Top waters - recommended by the IFSTasmanians are lucky to be surrounded by a wealth of prime trout fishing destinations with both lake and river fisheries well catered for. With the 2005-06 angling season starting on Saturday 6 August, it is timely for anglers to reflect on the success of last season and begin to peruse maps in order to plan for the coming trout season.
Over the past twelve months, the Inland Fisheries Service has been busy with the most intense stocking program in recent times. This has seen brown, rainbow and brook trout, in-conjunction with large Atlantic salmon, released into various waters throughout the State. The information provided below should assist both new and dedicated trout anglers to make plans for the coming season.
Without exception, Arthurs Lake is the most popular fishery in the State. It is estimated that one third of all brown trout captured in Tasmania come from this lake. This water fishes well from October through to April, with the period December to February being the peak fishing time. The average catch rate for this water is around 2 fish/day.
Further north of Arthurs Lake, is the large expanse of Great Lake. Here both brown and rainbow trout may be captured. The catch rate is somewhat lower than at Arthurs Lake but the chance of catching a prime wild rainbow trout provides added incentive. Hopefully, waters levels will be kind for the season ahead.
Bronte Lagoon on the south western region of the Central Plateau, is a popular water amongst anglers. Here an angler can use artificial lures or flies to hook a wild brown trout or one of the recently stocked rainbow or brook trout. This water should begin to pick up this season following a generally slow 2004-05 season.
Adjacent to Bronte Lagoon is the Bradys system of lakes, consisting of Bradys Lake, Lake Binney and Tungatinah Lagoon. This system has come in for some special attention from the Service over the past three seasons, with brown, rainbow and brook trout and large Atlantic salmon stocked at high rates. All methods of angling are successful within this system, however, skilful bait fishers seem to do especially well in the early months of the fishing season. These waters are well primed for the season ahead and should produce good fishing into early next year.
Tooms Lake is located some 40 km's north east of Oatlands and provides for all angling methods. The lake is a renowned early season fishery with both rainbow and brown trout of around 1-2 kg captured. Anglers can expect to catch two or three fish for a days fishing. Hopefully the overall condition of fish will improve this season.
It could be said that Lake Barrington has seen an Atlantic salmon lead revival. Since the stocking of 900 very large Atlantic salmon in February (700) and May (200) this year, anglers have done reasonably well at this water. Not only have people caught some of these big salmon but also some large brown trout have also been brought undone. This water has been targeted as part of the Service's popular waters program and should receive some future stockings of both rainbow trout and salmon when available.
Lake Burbury on Tasmania's west coast is a fishery that is steadily growing in popularity. This lake is open all year round and fishes well in all months. Rainbow trout represent almost 60% of the estimated 30,000 trout harvested from this water each year. All methods of angling are permitted and the use of a boat can increase an anglers catch rate dramatically. This water is well worth the extra travel time and should be put in the angling diary for the 2005-06 season. The scenery is an added bonus.
Little Pine Lagoon
For the dedicated fly fisher, Little Pine Lagoon offers some specialised fishing for early season "tailing trout" and mid summer mayfly feeders. Early in the season brown trout rummage around in the shallow water looking for aquatic snails, small crustaceans and insects. They can often be seen feeding in water so shallow that their tails and fins cut through the surface at regular intervals. All fly fishers should at least fish this water during summer, just to experience the fantastic dryfly fishing.
Penstock Lagoon, like Little Pine Lagoon, is reserved for fly fishing only. This water is relatively small but produces some very well conditioned brown and rainbow trout (1-3 kg), especially early in the season. The use of a boat can be an advantage, although it is not essential.
Closer to Hobart, Craigbourne Dam at Colebrook offers anglers in the Hobart region an easy day trip to fish for brown, rainbow and brook trout, in addition to some large Atlantic salmon. This fishery has seen a remarkable turn around in the last twelve months with anglers catching fish from 0.25 kg through to an impressive 6 kg. As the days lengthen, this water becomes a real after work option for southern anglers. It has proven to be very popular over the winter period and should continue to produce good catches of brook trout with the occasional large brown trout and Atlantic salmon possible.
All waters within the Nineteen Lagoons that normally receive a stocking of adult brown trout have been restocked for the 2005-06 season. This is in addition to some stockings of both rainbow and brown trout fry in recent years that should be well and truly size this season. These waters include lakes Chipman and Dudley, and Little Blue Lagoon.
Many anglers find this water a little challenging, but hopefully, following some significant stockings of both brook and rainbow trout, in-conjunction with the on-going stocking of brown trout fry, this water should yield some consistent catches this season.
For southern anglers, the Derwent and Tyenna rivers are the best river trout fishing options. Fishing for early season whitebait feeding trout in the Derwent River is a highlight of the season. All methods can be equally successful and only one or two hours need be spent on a crisp winter/spring evening to catch one of these prime fish. The Tyenna River near Westerway is one of the State's most popular sections of river. This stream offers some ideal river fishing for both small and the occasional very large trout.
North Western Rivers
The Mersey River is a very popular water with between 1,500 - 2,000 anglers fishing the river each year. This river caters for all angling methods and provides ideal conditions for each type of method through out its length to Parangana Dam. The stocking of 500 - 1 kg brown trout into the lower reaches should again provide some additional fishing, especially early in the season. The Leven River provides very good fishing for sea run trout, which can be accessed from the tidal reaches near Ulverstone. The Gunns Plains region is also an area that fishes well, especially as the season gets into full swing. Rainbow trout are also captured in the upper reaches.