Presented from Issue 109, April 2014
An excerpt from Origins of the Tasmanian Trout JEAN WALKER, Honorary Historian to the Southern Tasmanian Licensed Anglers’ Association produced an accurate and concise account of the fascinating story of the first introduction of trout to Tasmania in 1988.
Tasmania’s Inland Fisheries Service has just republished the booklet to celebrate the sesquicentenary (150 years) since the first tiny trout hatched in the Southern Hemisphere. Here are a few snippets from the booklet Origins of the Tasmanian Trout. Contact IFS on 6261 8050 to find a stockist.
TASMANIA’S early settlers were disappointed by the lack of freshwater angling. The only fish native to the inland waters were Australian grayling, small galaxias and in some rivers blackfish. None offered anglers a challenge in fighting qualities.
Bringing trout from England, 12,000 miles away, s seemed an impossible dream. That the dream, became a reality with perseverance, despite failures and setbacks, in 1864.Read more ...
Presented from Issue 96
Traditionally the age old art of fish taxidermy has involved the preserving, mounting and painting of the fishes skin and head to craft a life like trophy. In more recent times fibreglass fish reproductions or ‘repro’s’ have become available, offering the trophy hunter a viable alternative. Indeed, a well crafted repro can look as good and natural as a well made skin mount.
I was inspired to touch on this subject after hearing secondhand comments that ‘skin mounts don’t last!’ That’s true if the mount wasn’t made correctly in the first place. We’ve all seen the withered and colourless mounts hanging on pub and tackle shop walls, of hardly recognisable specimens caught 20 or 30 yrs ago, and in some cases not that long ago. Well, fish taxidermy has come a long way since those days, with modern techniques and products developed specifically for the industry there is no reason why a properly crafted skin mount should not last a lifetime.
Presented from Issue 96
Late summer brings to the fore the best of fly fishing in Tasmania, the regularity of hatches and falls of terrestrial insects makes dry fly fishing at times spectacular. These days are highlights and can be predicted with some regularity, however along with the highs you also get the lows, those ‘dog days’ where the trout simply don’t want to play. It could be they are too well fed or more sensitive to changes in the weather, or in fact simply will not feed until the hatch they can predict better than us arrives.
How to predict where the fishing will be good is a key to success at this time of year particularly if you want the fish a particular style of fly fishing. When fish do start to feed make the most of the opportunities as in high summer with warm water these ‘hot bites’ may well only last a short time.
Presented from Issue 95
The tip of dorsal fin momentarily cut the glassy surface of the lagoon followed by a slight swirl over the iseotes weed mound. This was the signal I had been waiting for, he was back. An accurate long cast placed the little Montana Nymph a few feet ahead of the slight ripple caused by this activity. This was met by a huge bow wave and swirl in the vicinity of the fly.
Presented from Issue 95
I am lucky enough at the moment to be working a two weeks on, one week off roster. When I switched over to this roster I decided it was time for some midweek trips to places I have not fished a lot in the last few years.
A couple of years back whilst involved in the making of the fly fishing movie The Source Tasmania I had the opportunity to meet some champion blokes. Chris Reygaert flew over from Western Australia to help his brother, film maker Nick and he stayed at my house for a week or so. He ended up moving back to Tasmania to live a short time later, and we have become good mates. I love nothing more than spending a day on the water with Chris. He is a very accomplished fly angler and has a brilliant eye for a great photo, which is something I am becoming more passionate about with every fishing trip.
Tas Maritime Radio (TMR) has now commissioned a new multi channel marine VHF base station to provide safety coverage to the highland lakes area. It will provide a 24/7 safety listening watch on VHF Channel 16 , the distress and calling channel, and from January 1st, will be used to transmit a daily weather sked for the area at 0830 hours after an initial announcement on CH16. The predicted coverage of the base will be Great Lake, Arthur’s Lake, Lake Echo, Lake Sorell, Lake Crescent, Penstock Lagoon, Woods Lake, Lagoon of Islands and Little Pine Lagoon – and probably more.
Presented from Issue 94
Fumbling around in the dark I finally found the mobile phone and switched off the alarm. The 3wt was set up with a new fly (I like to have a brand new fly on at the start of each fishing trip. It makes no difference to catch rates, only in my head!) and the contents of the pack checked last night. Now its time to get out of bed, have the usual hot Milo and put the waders on. That is of course after the warm thermal layers have gone on.
Presented from Issue 94
Tasmania has some of beautiful rivers from small slow flowing waters to large rivers such as the Huon and Derwent.
In this article we are going to take it back to the basics and explain the different lures and techniques for catching trout in these waters.
Despite your level of experience our streams offer fabulous lure fishing. You need to expect that one minute you will be fishing deep pools and 20 metres further down the river you might only have half a metre of water. The lures you use need to take this into account.
Presented from Issue 94
After a short drive from home I pulled into the parking area I frequently use adjacent to a bridge spanning the Mersey River, my old friend. The first priority, as always, was to walk onto the bridge to have a look at the river conditions. This revealed that things were looking good with the late afternoon sun revealing a mixture of mayfly spinners and white caddis in the air above the rippling river in the soft October light. The mayfly spinners were especially noticeable with the sun glinting through their iridescent wings as they danced en-masse. Swallows, fantails and wrens were also on the wing taking advantage of the easy meal on offer. A splash or two in the river below indicated that another predator had noticed the insects as well!
Today I was in two minds of whether to go and wet a line or not given the forecast was for cold and wet conditions. It was a little cloudy here and very cool but it didn't look like it was going rain for quite some time, so I decided I would go and wet a line for a few hours. This time I decided to head over to a river just to the West of home, one that I often have a session on early in the season. This river usually gives up a few browns at this time of year because there's always plenty of flow in it. During the warmer months it drops to a very low level as well as being crystal clear. I only ever fish it during the warmer months if and when we have had some decent rain. I wasn't sure what the river would be like after the record June floods either, it could be completely ruined by them. Once there it was a relief to see it was still intact, though a little wider with some damage to the rivers banks. It was running at a medium height, cloudy and most importantly it was wade-able which mattered most to me.
Well it was lovely and sunny with very little breeze when I left Sheffield at 12.30pm for a session back to the same creek that I fished a couple of days ago. Once there the cloud had moved in and there was a stiff breeze blowing making it quite cool. The water level had dropped by some 5-6 inches too, but it's temperature hadn't. It was icy cold, same as two days ago. Today I'm testing a couple of new hard body lures for a small tackle company. These are a small 5 cm floating hard body lure in a rainbow & a brown trout pattern.
At last a day without wind or rain had me heading off with the trout rod to check out a couple of rivers to fish. Well the two that I was hoping to have a session in were both running too high for my liking so I went to a small creek some 20 kilometers away that I often have a fish in early season. Today I'm hoping it will give up a fish or two today as well. Once there I found it was running reasonably high and very cloudy in colour, but still fish-able. Before I put the waders & boots on I thought I would just flick a WildBait hard body lure from the banks of the creek. It only took a couple of casts before I had a hit and miss, so the signs were there that there may be a few fish about. I fished along the creek for just on fifty meters for three nice browns all in the 300gm - 500gm range. So it was back to the car and on with the wading gear.
Presented from Issue 93 by Joe Riley
As winters chill hits and it’s time for a break from fly fishing for trout, it’s good to go over what occurred during the season and what stood out, what flies produced good results what days were red letter days and why. Usually there is no single cause and a great day is really a combination of reading the conditions, reacting to what is happening at the appropriate time and using the right flies and styles of fishing to make the most of opportunities that present their selves.
From garden worm to Woolly Worm Presented from Issue 93 by Peter Broomhall
The little pistol grip fishing rod complete with its Abumatic closed face spinning reel rests neatly in the crook of a forked stick that has been pushed into muddy ground slowly being inundated by the rising river waters. Soon the rod tip gives a slight bounce, a pause and then a more urgent bounce was noticed. The loop of line near the reel is pulled out from under the stick and soon line is peeling out through the guides. This action on the rod and line quickly brings the teenage angler to attention. He knows that another fat Mersey River brown trout has succumbed to his earthworm bait that had been cast into the flooded river backwater only minutes earlier. Given plenty of time to completely swallow the worm the trout is then hooked, quickly played and then unceremoniously dragged from the water. This trout is quickly despatched and then added to the string of others hanging from a nearby willow tree branch.
Presented from Issue 93 by Christopher Bassano
Winter can seem to drag on as mayfly hatches and beetle falls become a distant memory. I hate sitting around and waiting and although we are still able to fish some waters during the cold, dark months, ‘opening day’ holds a special place in all fisherman’s hearts and minds. The usual decisions on where to go and what to use will no doubt demand deep thought but it is the preparation for the coming season that can influence your success for the ensuing months.
Here's my 2015/16 trout season report & stats.... This was the third best season that I've had since moving to Tasmania.. It was a pretty good season considering how dry it was here in Tassie, I reckon I did the right thing by concentrating on the two rivers that have a regulated environmental flow on them all throughout the year. They were the Mersey & Meander Rivers. The ** Dasher river which is close to home always fishes well early season and a day after a dose of 20 mms or more later in the season. The fish weren't over large this season as the rivers are still recovering from the dry seasons and the influx of cormorants we had three years ago. But they are on the way back which is good..
I have been fishing for as long as I can remember and my passion for this sport is still as strong today as it was way back then, when I was a young boy.
I grew up in the rural township of Deloraine, with the Meander River flowing through its heart. Many hours were spent along the river banks with a tin of worms and infinite patience. Sometimes I would be rewarded for it, many times I wouldn’t, and upon reflection there were far too many times when I arrived home with an empty creel and nothing to show for my efforts.
That being said, and ‘once again upon reflection’, with every trip I ventured out on, I think I learned a little more, soon my luck began to change ‘dramatically’ for the better. I had learned the “basics of fishing”.
Todd Lambert's season 2010/11 review - Presented from Issue 91
Todd Lambert offers this reflection on five of Tasmania’s more popular fisheries and how he as an ‘everyday angler’ felt they performed. Below is his season 2010/11 review.
Even though most of our Lakes and rivers are about to close, there are still a few trout waters remaining open for those keen enough to venture out in a cold Tasmanian winter, but for the majority of us it’s time to sit back, turn our interests to other things and reflect back on the season past.
Many people ask me when the best time to come to Tasmania fishing is. There is only one answer as far as I am concerned – Autumn.
March and April are what I call the wedding months. All the girls want to get married then. Why ? Because the weather is the most settled and they are almost guaranteed a beautiful day.
I like it because the river fishing can be exception and I like river fishing. Grasshopers have been prolific the last couple of seasons with unprecedented grass growth no doubt helping the populations.
Grasshoppers obviously provide a ‘meal in a mouthful’ for river trout – they must be like a Big Mac for them and trout often swim meters to violently scoff one from the surface.
Mike Fry doesn’t only live on the Wild Side of Tasmania, but also goes fishing in probably the wildest boat ever to troll for trout—certainly in Tasmania.
When your mate says ‘What are you doing tomorrow, want to come up the Gordon for the night?’ it would be pretty hard to say anything else except “you bet” and start checking out your tackle box and packing your overnight bag. But if your mate was Troy Grining and he wanted to give his new 52ft, high speed cruiser a run across Macquarie Harbour, test the new onboard dory with a chance of landing a nice Gordon River Brown you would have to feel privileged. I didn’t say anything about getting on my hands and knees and kissing his feet…just having a lend of ya’ but I did feel very appreciative.
In Tasmania, trout have found their way into just about every trickle of water around the state. Many of these are very small tributaries of larger more popular rivers. The majority of the fish in these smaller streams are by no means monsters, with the average fish being somewhere between half a pound and a pound. Small brown trout dominate most of these small streams with the exception of a few rainbow only waters that are isolated from the dominant brown trout population.?The upper Mersey River between Lake Meston and Junction Lake is a classic example of this with its huge impassable waterfalls preventing any further migration of brown trout up stream.
The highlight of any season usually revolves around the best days sight fishing. Memories of the hunt, approach, cast and hook set will remain in your mind long after those of another ‘flogged up’ have gone. The main prerequisite for this style of fishing are sunshine and cloudless days – two things that should become more plentiful from now until the end of the season. Good polaroiding water is not hard to find but some places are easier than others in which to find fish while others are simply better.
Too windy, not windy enough, wrong wind direction. Too bright, too dull, too wet, too dry: excuses—or are they? Farmers and fishing guides have two things in common: firstly, they’re both in the weather everyday, working with Mother Nature. Secondly, both groups will tell you that the animals in their lives all react differently according to subtleties and vagaries of wind direction, atmospheric pressure and lunar cycles. In the case of fishing guides and experienced anglers, you can add a list of hatch and water level factors to the nuances of Mother Nature, vagaries which become plausible excuses at the end of a tough day. After the question of weather patterns and their affects on fishing came up on the FlyLife internet forum, I thought it might be a good time to do a bit of myth-busting with the aid of my fishing diary.
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