Spoilt for choice
  |  First Published: November 2010

This month should see some hot action throughout the Derwent Valley streams for local trout anglers.

Consistent rains during late winter and right into October have charged up the water reserves that will now slowly filter down the river systems.

Trout Options

Lure and fly enthusiast will have their eye on many of the better streams in the valley such as the Tyenna, Styx, Plenty and Upper Derwent rivers.

A wet start to the season often results in early hatches of insects and a plentiful and ongoing food supply for trout in general.

Fly anglers should now expect to see some noticeable trout activity, particularly in the late afternoons. Buoyant dries with perhaps a lightly weighted nymph tied on a short dropper will be the preferred rig for many river fly anglers.

Lure fans will find mid-weight soft plastic rig such as a 1/16th or 1/12th jig coupled with their favourite 2-3” pattern to be well suited to the fast water conditions. Hardbodied minnows are always worth a shot in slower water zones as these lures often produce exciting fishing with aggressive strikes the norm. Try small shallow runners such as Ecogear MX48f and Rapala X-Rap 4cm models.

Many Hobart trout anglers will still have their attention on the sea runners in the Derwent. Regular influxes of fresh in recent weeks have created mixed results for many looking to find trout visibly working bait schools. Both sea trout and residents are still about in numbers with anglers using deeper techniques having more consistent results.

Traditional bait angling methods do well in these conditions but well-scented baitfish style soft plastics are also a good option right now.

Australian Salmon

Australian salmon are often one of the more prolific species in the lower Derwent during November. As water clarity improves, juvenile salmon tend to move in. Right about now you should be able to spot birds working the same bait schools as the salmon in the lower estuary. The later part of a run-in tide seems to be the best period to head out in search of some sambo’s.

Prominent points such as Bellerive Bluff and Rosny Point are always good land-based locations. Mornings are usually best when combined with the incoming tide. Small 10-40g are all that is needed to entice salmon strikes. Occasionally I’ve found the lift and drop style presentation of soft plastics and small blades to be a better option than the faster moving metal lures. Weighted Clouser and Deceiver fly patterns also work well in the lower river for those who like a bit saltwater fly action.

Larger salmon can often be taken from the headlands in Fredrick Henry Bay such as Carlton or Goats Bluff. Longer 8-10’ rods loaded with 10-20lb braid can assist with some extra casting distance which in turn helps anglers to cover more water from these land-based positions.

When fishing rocky outcrops, having some berley at the ready will help to hold the schools of salmon when they cruise past. Stale bread combined with tuna oil and or some fish based berley works a treat.


Southern calamari continue to be a good option for saltwater anglers in the bays outside the Derwent. Calamari and arrow squid prefer clear water and will not enter the lower river in any numbers until flows of freshwater slow in the warmer months.

Calamari often hunt out juvenile whiting around the margins of weed beds in reasonably shallow water. Here they can be caught by drifting a squid jig under a float or by casting jigs on light spin gear. Tan, orange or olive coloured jigs seem to work well when conditions are bright and still, where as much brighter multi coloured or red/white jigs are a better choice when conditions are a little windy or cloudy.

Boat anglers often suspend a jig a couple of metres below their vessel on one rod while they cast and retrieve another in order to cover as much water as possible. Calamari can be very fussy sometimes and anglers may need to sort out a suitable retrieve speed to entice a strike. Slow lifts and pauses will work in some instances while at times a more aggressive rip and glide type movement will do the trick.

Bream Action

Bream action on the Derwent has been very quiet of late except for a flurry of activity at Browns River in early to mid October. Conditions have been far from ideal through early spring as constant snowmelt kept water temperatures low. A much warmer October has meant that breaming will improve by the start of this month.

Prospecting the mid to upper river with 1/16th to 1/8th jigs rigged with a well scented soft plastic is a great way to find a few active bream. Green Point and the channel edges above Bridgewater are good areas to look for a few blue noses during November.

Once bream are located, anglers may find a hardbodied minnow to be a better fish taker. Small diving minnows such as Ecogear SX 40 and SX43 work well when worked along the steep edges at these locations.


As we head into the warmer months many bay anglers will be organising their flathead gear in anticipation of some better weather. Soft plastics rigs are gaining popularity with many saltwater anglers and are well worth a try if you haven’t tried them for flathead.

Using light spin gear and a fairly heavy ¼ or 3/8th jig helps to keep lures on the bottom. I can recommend using a small snap swivel to attach your jig head as this can be unclipped and changed to a squid jig or metal slice in very little time.

Being able to swap lures quickly will help anglers to make the most out of a days fishing as different species are spotted.

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