Tassie fly fishers and regular "blow-ins" like myself will remember the 2006-7 Tasmanian trout season for the late season dry fly bonanza that took place on the lowland rivers in the northern midlands. The only thing preventing the fish from rising every day was inclement weather and even then a few fish could usually be picked up by visiting notorious insect hatching "hot spots'.
Some of the hatches were immense and the dry fly fishing was outstanding. Every single fish we caught during March and April was stalked, seen or ambushed. On certain days the fish were working themselves into a feeding frenzy likened to the spectacle of bronze whalers rounding up pilchards in the surf. We couldn't even reel in our fly lines without fish slashing and smashing dry flies as they skidded and waked across the surface. The late season fly fishing in northern Tasmania completely eclipsed the early and mid-season's sport.
Have you heard about the huge numbers of anglers flocking to Devonport from the east and west coasts to head to the impressive and exotic fishing grounds that lie offshore?
No, I haven't either.
This is because sea fishing out of Devonport just cannot compare to Tasmania's more famous locations such as Eaglehawk Neck, Georges Bay or St Helens.
However, this area is on my back doorstep and I've learned to make the most of the fishing and discover the best the area has to offer. I've found that there are more than enough fish species to target for an enjoyable day on the water.
This article looks at the fishing grounds between the Forth River mouth to the west of Devonport and as far east as Point Sorell.
Hi my name is Daniel, I am 15 and I love fishing.. From my first fish to my most recent, fishing is a major part of my life.
When I'm not out in the boat with dad hunting shark or tuna, casting for bream or trout, there is only one place I would want to be, Red Rock.
Red Rock is situated on the North West coast of Tasmania in Burnie. Next to the Bass Highway near the suburb of Cooee it is a great spot for all ages to fish. Techniques play an important role in fishing from Red Rock. My dad, Mason, has taught me everything he knows about rock fishing, I have also picked up a few techniques myself from fishing from Red Rock.
Australian salmon seem to have been tailor made for the recreational angler. They're readily caught using a wide variety of fishing styles and techniques. When hooked, they fight hard and will display gill rattling leaps clear of the water adding to the excitement of catching these great fish. When the word gets out of their arrival in a particular area, anglers will travel long distances to pursue these light tackle fish.
One of the hot spots of Tasmanian fishing, some would say an icon, is Stanley Wharf in the north west when the blue warehou are running. More commonly known as snotty trevally excitement is brewing locally as April and May traditionally is the time when big schools start appearing.
Mark Heran is a key member of the Fishcare Volunteers on the northwest coast. We interviewed Mark on his fishing pedigree and why he enjoys hooking a snotty trevally when they are on the boil.
With the recent spell of easterly winds on the north west coast, sea fishing from the trusty tinnie has been a bit ordinary to say the least.
Needing to get out and have a fish, Duck Bay estuary came to mind. This is still one of the coasts best systems for quality flathead fishing with soft plastics, along with the chance to catch gummy sharks, Australian salmon, King George whiting, couta and tailor and maybe a snapper. Smithton on the far north west coast is situated on the edge of the Duck river and this is where you can find a three lane boat ramp with plenty of good parking close by. When launched it pays to stay in between the channel markers to ensure a safe passage north to the main fishing area on the bay. Be aware though that the channel moves so take great care.
Fishing time and effort is often curtailed by the constraints of work and family and is further impacted with the financial pressure of rising fuel costs and the approaching festive season which in itself can lead to your credit card statement looking like an overloaded hay truck on a back country road!
As spring sets in most creatures have already, or are set to begin a fornicating frenzy and all though my thoughts at times are dominated by similar images, the approaching game season is steadily turning the tide toward thoughts of chasing mako sharks from our local ramps. These mighty adversaries are available in numbers on occasions and in my experience the jumbo triple figure numbers are more prevalent in the early part of the season.
Located in the far north-west of Tasmania is the historical town of Stanley. Stanley is quickly becoming a prize destination for the recreational angler.
The annual snotty trevally run on the townships wharf has, according to some, become the number one attraction in the area for visitor numbers. This wharf fishery attracts hundreds of amateur anglers and is now a major player in the tourists numbers that visit the town and unlike all the other draw cards, this one is free.
In the winter things in our estuaries and coastal areas start to close down but not necessarily shut down. Sometimes I think we shut down a lot more than the fishing does. . I know its cold, but you normally get a lot of still calm days during the winter, which allows small boat owners to access areas they could not fish during the windy months. Some fish species actually get more active as the water temperature drops. Fish such as Garfish, Salmon, Flathead, Gummy Sharks, Couta, Blue warhoe and Sea Trout are all worth targeting throughout the winter months
During the Duck Bay recovery story in the last issue, we questioned the fact of the possibility of catching Snapper. It seems we are seeing an ever-increasing number of species being landed in the area, but snapper were few and far between. Sure, there had been the occasional one caught, but it was uncommon.
Whiting are often plentiful at Port Sorell over the summer months. Vance Murphy explains some techniques that will help catch these delicious fish. Situated half way between the mouth of the Tamar River and Devonport, Port Sorell is idea for family holidays.
North - west coast angling identity Brian Cadle tells how to catch the elusive snotty trevally, trevally or warehou (depending where you are from)
Best shore based areas are Black and Red Rocks at Cooee Point west of Burnie. The Penguin boat ramp is a great location as is Penguin Point just to the west of the ramp. Boat Harbour is good from the beach and the point is also good from the rocks. The Bund Breakwall in front of the Burnie Yacht Club is fast becoming one of the hot spots around Burnie. A lot of salmon are taken during the day and good catches of squid are also caught. Small snapper are also taken here occasionally.
Blackmans Reef off the main Burnie wharf is a terrific hot spot when the salmon are running and if it is too rough here the water on the inside of the main breakwall will give good fishing and protected waters.
Also near Burnie, to the west, is the Cam River at Somerset. This a great place to take the family with grassy banks adjoining the river and a playground to keep them occupied. Mullet are plentiful and there is always a bream or two to be caught.
Wynyard has some fantastic fishing - from Table Cape just west of the town to the Inglis River on which it is situated. Table Cape and Fossil Bluff are especially productive. The Inglis River adjoins Wynyard and fish are caught virtually in the main street. Fishing off the wharf is always productive. At night, salmon are almost guaranteed and it's a lot of fun. Off the mouth, trolling for salmon is virtually a local custom with a sliced piece of plastic tube as the lure. There is some great bream fishing in the Inglis River.
Moving west from Port Sorell you'll find Morelands Beach, which stretches from Port Sorell to Wrights Island - around five kilometres east of the Mersey River at Devonport. Access is from opposite the mill at Wesley Vale and surf fishers often drive along the beach. This is one of the most popular beaches in the area with good gutters. Best fishing for large flathead is October/November. Salmon are caught all year.
Wrights Island is directly off the airport. A boat is needed and good pike and calamari squid are found inside the island, while outside wrasse, leatherjacket and flathead. Good pike are trolled up off the eastern side of the heads, but these are also caught off the shore.
The breakwater on the eastern shore is popular for cocky salmon, snotty trevally, flathead, mullet and couta. Half to three quarter incoming tide is the most productive.
The western breakwater is blocked off to fishing and the next popular area is the Mersey Bluff. Access is good either from the beach or the car park at the top. The best fishing is on the eastern side where salmon, shark, couta, flathead, and pike are taken over sandy broken bottom. On the western side there is reefy bottom and wrasse, leatherjacket and other reef species are found here. Luderick are also found off the bluff, although only a few Tasmanians target these.
Back Beach and Coles Beach are easily accessed between the Bluff and Don heads. A lot of fishing is done from boats around the Don heads for pike, couta and salmon. The heads are also easily accessed from both sides.
Further along is the Forth River. This is a popular areas for large Australian salmon. Local boat fishers claim trolling is only successful when undertaken in an east - west direction. No one seems to know why. Skipping plastic lures or squid imitations across the surface is most successful and trolling fast is essential. Occasionally shore fishers can reach these fish, but the size is usually smaller.
Ulverstone is a lovely town with friendly people and a small estuary that gives easy access to the sea. The area is not as productive as one would think though. The Leven River estuary contains mullet, Australian Salmon and a few trevally, and apart from some good sea-run trout in spring little else. A few couta are also caught around the mouth.
The breakwall on the eastern shore is one of the most popular fishing spots. Fish this on an incoming tide for wrasse, cod, couta and salmon. The western side is not as popular, but a silver wobbler cast into eddying water will often be worth the effort.
There is a good boat ramp and pontoon on the western shore of the Leven River. Beach fishing around Ulverstone is generally not as good as further east around Turners Beach.
All the coastal area from Ulverstone to Rocky Cape is similar in structure, accessibility and species. Most rivers are navigable only at high tide, which is often the best fishing time anyway.
Flathead are readily caught all through this area, gurnard perch are another good catch which are ugly, have poisonous spines, and some claim good eating. Couta are somewhat seasonal, while Australian salmon are caught all year round. Much of this area was, in the past, subject to some unsavoury and dirty industry, but this has all changed. Pollution is now virtually non-existent and the fishing has improved enormously. Regularly sighted off the coast are dolphins, whales, and seals.
If you have access to a boat, occasional snapper and school shark are available off shore. Inshore rock cod, leatherjacket, couta, yellowtail kingfish, squid and salmon are the reward. It is an abundant area that deserves some closer attention as the water quality improves.
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