Situated about mid way along the North coast of Tasmania lies one of the north's largest water ways, the Tamar River. The Tamar begins its life at Launceston, being fed by the North and South Esk rivers and their tributaries, which drain much of the Northern Tasmania. Winding its way down the picturesque Tamar Valley with its multitude of cottage wineries, art and craft, and historic sites, the Tamar ends its journey to the sea, bordered by the coastal town ships at George Town and Kelso.
Greg Hynes produces Lofty Lures at Mole Creek in Tasmanian. Mole Creek is a quiet country town where most everyone goes fishing. Lofty's make several different size cobra style lures as well as a range of spinners. Michael Stevens recently interviewed Greg "˜Lofty"Hynes.
Especially, Flinders Island has not been discovered yet. It has no crowds, traffic jams or rip, rush and tear. The weather is mild by Tasmanian standards with frost free winters and more sunshine than the Gold Coast. It has spectacular natural beauty, lots of fish and friendly people. James Luddington reports on one of Tasmania's most productive fishing areas - Flinders Island.
In Tasmanian estuaries, Black bream (Acanthopagrus butcheri) are one of the mainstay of recreational fishers. These fish can be relied upon to provide excellent sport on light gear with baits such as crabs, mussels and pretty fish involving the simplest of rigs - often just a hook. Bream are great fighters and are taken regularly by spinning and fly fishing in mainland waters. So why don't we take them on artificial's in Tasmania?
"˜Knowledge is power"so the saying goes. In this article, Barry Hickman shares his knowledge of trout fishing season and what to expect, what flies are needed and when to use them.
Arguably the Macquarie River is Tasmania's best known for angling sport. Its main stem wanders through the open farmland of the Northern Midlands from Ross down to its junction with the South Esk River at Longford, covering about 80 kilometres and is fishable along most of its length.
I spotted a small fish rising to a hatch of snowflake caddis in the far side of the pool. My cast was only average but it did not take long for the fish's little eyes to light up and gobble down my caddis imitation. After a quick but lively fight I'd released my fourth trout for the evening.
Where was I? I was only ten minutes from the city of Launceston, in the middle of the Cataract Gorge, just down from the First Basin.
For the low budget fishing and sight seeing holiday the Far North West Coast, and West Coast of Tasmania is well worth considering. Whereas large fish are dreamt of in many areas - the West Coast often rewards anglers with fish of leviathan size - both in fresh and salt water.
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.
Travelling west from Smithton, taking the coastal road over the Duck River bridge. A 15 minute drive will bring you into the small farming community of Montagu. Old Port Road takes you to the Montagu camping area which is a good place to start fishing. The boat ramp at Montagu is excellent and is really the only spot to launch a boat. Shore fishing is quite rewarding and places to fish are the jetty (near ramp), off rocks and beaches all along the foreshore.
Montagu is a huge channel and successful fishing there can depend greatly on the tide. Some days the mix of tide and wind that rips through this channel, makes boating very interesting, and an enormous amount of care should be taken. Species that inhabit this spot are Australian salmon, pike, couta, shark, tailor and flathead. Spinning or trolling on high tide from shore, jetty or boat with wobblers, soft plastics, flies and bait will all catch fish.
A 45 minute drive west from Montagu or Smithton finds you at Marrawah. Marrawah is a prime dairy farming and world known surfing location on the west coast. A short drive down Green Point Road, will take you to a car park at Nettley Bay. From there you may fish the rock directly off the car park. A 45 minute walk along the beach, over sand dunes to the north will bring you to Sinking Rock.
Big runs of blackback (large Australian salmon) are found congregating around the rocky edges, feeding on small bait fish and krill. Successful fishing methods are either spinning or bait fishing. Good lures to use are large silver wobblers (30-60 gm) with a fly dropper. Bait fishing quite often takes the bigger specimens, using a large float or balloon with a pilchard below.
Blackback up to 2-3 kg are landed for most of the year, with the occasional yellowtail kingfish and tailor being snagged. The weather plays an important role on the fishing there, with the ruggedness of the west coast sometimes making these hot spots unfishable.
Located 20 minutes down the west coast from Marrawah, is the holiday destination of the Arthur River. This thriving fishing spot is positioned in the Arthur - Pieman Protected Area.
In recent years, holiday units, camping, boat hire, shop, cruises and guided fishing trips, have started to operate around the river. From November, Australian salmon make their way into the river mouth, staying there (depending on the freshwater flow) right through until late February.
Both boating and shore angling from rocks or beach, are equally as productive - making it a perfect recreational fishing location for the whole family. Boats do give access to much more river and trolling is popular along the entire navigable length.
Lures to try are green and gold wobblers or spinners, silver wobblers and soft plastics. Pilchards, anchovies and sand worms work very well for the patient bait angler. Fly anglers may try a green or silver streamer fly, which is most effective.
October - February in more recent times has seen more trout anglers journey to the area. Large resident and sea-run trout are landed from this water every year. From early October sea-runners can be seen near the river mouth, charging and swirling through huge schools of white bait, sending them fleeing across the surface. At this time a fly or small wobbler imitating these bait, may fool them. As the bait schools move further up, so do the trout. Trolling along the banks, is most productive. Lead lines with green, gold, red or bronze cobras, is a deadly trolling rig. Nils Masters, Rapalas, Stump Jumpers along with other bib lures, flicked around snags take a lot of trout and sometimes estuarine perch.
A 30 minute drive further south from the Arthur River, bypassing commercial Rock Lobster fishing villages, will bring you to Temma Harbour. A 4WD or off road vehicle is then essential if you wish to continue south further down the west cost, to Sandy Cape. A permit from Temma to Sandy Cape is needed, and may be collected from the Arthur River rangers station. Sandy Cape mainly consists of vast white sandy beaches, breathtaking dunes and catches of big blackback salmon. These fish which are commonly caught around the mid to end of the year period, or when access to this area can be made. The Sandy Cape Beach, which is just north of the Cape has a history of treacherous quick-sand and has seen many vehicles lost. These salmon are caught from the beaches around the cape, they can be found in the deep gutters not too far off shore. Big heavy silver wobblers and large salt water flies work best. Fish in the 4 - 6 kg range are beached frequently, therefore a strong surf rig with a 2.5-3.5 m rod and low geared reel makes fishing a lot easier. Gang hooked pilchards or anchovies fished with a heavy sinker on a deep sea rig, take their fair share of big salmon and gummy shark.
Stanley would have to be the most well known small town on Tasmania's north coast. It is steeped in history, which makes it a popular spot for visiting tourists. Stanley wharf is the most popular recreational fishing spot on the north west coast. It boasts good catches of snotty trevally (blue warehou), Australian salmon, couta, mullet, leatherjacket, squid and even the odd yellowtail kingfish and shark. The snotty trevally frequent this area from December through to April and these can be most productive times. It is not uncommon to see 80 to 100 anglers shoulder to shoulder on the wharf. The trevally run along the edge of the wharf in large schools, multiple hook ups can see 20 or 30 anglers all hooked up at once, making it very interesting when it comes to landing these fish.
A strong rod 2.5-3.5 m long with a reasonably light tip is very effective, Hi Vis monofilament line 7-9 kg must also be used, this is to be tied to small running sinker rig. Best bait for trevally is uncooked chicken on size 1 or 2 chemically sharpened hook. Fish with the drag locked up completely, because if a fish runs you will tangle with other anglers and end up in an almighty mess.
Other fishing around Stanley includes Godfrey's Beach on the northern shore, where good catches of Australian Salmon, flathead and even tailor are caught both from the beach or rocks.
Stanley sits out on a quite large headland and two bodies of water occupy each side, East and Western Inlets. These inlets are popular fishing places. Since the ban of netting in these spots fishing has improved with Australian salmon, flounder, couta, pike, gummy shark and BIG spawning flathead being the main targets. Spinning or baiting these particular species on the incoming tide is great fishing. For boat fishing, the Stanley area is very good. Drifting with either bait or plastics is effective. Trolling lures such as wobblers, large flies and bib lures can produce good catches of, Australian salmon, couta and pike.
Positioned on the edge of Duck River, Smithton offers the recreational angler with a number of fishing opportunities. All your fishing requirements and local information on the area, can be found at Smithton Sports in the main street of town, open seven days a week. Shore based anglers have the potential to catch silver trevally, large flathead, Australian salmon, tailor and more often than not sea-run trout. These fish can be found right in Smithton fishing from either the reclaimed land on the western shore or around the boat ramp on the eastern shore. Fish can be caught from around this area, by spinning, fly fishing or bait fishing.
Fishing the Duck Bay estuary a boat is essential. From October to early April Australian salmon are readily caught either by trolling or bait fishing. With the estuary being basically two large sand flats east and west of the channel, there is great opportunity for the salt water fly fisherman. Polaroiding big flathead over the sand is a fantastic sport, these fish can also be taken with larger bib lures and bait.
From the oyster leases "The Duck"continues further out through a fairly narrow mouth. Near the mouth, trolling for couta, pike, Australian salmon and tailor with wobblers, flies and surface lures, pick up quite a few fish. Good catches of gummy shark and elephant fish on bait, are taken commonly and recently King George whiting have also been caught in good numbers.
The mouth access by shore can only be made via Seven Mile Beach on the eastern side (4WD Track Only). Off the Duck River mouth lays 4 large islands all of which hold a plentiful number of fish, all year round. Boat access is necessary to these islands. Recreational diving around this area is also popular with rock lobster, green and black lipped abalone being taken during the open season.
The whitebait run up the Duck River is around the months of October - January. During their season, they are fairly heavily fished. With the whitebait, sea-run trout and Australian Salmon move further up into the tidal area. Small Lures and Flies are a good option for snagging these fish.
Handy information and links to fisheries,weather etc
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