Feature Fishing Continues
  |  First Published: December 2010

Anglers in the North have experienced some sensational spring fishing on most waterways during November.

While it took a while for the mercury to steadily climb, typical events such as the whitebait run, mayfly hatches and evening caddis hatches have all triggered feature fishing.

Sea Runners

Whitebait have taken full advantage of the lack of steady rain, with most regular waterways producing quality fish and continuing to challenge the weekend angler. Of significance was a report from one angler claiming to have experienced a sensational outing on these wonderful sportsfish.

His tally consisted of several fish pushing double-figures, with the smallest around 7lb and the largest pushing an astonishing 16lb in the old scale! All fish were responsive to bait presentations from a boat, not ten minutes ride from the Seaport in Launceston.

The Tailrace has been kind to both bait anglers and shore-based spin fishers, with lower tides seeing trout smashing schools of bait against the muddy banks.

With plenty of bait still around at the time of writing, it seems logical to keep in mind that those fish that swim their way up the Tamar estuary don’t necessarily stay in the upper reaches, so targeting them on their journey back to saltier shores must surely be a viable option throughout early December, maybe even beyond.


Mayfly have really been on fire on the lowland rivers with Macquarie River, South Esk River and Brumby’s Creek all providing exceptional sport. Warm, calm and overcast conditions are ideal for fishing the peak hatch, with ‘Gentleman’s Hours’ (11am-3pm), ensuring that those who prefer a lazy little rest in the nest are still in for a real treat.

Prevailing winds have attempted to spoil the fun on some days, but sheltered pockets, higher banks and the safety of over-hanging willows have provided a reliable fallback. Traditional flies like the Macquarie Red and parachute style flies have been killer.

Many fish on the South Esk have been in great condition and the number of fish between 1-2kg appears to be increasing. Either that, or anglers are gaining a healthier knowledge of where and when to track them down!

With late spring rains continuing to bolster river heights, we can expect that terrestrial activity will enhance our sight fishing opportunities throughout December, leading into the exciting prospect of ‘hopper season in summer.


Small, fragile little feeder creeks and streams have been fishing well, with plenty of small trout more than happy to slurp down a dry fly. Caddis moths and snowflake caddis have been in abundance, making for sensational fishing options.

Providing the wind is not too fierce, the snowflake variety are quite happy to flutter about nearby bushes during the day, with small trout honing in on this delicacy and often leaping clear of the water to take them. A small Royal Wullf or Iron Blue Dun fly will generally suffice on these occasions. Trout can commonly be focused on the fluttering swarms so sometimes a repeated presentation can eventually bring them undone.

I recently fished a small headwater creek and was surprised to find a brown trout just shy of 500g holding station in water not much wider that the fish was long! The trout greedily snatched a Red Tag and gave me a real tussle on the two weight fly rod.

Once grassed and subsequently released, I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face – and rightly so when you consider that the water would normally be reserved for tiny fish. It’s pleasant surprises like this that keep me coming back for more and the result instills a natural desire to continue to explore and discover Tassie’s small-water offerings.

Four Springs

Four Springs Lake has been a bit of a hit and miss affair for some anglers, but those who have persisted and made the most of ideal conditions have accounted for their fair share. Fish up to 3kg have been landed with the number of 1.5kg specimens much more common. Mayfly hatches on muggy, overcast days have been great but fish have been quite selective on when they choose to feed on them.

Late afternoons and evenings toward sundown have seem more fish rising to this special insect, and good fish have been encountered on shallow, wind-blown shores sipping on spent spinners. Also creating some brief activity during similar conditions have been tiny flying ants. Ant falls have tempted a few fish to rise, often requiring a fly change to something more representative like a tiny Possum Emerger or CDC ‘F’ Fly.

Also a reminder to boat owners to ensure they practice appropriate ramp etiquette. Several users have been frustrated at boaters who drag their tub out of the water and leave it on the ramp while they adjust their gear or clean their catch.

December is an awesome month for a variety of methods to catch trout, with all the above-mentioned events still on the menu. Be sure to make the most of the weather and get out to explore a new water this summer, trust me – There are some real treats out there.

If you have a significant report or a photo of your special capture that you would like to share, feel free to email me at --e-mail address hidden--

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