Mainland Australia and New Zealand’s brown trout fisheries all began from English stock hatched in Tasmania in 1864 creating Tasmania’s reputation as Australia’s best trout fishery. From this story a mystique was created which remains to this day. It is sometimes a discouragement for every day anglers who think that our trout are only able to be caught by the “experts”.
Well, we’re pleased to say this is not so and whilst there are numerous good information sources some questions still remain for those who just want to snag a Tasmanian fish. Don’t forget we are not just about trout but our sea fishery is also amongst the best.
So, here are a few items which always seem a mystery to those just wanting a fishing experience in our accessible and scenic waters.
TROUT by their very sporting nature are not easy to catch but not impossible either. Your first port of call is to a good local fishing store and the purchase of a fresh water license. Here you can also get the latest news on conditions, where to go and what you’ll need to catch them. A booklet that goes with your new license will tell where you can or cannot fish.
ACCESS is easy throughout and there are very few places where special regulations apply. These tackle shops will also have a range of access brochures (also downloadable www.is.tas.gov.au) which will show you points where you can get into many of our best waters and give you other basic information. We’re a friendly lot here in Tasmania and a polite approach to land owners to cross their property will rarely be refused. Please, do ask as intrusions may not be favourably received. Pretty well every lake is available for all comers.
FISHING METHODS are up to you but there are some waters where restrictions apply so check your license hand book and access brochures. Tasmania is known as a fly fishing paradise but all types of lures and even bait can be used although there are more restrictions on this method as we value our fish and it is difficult to release bait caught fish. It’s worth remembering take only what you can use and release the others!
GEAR can be what you have and need not be the latest or of the highest quality; that old spinning rod (6-7 feet long) in the back of the shed that has not seen the light of day for “yonks” will do with perhaps an update of the line attached and an oiling of the reel. Same applies to fly gear 8’6” or 9 foot rod and floating line which was used many years ago and that you’d been wishing to revisit. We say feet and inches as for some reason anglers still use this expression and indeed talk about fish in pounds rather than kilos. Ancient art and heritage this Tasmanian fishing! There are very few places where you can hire gear although some accommodation houses will lend this but otherwise beg borrow or steal if you have none of your own. Full length waders are a distinct advantage.
WHERE should I fish? The local tackle store is invaluable and this advice together with the printed access brochures should tell you all you need to know as you travel the state. Pretty well every patch of water will hold trout whether it be lakes, rivers or streams.
INFORMATION apart from tackle stores can be found at www.discovertasmania.com as well as the Tasmanian Trout Guides site and there are a number of other good fishing sites such as www.tasfish.com and www.sportfishtasmania.com
WHAT FISH can you catch other than trout? Our salt water game fish are the Southern Black Bream and the Australian Salmon both which will put a significant bend in your rod. Bream are in virtually every estuary and the average Tasmanian Bream makes the Mainland versions rather small. Salmon are available throughout all our waters including in the surf of Tasmania’s spectacular beaches.
So resist the temptation to think that Tasmania’s fishery is too tough because of its mystique and history. You don’t need expensive gear or a boat to have a rewarding and exciting experience.
LASTLY, don’t forget the friendly locals and their offerings while you’re out there or journeying back from your angling. One easy trip from Hobart is the Tyenna and Styx Rivers. This is a round trip of 120 kilometres, an easy day trip from Hobart as your base. En route is the town of New Norfolk which has many quaint antiques and bric-a-brac stores, including Australia’s oldest continuously licensed hotel “The Bush Inn”. Salmon Ponds at Plenty is the origin of all Australia’s and New Zealand Brown trout, and be sure to visit the lovely ladies of the Possum Shed at Westerway with their equally lovely cakes and Tasmania’s largest berry farm with farm gate sales in season also located at Westerway.
Accommodation in Hobart
If choosing to stay in central highlands check out Tarraleah
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