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West Coast sea trout

by Greg French

Sea trout are simply brown trout which spend time in the ocean. In spring they follow huge schools of whitebait into the estuaries and lower freshwater reaches of most of the state's rivers and creeks. Some of the best action is conveniently close to Tasmania's major population centres. Hobart has the mighty Derwent as well as the southern rivers (including the Huon, Lune and Esperance). Launceston anglers have the Tamar, North Esk and Great Forester. While on the north west coast there are a number of superb fisheries, including the Mersey, Leven, Forth, Black, Detention, Inglis and Duck.

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When you have finished for the day, why not have a brag about the ones that didn't get away! Send Mike an article on your fishing (Click here for contact details), and we'll get it published here. Have fun fishing - tasfish.com

North West Trout

Daniel Paull
Introduction:
I have fished for trout along the north west coast with the old man for many years now and  have only just started to get some results of my own from fishing from some of my favourite rivers and dams. My most productive place to fish has been the Cam River and the Pet Dam, both being close to my home town, Burnie. Fishing from about 6 in the morning till 5 in the evening I usually get a result or get my behind kicked by a friend or a  concentrating father!


Cam River:
The Cam is a good place to start fishing from any point of view, whether it be catching mullet on a peeled prawn or poloroiding big sea run trout with a fly in the shallows. I personally use soft plastics up this river just because of the fact that the fish love them!
I use a 1/16 jighead with either a Squidgie fish in the colour Gary Glitter, or a flick bait Sashimi Shrimp, and the most effective soft plastic I find is a berkley 3 inch pearl Green Olive minnow.
Hard bodies also work down stream near the mouth on big sea run trout but dont work as well up stream in the hard running white water were a the lightly coloured bass minnow whith a lot of wrist action usually does the job.
You must use a lot of wrist and arm movement when using flick baits and minnows because the fish rely on their senses especially in the dirty and deeper parts of the river and the more twitches you put in each cast, the more likely a fish is to sensing the vibrations in the water.
Soaking a worm is also very effective in the Cam and there is many nice cosy areas where you can sit back and relax.
In the Cam the fish are usually at the mouth or right up the top. I find that the further you go upstream the more the fish, not so much the real big ones but more little fish ranging from 1 to 2 pounds. At the mouth I tend to catch larger fish ranging from 2 to 3 pounds and it would not surprise me if there were 4 to 5 pounders in the river system.

Inglis River:
The Ingis is much longer than the Cam and is more harder to find fish as I have noticed from my last couple of trips. The Inglis is loaded with whitebait at the moment and it is critical that you find the feed so you can sneek a cast in where the trout are most likely to be. Fishing the Inglis can be difficult at times but can be great if you manage to get to the faster water upstream. I walk up and down the public exercise track that is located on both sides of the river. I generaly walk until I locate some whitebait in shallow water where trout are hunting. You can often hear the large splashes in the distance from large sea run trout smashing the small schools of whitebait. If you manage to see a trout attack a school of whitebait I would put on a finnese jighead with a 3 inch minnow coloured smelt and cast it were the trout has jumped. This acts like a stunned or dead fish and the trout may come back for a look.
Up the Inglis I use a 1/16 jighead and a Squidgie Sashimi Shrimp or a Gulp Turtleback worm in pumkinseed. I fish very slowly with these two and give a quick twitch and jerk and let them sink with a gentle wriggle of the wrist.
With the Gulp Turtleback worm the trout or a pesky toadfish will take it on the drop so it always to have a constant tightness of the the line so you can feel the fish.
If the toadfish become a major problem with your terminal tackle you may have to swich over to a hard bodie or just fish a little faster.

Emu River:
I started trout fishing in the Emu and somehow, has always been productive.
I generally fish the mouth and at the bottom of the spillway were the water runs fast and it is deep. You can also fish the upper regions of the Emu and it is nice and easy to get to if you fish along the banks at Fern Glade.
It is great fly fishing in the shallows and is even better if you have a pair of waiders, but I perfer the soft plastics. I use a 1/20 jighead upstream and a 1/16 jighead at the spillway and the mouth. For coulor and profile I use a tiny pumkinseed curly tail grub or a berkley olive green or black and gold minnow.
Hard bodies work good in both shallow and deep water up the Emu as long as you tie a uni knot, this makes the luke swim straightly and not off to one side.
The Emu also fishes well with a good old scrub worm or grub. Look for a good deep hole were the water is running just a little so your bait can waft around in the current.
You may also need to use a small sinker as the water can really rip down through some of those corners when it has been raining.
Another warning, try not to catch a platypus because they can do some serious damage if you manage to hook one!

Blythe River:
The Blythe is another favourite and is renowend for big sea run trout. I generally fish the mouth under the bridge on the Bass Highway or on the mud flats on the western side of the river.
You can often see sea runners tailing on the surface close to the shore feeding on whitebait, bugs and insects and it is great to sneak a cast right next to the feeding fish.
For the mouth I use a Squidgie Gary Glitter or Siver Fox and you could also use a Gulp Sandworm in camo or new penny but generally cocky salmon, toadfish and mullet will take them.
When you fish right up the top of the river I use the same as I would fishing upstream in the Cam, Flick Baits and Yep soft plastics.
You need to fish it fast in the upper reaches of the Blythe because of the water that rushes down quiet quickly. The trout upstream often hide in little inlets and rocky structures out of the strong currents so to get down to the fish in the deep you can also use a 1/8 jighead to drag it along the bottom.
It can be difficult landing big trout on light line up the Blythe so it pays to take a landing net with you, I prefer the new fish friendly Enviro Net because the light mesh protects the trouts protective layer of slime and the hook doesn't get tangled up in the mesh.

Pet Dam:
Most people that fish at the Pet Dam will generally use bait or Ashley Spinners, Tassie devils and occasionally a wet or dry fly.
It takes a lot of patience fishing with lures or soft plastics because of the distance you must walk and the snags you have to evade.
I find the best lure is the one which has the most movement, like a spinner or cobra lure. Bibbed lures also work well but get snagged often and are hard to retrieve because of multiple treble hooks which often get lodged deep within the snag.
Small poppers also work on those small rainbows if you manage to find a few schooled up on the shallows.
Soft plastics are great for fishing close to shore or in deep holes, I perfer to use a 1/16 jig head with a white curly tail grub or a green olive Berkley Bass Minnow. Take note on the size of your jighead as the heavier it is the more likely you are to become snagged.
Be mindful that there is not much feed in the Pet so the rainbows that were stocked in December last year will grab at the first chance they get.
If you are just looking for a quiet day out, get some big scrub worms or some Powerbait and soak them in a deep hole.
When I bait fish I will have one line with a worm on it and another with a Powerbait, this way I can determine what the fish like more.

Guide Dam:
The Guide dam is another good place to fish but is hard and difficult to fish from if you don't have waders or gumboots as there is dence scrub and marshes. Never the less there are some cracking fish in the dam, and most of the big ones can be seen tailing early in the morning and late at night. I find that when fishing in the shallows it is best to use an asley spinner or tassie devil and in the deeper water you can use soft plasics.
In the deeper water I use a 1/16 or 1/8 jighead with a green olive Yep soft plastic or a Squidgie neon paddle tail.
In the early days of the season I would also give a Gulp Turtleback worm in pumkinseed or a 3 inch fry in pumkinseed or green pumpkin.
You generally catch browns in the Guide but there is also some good rainbows in there to. I would try the small creek that runs into the dam for the rainbows and I would use 1/20 jighead with a Squidgie killer tomato in paddle tail or curly tail were the water is shallow and there are plenty of snags.

Conclusion:
Overall the North West Coast of Tassie has some great freshwater fishing spots, and most of the mentioned spots are close to Burnie and require little effort to have a great day's fishing without to much expense. The days are getting longer and warmer, so get out there.

Daniel Paull

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