Trout streams on song
  |  First Published: December 2010

The Derwent Valleys most well known stream, the Tyenna River has settled down recently as water levels subside to more accessible depths.

The bigger trout that tend to hold away from the main flow in side pockets will now look for new lies in the best holes along their section of river. Soft plastic rigs are still a good option for these deeper holding zones of any stream but spinning lures can also take plenty of trout in December.

I’ve always been a fan of minnow type lures for trout in Tasmania as these lures allow you to cover a heap of likely shallow water haunts in very little time. Ecogear MW62f, MX48f and Rapala X04 are all good stream or skinny water lures. I often take my best fish of the day on the MW62f.

In recent times, I’ve gone away from braided lines when fishing minnows in fast water for trout. Fluorocarbon and fine diameter monofilament lines are excellent in very clear water aiding lure action while being almost invisible to the fish. The new Famell Trout Spoon and Minnow Tournament line is about as deluxe as you can get when it comes to quality monofilament and it’s definitely worth a try in the clearer more challenging waters.

The fast water runs of the upper Tyenna River now begin to slow creating some great nymphing water for fly anglers looking for some local sport. Indicator rigs with a bead head nymph work well during this part of the season prior to the peak insect activity that occurs during the warmest months. Strike as soon as the indicator pauses or disappears.

As December rolls on, anglers will often swap the yarn indicator for a dry fly presenting the trout with a choice of targets.

Multiple short upstream casts fanned out across likely riffles is a good way to connect with trout when working weighted nymphs in streams. Look for slightly slower water bedside the main flow and pocket water behind large boulders or sub surface cover.

Caddis moths, beetles and some early hoppers later in the month will be just some of the items on hand for Derwent Valley stream trout.


Late October saw the first signs of reliable bream fishing on the Derwent this spring. Things have only improved during November as the bream slowly merge into spawning schools in the mid to upper estuary. Some very good fish have been taken this spring as they are during this period each season.

Soft plastics are always the stand-out lures on the Derwent during November and December especially when fishing to large groups of deeper holding bream. The Derwent is a much colder system than the rivers and lagoons along the east coast and therefore, the slower style presentation of jig rigged soft baits are often a better all-round lure at this time.

I prefer to look for bream in transit to or from spawning areas in early summer as they hold in terrain that is often better suited to my favourite hardbodied lure approach. Bridge pylons, timber snags and weed beds are all good bream attracting structure to keep an eye out for when out on the river. Add some current to the equation and you can often expect a much better chance of finding actively feeding fish.

Post-spawn bream should be obtainable from Austins Ferry right up past the Dromedary area upstream from Bridgewater during December. Look for nervous baitfish about the river grass edges, as this bait is a good sign for lure anglers looking for bream on the chew.

Small hardbodied lures such as Ecogear SX40LC and MX48F are very good small bait fish imitations that have excelled in this region for many local anglers.

Australian salmon

The local Australian salmon hotspots have really been firing this spring, keeping many keen saltwater anglers happy. Cremorne Channel has been living up to its reputation of being an excellent location to nail a few salmon on metal lures. In fact, there have been good catches at just about all the known land-based access points around the lower Derwent and right through Frederick Henry Bay. Goats Bluff, Rosny Point and Carlton River entrance are all worth a trip this month.

Striped Trumpeter, Flathead and calamari

The Striped Trumpeter season is now well under way and many deepwater anglers have been excited to be once again targeting this very tasty species.

Bay flathead have been slowly warming up over November with anglers concentrating on the shallower zones often finding the better numbers and sizes. Drift fishing the local bays with standard baited paternoster rigs are an easy way to get into a few flatties.

Bluebait and squid strips from Tas Fishing Supplies offer fantastic locally produced bait that achieves excellent catches. Thoughtful Tasmanian anglers should use only local baits as introducing imported fish products into our waters presents an environmental risk that we just don’t need to take.

Calamari action is starting to warm up with reports of good bags coming from several well known land based locations. Pirates Bay jetty has produced some consistent fishing over the last month or so. Other jetties in the area worth a trip are South Arm, Opossum Bay and Dunalley.

The popular red/white Yo-Zuri jigs are a favoured pattern throughout the south east but other colours are also very good choices at times. Other good colour selections for the area are brown/white, multi colour and orange/white. Varying colours seem to work in contrasting light conditions so it always worth having a few naturals tones as well as some much brighter versions to try when the light changes.

Squid like calmer conditions to hunt in, so plan your trips for these times for best results.

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