Strahan and Macquarie Harbour
Best time to fish; October to March
Getting there; 4 hours from Launceston or Hobart.
Major angling species; Atlantic salmon, rainbow trout, Australian salmon, shark, flounder, striped trumpeter, morwong.
Other attractions; Strahan is the base for many tourist activities.
Warnings;Tasmania's west coast has some of the wildest seas in Australia. Each year commercial fishermen are lost to huge seas that can appear from nowhere. Take extreme care, especially when fishing the ocean.
Great fishing, variety and spectacular scenery is what await anglers venturing to Tasmania's wild west coast.
Strahan, the perfect base for the area, is located on Macquarie Harbour, Australia's second largest harbour after Port Phillip Bay and covers an area of approximately 260 square kilometres. The west coast region is a major tourist destination and the entire area is a fisherman's haven, having the waters of the harbour to fish along with the coastline and a number of readily accessible rivers within ten minutes of Strahan.
Macquarie Harbour is accessible to most types of angler, the most practical though is by boat. This allows easy movement throughout the harbour and some of its hot spots. One of the most sought after fish in the harbour are the many large rainbow trout and Atlantic salmon. These fish are a combination of escapees from the local fish farms as well as a healthy local population. Casting lures from the many headlands jutting out into the harbour using sliced and minnow style lures often results in tremendous sport.
When fish of up to 9 kilograms have been caught within sight of the Strahan township it certainly encourages the locals and visitors alike to pick up their rods. Popular methods include bait, spin and fly fishing. On the still warmer evenings fly fishing offers good sport casting from the boat toward the shore. Trout sometimes rise throughout a number of bays and it is possible to choose one of a number of fish to cast to. Sea-run trout are also common from the beach at Macquarie Heads - particularly between October and November.
During the warmer summer months, the harbour experiences an influx of green water as the harbour level drops. This influx generally attracts schools of Australian Salmon, which can be captured on the edges of this green water and the usual brown water of the harbour.
The favoured options here are trolling (the most rewarding), spin fishing or bait fishing. A popular spot for the Australian salmon is just inside the heads at Hells Gates. From this position you can cast out to the channel that leads out to a long sandbar. There is a camping ground here right near the beach.
The harbour at Strahan offers visitors with their own boats a number of launching sites that will cater for all sized trailerable boats. Within Strahan there are two concrete launching ramps, one at Mill Bay and the other at Letts Bay. Macquarie Heads also offers two gravel ramps with quick access to the fishing spots. The variety of species caught within the Harbour include; Atlantic Salmon, trout, Australian salmon, flathead, flounder, small trumpeter, trevally, couta, morwong, cod and mullet.
Ocean Beach, six kilometres due west of Strahan, offers some great beach fishing that is comparable to anywhere, (when the rugged seas permit). This beach is claimed to be Tasmania's longest with 34 kilometres of unbroken beach. The main fishing from here is Australian Salmon, sharks and skate. One excellent spot here is at the mouth of the Henty River.
Anyone wishing to drive along Ocean Beach to access its fishing spots should be very wary of the quick sand, common throughout this area. It is suggested to obtain local advice before the trip.
Outside the Heads
If you have the right boat and good weather it can be worth your while to venture just beyond the heads to Cape Sorell or Pilot Bay where fishing can be excellent. In this area trolling or bait fishing with light gear can yield good results for a number of species. The main fish caught immediately outside the heads are; trevally, couta and striped trumpeter.
Not only has Strahan got its variety of fishing on offer but makes for an excellent family holiday destination. Tours on offer include the river cruises to the Gordon River, jet boat rides up the King River, trail rides, sea plane tours to a variety of areas, helicopter joy flights and four wheel drive and fishing tours.