111 getting started great lake

This fish and 6 more just
like it were caught on
Great Lake on a chilly
day in the middle of June

Presented from Issue 111, August 2014

There has sometimes been a view that trout fishing is reserved only for the experienced angler, stories of hours spent trying to unravel the mysteries of the cunning trout by elderly gentlemen dressed in tweed is what often comes to people’s minds when they think of trout fishing. Regarded by many to be the premium, freshwater sports fish of the world, it is not surprising that the many anglers put the humble trout in the too hard box. Truth is, trout can be as easily caught as any fish, perhaps not always as accessible and your bread and butter saltwater species, but none the less, with a bit of perseverance with the correct equipment and technique, results can come more quickly than you think! In recent years, more emphasis has been put on making Tasmania’s famous trout fishery more accessible to newcomers to the sport. This has been achieved by increased stocking regimes into waters with lower fish numbers, improving access to waters and more information resources available such as the Inland Fisheries Service (IFS) website and IFS Smartphone App. Angler surveys have also given the managers of our fishery a better understanding on how they can improve certain aspects of the fishery. This year is the 150 th anniversary of trout fishing in Tasmania, and with a Ford Ranger up for grabs for buying a licence, what better time to give trout fishing a go? Here are a few tips to help you get started.

111 getting started derwent 
 A typical River Derwent brownie
from the 
speedboat area
above Granton

Choose an appropriate trout set-up An effective trout fishing set-up consists of a light weight spinning rod in the 6-7 foot range, a light-weight, reliable spinning/eggbeater style reel and line in the 4-8lb range. Often an existing lightweight saltwater outfit will suffice. Lures and baits for trout are generally small and lightweight in comparison to other saltwater lures and baits, often designed to imitate natural food items such as frogs, baitfish, yabbies etc. This lighter line set-up will allow you to cast lighter weight lures and baits far easier. The sky is the limit for this type of equipment, but a good functioning outfit can be picked up for around the $100 mark.

When rigging your lures and baits for trout, remember to use as little terminal tackle as possible and keep everything light! Trout can be very fickle when it comes to fishing line and the tackle used. Clear water, bright sun and fishing pressure can make trout cautious when it comes to how fishing gear is used. Dirtier water or rough weather conditions causes them to be less cautious as do other factors such as fish density in a given waterway, availability of food and the time of year.

Leave big flashy bright swivels and clips for your saltwater fishing. Try and use small, discreet swivels and clips and if you must use a sinker, make it as light as possible. Use hooks that suit the bait you are using.

Chemically sharpened hooks in the size 6 and 8 range will cover most fishing situations. Trout baits such as worms, grubs and mudeyes can be purchased from tackle stores, take a bit of extra time when rigging these to make them look as natural on the hook as possible. Artificial baits such as the Berkley Powerbait have proven to be very successful on trout and can be stored away and used again without stinking out your tackle bag.

The selection of trout lures in any tackle shop can be daunting, so ask for help if you’re unsure. The cobra style lures made my companies such as Tasmanian Devil and Lofty are easy to cast, catch fish and won’t cost the earth. These come in a variety of fish catching (and fisherman catching!) colours. Red and black, Gold and Black and Green/Gold/Black combinations have been catching trout in various Australian trout waters for many years.

111 getting started cobra 
 A healthy brown taken on a cobra style lure

Do your homework

You can have the best trout fishing equipment, waders and casting arm in Tasmania, but local knowledge about the area you’re fishing is second to none. Tackle shops, fishing clubs, local shops and pubs, magazines, books, online resources such as the Inland Fisheries Service website, fishing forums and social media are all places you can find out more about a particular water. The angler access information provided by Inland Fisheries cuts out a whole lot of guess work that was never available before. These brochures can be picked up at any tackle store at no charge or on the fisheries website.

They show in detail how to access different waters all over the state, from which location you can access the river or lake and what fishing regulations you may need to be aware of.

Check out www.ifs.tas.gov.au for a full list of waters covered in these angler access brochures. You will also find all latest stocking information and fish transfer information on this website.

Waders are your friend

Although there are plenty of spots to fish from where you don’t need to get your feet wet, a pair of waders will make life a lot easier! Whether you intend on fishing a river or a lake, riparian vegetation and shallow water can make fishing very difficult. Trout will happily feed in water barely deep enough to cover their own backs but waders will allow you to access far more fishable water.

During the summer months, wet wading can be done easily with some sort of foot protection (old walking boots, aqua shoes etc) but trout unfortunately do not like warm water so for your own comfort, waders help! Dam walls and deep sided water edges like those found at Craigbourne Dam, Lake Binney, Brady’s Lake, Brushy Lagoon are ideal locations for some dry foot fishing. Rivers can be more difficult to find land based fishing platforms as the banks are often overgrown with vegetation. Waders allow you to slip out into the river and cover water with minimal tree hang-ups! The larger, slower moving rivers around the state tend to be better suited for land based fishing. The Meander and Macquarie rivers, Brumby’s Creek and sections on the Derwent River above Granton, the Huon River below the bridge are well suited to land based fishing.

Make time to give it a go

Time constraints are always going to be a factor in any hobby or activity other than the must do parts of our life! Truth is, these activities ARE a must do part of our lives and have been proven to be a big part of our health and well being. Tasmania is lucky enough to have freshwater lakes and rivers everywhere, and in the last 150 years, most of these waters are now populated with trout. Some of the best of these waters are within an hour of Hobart’s CBD. Craigbourne Dam is a great water for those looking to give trout fishing a first try, it’s close, easily accessible, you can fish straight from the bank and it is always loaded up with fish through artificial stockings. Other great waters close to Hobart with similar credentials include the Derwent River and the Tyenna River. For the northern anglers, there are waters such as Brushy Lagoon and the North and South Esk rivers.

111 getting started great lake 
 This fish and 6 more just
like it were caught on
Great Lake on a chilly
day inthe middle of June

Basic pointers to remember

  1. Start talking to people, read up and do a bit of research. There are more resources available to you now than ever before.
  2. You don’t need to mortgage the house or sell a kid to get equipped with some good gear, quality fishing gear is very affordable.
  3. You don’t have to travel 2 hours from Hobart or Launceston into the Central Highlands, there is a lot of very good water close to home.
  4. Waders will help you catch more fish! If you don’t have access to a boat, waders are the next best thing.
  5. They will open up more fishing waterways than you could possibly fish in one season!
  6. Keep yourself updated on what’s happening on the IFS website, fish transfer information, stockings and angler access updates will help you narrow down which waters suit your individual needs.
  7. Most importantly, don’t take it too seriously and have fun!

Joe Mangan

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