by Sarah Graham
Many anglers are preparing for the opening of the new angling season on Saturday 7 August and it's shaping up to be another good one with the fishery in excellent health as a result of last year’s drought breaking rains. There are many great fishing locations around the State from which to choose for the opening weekend and early season fishing but here are a few suggestions.
A number of waters around the state are still open. Refer to the Tasmanian Inland Fishing Code 2022-23 or go to the Infish app 2.0 to see where you can fish through winter.
The wild brown trout spawning run is underway and you will be able to see them at Trout Weekend on 20-21 May at the Liawenee Field Station.
After having my weekly dose of injections this morning I decided to have a mid afternoon spin session in one of my favourite tannin waters. The conditions were quite good with mainly overcast conditions and a light South Easterly breeze. By the time I got myself organised and headed off, it was 2:20 pm by the time I hit the water. Seeing as I was using the same set up as my last trip I left it at that, no lure change was made, I stuck with the Mepps #00 March Brown Bug spinner.
The big fish keep coming at Lake Crescent with good catches of trophy sized brown trout. Clearly, this is the best season that the lake has had since European carp were eradicated in 2009.
Better catch rates this season are in part due to better water quality in the lake. The Inland Fisheries Service has been tracking water quality (turbidity) in both lakes Crescent and Sorell since 2006 and the latest sampling results show the lowest turbidity readings in both lakes for the last 25 years. The latest testing revealed clarity down to a depth of 60 - 65 centimetres.
With high lake levels it is expected that this trend will continue. This all bodes well for the remainder of the current trout season, the 2023/24 season and beyond. Anglers are reminded that the bag limit for Lake Crescent is 2 fish combined with only 1 fish over 500mm. For more information go to the Lake Crescent Fact Sheet.
Sand flathead are Tasmania's favourite recreational fish, but stocks are in trouble. Action is urgently needed to improve the future of the fishery.
NRE Tas Fisheries is working with fishers, researchers and the community to address this decline in stock levels, identified in a new report from the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS).
Around 1.6 million sand flathead are caught by recreational fishers per year in Tasmania. In fact, 70 per cent of all recreational fish taken are sand flathead, placing a huge amount of pressure on one species.
I was in two minds whether or not to go fishing this morning because I was still recovering from a long eight hour spin session one day ago. In the end, I thought why not go because I only require five more trout to reach my two hundredth for this season and with the weather being fine I headed off to the Dasher River. It was 8:45 am by the time I hopped in the river and even then there was a light Easterly breeze blowing straight up the river. The river itself wasn't running all that high today, it had dropped to a nice wading height and was also a light tea colour, just right for chasing trout. I started the session using a Mepps #00 White Miller Bug inline spinner for the first five minutes without a sign of a trout so I changed over to a #0 Aglia fluo brown spinner and it didn't take all that long before a small brown fell to it. The next cast was straight back into the same stretch of water and that's when I picked up the second trout of the morning, another small aggressive brown was landed.
Even though I was a little stiff and sore from the short spin session yesterday, as the morning went on the better I felt so a late start was had in a small tannin stream. In what was pretty good weather it was 11:50am when I finally hopped in the stream, the water level was good and the water itself was a nice medium tannin colour, just ideal for trout fishing. I started the spin session off with the same trout gear as I used yesterday which was the Okuma Celilo Finesse ULS 1-3kg trout rod, Okuma ITX-1000 spinning reel & the Mepps #0 March Brown Bug inline spinner and of course the reel was spooled with the ever reliable ultra strong Platypus Pulse 4lb Mono line. The first few casts and retrieves, not a lot happened until I lobbed the spinner close to the right hand river bank, on the retrieve a dark object appeared behind the lure and followed it for a short distance before it turned and moved off not to be seen again.
The weather here in Sheffield today was great, it was sunny with a temperature of fifteen degrees so I headed off for a mid afternoon spin session in the upper reaches of the Mersey River. With the majority of rivers that I fish still running high the upper Mersey was the go to place to fish. The long stretch of river I headed to required a long forty minute walk, it once was very good trout water until the 2016 floods wiped the river clean of fish in this area. It's been five years since I last fished this area, so today I'm hoping the long walk to the river will be rewarding by catching & releasing a few wild brown trout, and I'm not fussed about their size either. I arrived at my entry point a little worse for wear after the long walk and it took me a few minutes to settle down before I hopped in the river at 2:20 pm, the lure of choice to start with was a Mepps #1 Aglia Fluo micro-pigment rainbow inline spinner. The river height was still on the high side and pushing quite hard on the legs, with the rocky river bottom being slippery and tough on the body, I knew it wasn't going to be an easy time spent in the river.
Seeing as it's been a few days since my last fishing session and with the weather being more settled for the next day or so I headed back to one the tannin streams again, mainly because the larger rivers were still running on the high side. One thing I was sure of was that the small stream I headed to would be at a nice wading height, the only problem would be the amount of trees that would be across the stream. A few weeks ago we had a massive storm in the area which brought down thousands of large trees in several areas across the state. A few of my favourite streams just happened to be in one of those areas that was severely hit by the 165kph winds. Anyway, by the time I parked the car and made my way to the river it was nearly mid-day by the time I hit the water.
with his $2000
On Monday 29 August, Scottsdale resident, Darryl Saunders' wife told him to go fishing. Darryl didn't need to be told twice, despite the threat of rain, it was a perfect fishing day in NE Tasmania.
Darryl drove to Derby and wheeled his Hobie kayak, on a home made trolly using wheel chair wheels, along the gravel track into Briseis Mine Hole. Darryl has been haunting this popular fishing spot for the last twelve months trying to catch a winning tagged fish released as part of the Tasmanian Tagged Trout Promotion.
Launching at 8am Darryl quickly caught and released 4 rainbow trout and lost a couple more on an old green and gold Ashley lure from the bottom of his tackle box. Around 9am he hooked another fish. He saw that it was a brown trout with a tag below the dorsal fin. He lifted the fish from the water in the landing net and realised that he had caught a winning trout.
Darryl rang his wife to give her the good news.
He will use the prize money to buy a cover for his kayak, some will go to his wife (smart thinking) and any remaining will be used on vehicle fuel for future adventures. Darryl's wife is sure to send him fishing more often!
There are still lots of fish to be caught in the Tasmanian Tagged Trout Promotion.
After having an eleven day break from trout fishing due to bright sunny days, clear water and mainly easterly winds today was the day to go and chase the trout. Why, because it was a cool foggy morning and there was a nice cloud cover, a perfect morning to go trout fishing in the Meander River. The maximum temperature forecast for the day was twenty seven degrees which meant the sun was going to burn the cloud off and that's when it would start to warm up. As much as I wanted an early start I wasn't in the river until 7:30 am mainly due to a change of area I decided to fish, which resulted in a twenty minute walk to my entry point. The reason I made the change was because I knew once the cloud dispersed I would still have shade along one side of the river and I would probably be ready to call it a day as well, that was the plan anyway. I started the spin session off using a well used Mepps #0 March Brown Bug spinner and it wasn't all that long before I hooked and lost the first fish of the day, thankfully it was only a small brown trout.
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Recently Atlantic salmon seems to be a very hot topic amongst local anglers, especially those in the south of the state in the D'Entrecasteaux area. Northern anglers should take a close look at the Tamar as there are opportunities here as well.
The recent "great escape" has provided a perfect opportunity for fresh and saltwater anglers alike to experience some truly memorable sport. Tasmania's pristine, clean and cool waters are the perfect nursery for the Atlantic Salmon and as our local fish farms produce more and more fresh quality seafood it is a fact that there are going to be tangible consequences.