Recently Atlantic salmon seems to be a very hot topic amongst local anglers, especially those in the south of the state in the D'Entrecasteaux area. Northern anglers should take a close look at the Tamar as there are opportunities here as well.
The recent "great escape" has provided a perfect opportunity for fresh and saltwater anglers alike to experience some truly memorable sport. Tasmania's pristine, clean and cool waters are the perfect nursery for the Atlantic Salmon and as our local fish farms produce more and more fresh quality seafood it is a fact that there are going to be tangible consequences.
With another storm forecast later in the day I headed up to a small stream on private property for a quick spin session before the weather turned sour. It was quite humid when I left home and on my arrival I noticed quite a few heavy clouds building up so I had to hurry on and get in the small river. The water level was still good here and there was still plenty of flow, it was a nice medium tannin colour as well so I started off using a small Mepps #00 gold Aglia. The first cast and retrieve resulted in a small brown having a go at the spinner, it missed getting hooked. The second cast and retrieve was much better when another small brown had a go at it and was hooked, the first trout of the session was landed. I moved several feet forward and flicked the spinner into the top end of this narrow stretch of water, no sooner had I started to retrieve the spinner when another little brown snapped it up, trout number two was soon in hand. Another cast & retrieve back into the same area I had a hit and miss from a trout, like the others, it was a small fish.
With a more lousy weather forecast for later in the day I thought I would spend a few hours in the water this morning while the weather was calm. Even though it was foggy and quite cool when I left home, there wasn't any wind to contend with and that mattered most. Once I left the car and walked to my entry point at 8:45 am when I was standing on a gravelly river bank, the first thing I noticed was the water level had dropped to a nice wading level. It was down by at least five inches from my last trip here which meant the trout would be in more open slower flowing runs now. I started the session off using a #00 gold Aglia Mouche Noire, I felt it would be a good lure for the dull conditions & lower water today. While I was at the river edge I decided I would cross over and head further downstream to fish a stretch of water that I have fished for a couple of seasons, one that did give up a few fish back in it's day. Before I crossed over I looked at a nice flat water that had a large submerged log in it, to me it looked fishy and worth a few casts to see if I was right.
Needing only ten more trout to reach my 300th trout for the 2020/21 trout season and with the larger rivers still running high after 47mms of rain three days ago I had no option but to head back to my favourite tannin waters. The weather was fine, no wind to worry about plus I had an earlier start to the day than I normally do, I was in the water by 8:20 am. At this time of the year the sun rises much later than last month and lower in the sky in the morning to what it was last month. Not that it mattered all that much as the area I'm fishing has a lot of dense foliage on both sides of the stream.
Mild weather conditions again today had me heading off to the sheltered tannin water in the bush, the same little stream I was in a few days ago. This time I started fishing the stream close to where I ended the spin session last time when I managed to catch and release five wild browns. It was 3:15 pm when I hit the light tannin coloured water that had filtered sunlight on it, the lure of choice was a Mepps gold #00 Aglia. This time it's not the old well used one like I normally use, this one has only been used a couple of times. It took me twenty minutes before I had my first hit from a trout in a small pocket of water, it was hooked for a short time, it tossed the lure on the first leap from the stream. A little further upstream I had a hit and miss from another brown, not long after that it was trout on.
Rain and windy conditions were the forecast of the day again today so I had planned to stay home, then as the day went on the weather wasn't all that bad so I headed off for a spin session in the tannin waters. It was 1:30pm when I finally hopped in the water and started flicking a small #00 White Miller Bug spinner around in the tannin stream. The flow was pretty good due to recent rain and the water was a little cloudy but still had that nice tannin colour to it, that's the reason I went with the White Miller spinner. This time I'm fishing approx one kilometre of water and one that has quite a few log jams on it, also one that hasn't given up a trout in two previous trips let alone see one. Several days ago I caught seven trout two kilometres downstream from here and that's why I want to give this area a go today, I feel there may be a few trout here now.
The conditions weren't ideal for trout fishing today seeing the wind was gusting up to 30kph, the good thing was it was sunny so I decided to head off to have another go at catching trout in tannin waters. I knew once I was in the water I would have some shelter from the wind, though there would be times when I won't as well.
The water level was much lower than my last trip back August, it still had a reasonable flow and was a nice light tannin colour, plus the water temp was seven degrees, much better than the two/three degrees that it's been. I started off using a small #00 Aglia gold, and yes it was a well used spinner which I prefer to use as often as possible.
I hate breaking in new lures for some reason, even though I know they'll do the same job, I just like the old used ones. Seeing as this tannin water has only given up one trout for the season I wasn't feeling all that confident of catching all that many trout this trip.
Trip one: Sunday 30th August
Poor weather forecast again today and with the larger rivers still running high it was back to the small tannin streams for the next two days. The first trip was to my favourite one on private property, a small tannin water that really fished well last season, but for some reason it's been on the quiet side to date. The other small stream is also on private property and closer to home, this one has only given up the odd trout from time to time. It was 9:45 am by the time I hit the water in what was reasonable weather conditions given the forecast. Looking to the South West I could see there was a build up of dark clouds slowly moving my way so I had to get a move on as quick as I could. The water level was down to what it was a week ago, the flow was still good and the water was a light tannin colour. I started the session off with a small well used #00 gold Aglia Mouche Noire spinner, it's an oldie and a goody, it's also caught quite a lot of trout in it's time of use.
While the weather is still cold & damp I'm not fishing all that far from home at the moment, plus the larger rivers I would like to have a fish in are running too high for my liking. There are several areas on them where I could fish from the river banks, but for now I'll settle for fishing the smaller streams & creeks. This spin session was done in two different stretches of water on private property where permission to gain access is a must. The weather wasn't looking all that flash when I headed off, looking towards the mountains it was pretty dull with dark, heavy clouds moving in. By the time I arrived at my destination it had started raining, only lightly though, which was okay as I had a lightweight rain jacket in the car. After putting on the waders and wading boots as well as the waterproof jacket I decided not to wear the fishing vest.
Like the previous season I had a late start to this trout season which is mainly due to the body not being quite right for river/stream fishing. Towards the end of last season I was struggling more than ever with hip and lower back problems, that's the reason for only having 63 river trips over the nine month season. My average since moving to Tasmania in March 2000 is 85 trips per season. During the off season I had x-rays & scans that showed I require having hip replacements & lower back discs (3 of them) removed, hence the late start to this season. Anyway, a few days ago I hit a small stream one day and a large river the next day for a trial run to see how the body would stand up to a sixty minute spin session in them. I pulled reasonably well, it was good to get some practice in to hone up the casting skills, nice to be back in the water even though the water temperature was around the three to four degree mark.
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The first Atlantic salmon eggs used to begin Tasmania's Atlantic salmon aquaculture industry were introduced into Tasmania in 1984. From these humble beginnings a valuable Tasmanian industry has evolved with a worldwide reputation for having a premium disease free product. This industry provides a spin off to all anglers in the form of regular escapes of salmon from the farms.