kym explains. “It’s about increasing awareness of how important underwater habitat is, and reminding people that it’s not just about what you see above the water line.”

Related Experience - Murray River Walk

Immerse yourself in four easy days of hiking along Australia's greatest river. Exploring this river oasis that brings life to the outback, friendly guides will share the region's incredible birdlife, marsupials and reptiles.

View tour

Post categories

Q&A With Guides