Rebuilding sand flathead stocks

flathead title

Sand flathead are Tasmania's favourite recreational fish, but stocks are in trouble. Action is urgently needed to improve the future of the fishery.

NRE Tas Fisheries is working with fishers, researchers and the community to address this decline in stock levels, identified in a new report from the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS).

flathead on sand

Around 1.6 million sand flathead are caught by recreational fishers per year in Tasmania. In fact, 70 per cent of all recreational fish taken are sand flathead, placing a huge amount of pressure on one species.

 Darryl Saunders tagged trout
Darryl Saunders
with his $2000
tagged trout.

On Monday 29 August, Scottsdale resident, Darryl Saunders' wife told him to go fishing. Darryl didn't need to be told twice, despite the threat of rain, it was a perfect fishing day in NE Tasmania.

Darryl drove to Derby and wheeled his Hobie kayak, on a home made trolly using wheel chair wheels, along the gravel track into Briseis Mine Hole. Darryl has been haunting this popular fishing spot for the last twelve months trying to catch a winning tagged fish released as part of the Tasmanian Tagged Trout Promotion.

Launching at 8am Darryl quickly caught and released 4 rainbow trout and lost a couple more on an old green and gold Ashley lure from the bottom of his tackle box. Around 9am he hooked another fish. He saw that it was a brown trout with a tag below the dorsal fin. He lifted the fish from the water in the landing net and realised that he had caught a winning trout.

Darryl rang his wife to give her the good news.

He will use the prize money to buy a cover for his kayak, some will go to his wife (smart thinking) and any remaining will be used on vehicle fuel for future adventures. Darryl's wife is sure to send him fishing more often!

There are still lots of fish to be caught in the Tasmanian Tagged Trout Promotion.



carp utas 
Carp Management Program
Leader Jonah Yick gives
a presentation on the history
and current status of carp
in Tasmania to
Utas Field Ecology students. 

In mid-February, 30 University of Tasmania (UTAS) students enrolled in the unit “Tasmanian Field Ecology”, visited Lake Sorell and Crescent to undertake vegetation and invertebrate surveys around the wetlands. The Interlaken Lakeside Reserve is internationally recognized under the Ramsar Convention on wetlands, and supports a range of threatened and protected flora and fauna. To commence the field trip, the students listened to a presentation given by the Carp Management Program Team Leader Jonah Yick, on the history of carp eradication in Lake Crescent, as well as an update on the ongoing carp eradication efforts in Lake Sorell. Jonah also gave the students a demonstration on the key techniques used to catch carp in the lakes, which included backpack electrofishers, gill nets, fyke nets, and radio telemetry equipment. This unit was coordinated by Associate Professor Leon Barmuta and Dr. Robert Wiltshire, who both taught Jonah over 17 years ago!


Did you know that through the new Infish App 2.0 you can get up to date notifications on fish stocking, the latest news and licensing. So if you haven't already download the app and follow the prompts below. The Infish app is free on iOS and Android.

camden dam brown troutLast week we did a survey of the trout population at Camden Dam. This water was flooded for the first time during 2020-21. At full supply level it holds around 9,300 megalitres, supplying water to Scottsdale Irrigation Scheme. The dam captures inflows from the Camden Rivulet and several other smaller streams, so the potential for the recruitment of trout is very good. Rainbow trout are also found in some of the connecting streams.

We used the electrofishing boat to sample trout from several areas of the dam. The number of trout captured, 26 from 4.5 hours of electrofishing, indicates the size of the brown trout population at present is low, but most fish were in very good condition. Over half of the fish collected were between 1.0 – 1.5 kg (see Figure 1), with the heaviest fish weighing 1.7 kg. There were signs of recruitment from last year with a small number of fish around 130 mm in length. In addition, significant numbers of river fish had dropped downstream and were captured in the bays where the streams flow in. Most fish were feeding on subsurface items such as aquatic beetle larvae and snails.



Figure 1: Length and weight plot for brown trout, Camden Dam, February 2022.

Camden Dam is showing promising results and is likely to continue to improve as a fishery over the next 3 – 5 years. Beyond this, the size of fish is expected to decrease as the population grows with high recruitment expected.



brushy release 
 A rainbow trout being
released into
Brushy Lagoon

The release of rainbow trout into regional public waters continued with 750 into Brushy Lagoon and 140 into Lake Kara yesterday. The fish averaged 1.3kg but ranged up to 2kg. This will provide some exciting fishing over the coming months.

For more information about access and the rules for these waters see the brochure for Brushy Lagoon and the fact sheet for Lake Kara.

Thanks to the Huon Aquaculture Group for donating these fish.


 happy carp
 A happy crew
with a female
carp caught in
Lake Sorell

High rainfall in October resulted in Lake Sorell rising quickly. By the start of November, Lake Sorell was 150mm over the full supply level. The last time the lake had filled to this level was in October 2016, when there was still a quite large population of carp, and many were caught in traps set in barrier nets in front of the marshes. With the lake level and temperature also rising at a similar time this year it provided a good chance to test the theory that few carp were left, and to catch any remaining carp in the lake. The strong spawning cues were likely to draw carp into the shallows, making them easier to catch. However, it also meant that we had to be on high alert, given the risk of spawning in the marshes was possible.

The fishing strategy for the 2021/22 carp season was to focus on spawning related carp movement and blocking spawning. This has included blocking the marshes with barrier nets, trapping the preferred carp entrance points to these areas, and targeted gill netting combined with electrofishing.

Fishing started in late October, and a total of four carp have been caught up until the end of December. One carp was caught in a trammel net set while using the electrofishing boat, another was caught in a trammel net set behind the barrier net in the marshes, while two carp were caught in barrier traps. The carp ranged in size from 800 to 2344 grams, and all four were females. Of the four females, three of the fish had gonad tumours and could not spawn. The other female carp appeared to healthy, carrying 334gm of eggs, with a gonadosomatic index (GSI) of 20% which is quite high. However, all the eggs were completely intact, indicating she had not spawned. The last healthy, sexually mature male carp was caught on 16 December 2018. It is increasingly likely that any remaining carp in Lake Sorell are unable to breed.

41 503 carp have now been removed from Lake Sorell since their discovery in 1995. There has been no sign of spawning so far from juvenile carp surveys this season. Surveys will continue each month through until March. These surveys involve electrofishing with the boat and backpack, fine mesh dip netting, fine mesh fyke netting, and visual checks in spawning habitat. Targeted fishing will continue into January if good weather conditions arise.


 libby lake rosebery
Libby with her
$2000 trout from
Lake Rosebery

Libby Webb broke her ankle back in September and hasn’t been able to go fishing for the past few months. Now that she is fully recovered she had a day fishing from the boat on Lake Rosebery with her husband Chris. While trolling a Stump Jumper lure in the Mackintosh River arm of Lake Rosebery around mid-morning a trout hit Libby’s rod. Libby quickly realised that there was a problem in that the line had become twisted around the tip of her rod. Despite the problem Libby persisted and slowly wound the fish in.

After some time, Chris netted the fish and lifted it into the boat where the lure dropped out. As Chris was putting the fish into the esky he called out “oh no!”. Libby didn’t know what was wrong. Chris then told her that the fish had an orange tag with “Winner” on it. They quickly checked the Inland Fisheries Service website and could see that they probably did have a winner.

Libby is indeed a winner, catching one of the five tagged trout released into Lake Rosebery as part of the Tasmanian Tagged Trout Promotion. The win nets her $2000. Libby has promised to give captain Chris $50 for his help!

Fifty tagged brown trout have been released into waters around Tasmania for the 2021-22 Angling Season. Each tag is worth $2,000* to the angler that returns the fish to the Inland Fisheries Service (*conditions apply).

The waters and number of tagged trout still to be caught are:


Designated water

Number remaining

Arthurs Lake


Briseis Mine Hole

Was 2 now 1

Bronte Lagoon

Was 2 now 1

Craigbourne Dam

Was 2 now 1

Curries River Reservoir


Huntsman Lake

Was 2 now 1

Lake Burbury


Lake Leake

Was 3 now 2

Lake Mackintosh


Lake Parangana


Lake Pedder


Lake Rosebery

Was 5 now 4

Lake Rowallan


River Derwent

Was 3 now 2

yingina / Great Lake


The tags are orange and have unique identifying details.


echo damHydro Tasmania is currently working on a major refurbishment of Lake Echo Power Station, including replacing the turbine runner and overhauling the electrical system that controls the station’s gates and valves. This project is part of the ongoing asset management program that keeps our stations operating safely and efficiently.

As they near completion, the project team need to test the new system before the station can be restarted. Testing will take approximately 8 weeks, from late January and late March 2022. During January to March, they will need to operate Lake Echo dam spillway. When the spillway is being used, large volumes of water run across Lake Echo Road (see red star on the map below), making it unsafe to cross. For your safety, permanent barriers are being installed either side of the spillway and when the spillway is in use, these barriers will be locked.

Please stay alert for changing conditions during the testing phase and obey the temporary road closures and warning signs. Lake Echo dam wall road and the boat ramp will not be affected by this work. If you want to access these areas, we suggest using Mentmore Road to avoid travel delays.

Thank you for your patience while they complete this important work. If you know someone that may be affected by this temporary closure, please share this update. If you have any questions or concerns, you can email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or phone 1300 360 441.


Rock lobster catch app trial

rock lobster app

Recreational rock lobster fishers can now log their catches and fishing details in a new Rock Lobster Catch Monitoring app. The app is part of a trial to gather real-time catch data to better manage the rock lobster fishery.

Using the app is voluntary and your feedback will help develop future versions. Available now from the Apple and Google stores.

Download and Win!!: Log your catch and send in your feedback - you can win great prizes including cray cookers and PFD yokes.

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