The abundance of autumn
  |  First Published: April 2011

The rivers, streams and estuaries of the Derwent Valley have produced some fantastic fishing.

Local Trout Waters

Fresh water flushes continued the season’s long trend of extremely variable river levels.

Changing levels can hinder and also aid river anglers as there is often a flurry of feeding just after unfishable conditions experienced when rivers run high.

Cooling water from these influxes is also an obvious trigger for trout to begin their pre-spawn behaviour. Most notably the mature bucks start to display themselves for longer periods throughout the day making many more above average trout available to anglers.

Lure fishers in particular can do very well as the bucks will often attack larger offerings in what seems to be a more territorial type reaction.

Trout in general start to feed with some haste as the days start to shorten and packing on condition seems to be high on their agenda. With fat and aggressive trout to be had, there’s no better time to test out some likely trout water than during April!

Shallow diving minnows, lightly rigged soft plastics and blade type spinners are all worth trying in the streams during mid-autumn. My favourite stream lure at the moment is the Ecogear MX48f, as this little slim minnow has the perfect operating depth (30-60cm) for most small rivers and streams.

Upstream wading is often the best form of attack even on very small streams. This allows the angler to cross the stream bed were necessary in order to find the best vantage points in which to cast from.

Fly anglers should be able to cash in on the abundance of larger food items that are on hand right now. A late bloom of hoppers, crickets and moths should make for some exciting flyfishing for those using hopper or muddler type presentations.


The tuna season is in full swing right now as reasonable southern bluefin captures have been reported last month. The odd yellowfin tuna have turned up as well including some larger specimens. Albacore catches were a bit patchy during March as the still conditions have tended to send the fish deeper.

The Easter weekend during late April is a favourite time for many to chase the bluefin and this year looks to have the tuna arriving in numbers just in time.


Anglers fishing throughout the Pitt Water area above Lewisham are still catching the odd elephant fish when targeting flathead. Cut baits of pilchard or bluebait fished on a light running sinker rig are all that’s needed to get onto one of these tough fighting fish.

Some good-sized silver trevally have also been showing up in catches throughout Pitt Water and Frederick Henry Bay. Most of these are being taken by anglers taking the time to rig a little lighter rather than using wire as part of their bait rig.

With some reliable patches of calm weather now rolling by every week, flounder enthusiasts are back in the water.

North West Bay, ‘The Neck’ at South Arm and the Pitt Water flats are all shallow zones worth exploring if your looking for flounder this month.

Arrow Squid that were so thick they almost became a menace during early March are now dwindling in numbers and moving out of the Derwent estuary. The recent arrow squid boom had many anglers boasting of massive numbers caught during a short session.

Many seem to be oblivious to the fact that there is a bag/possession limit for squid. Anglers are able to keep 15 of each species including what you have in your possession at home or elsewhere.

Derwent Bream

The recent ABT Derwent Bream competition uncovered some interesting distributions of bream. As it turns out, the regular fresh water flows over summer have repositioned the bream very low in the estuary system. The winning bags of bigger bream came from around Bellerive and other nearby areas. With the weather looking up lately, we may see the fish heading upriver again.

Deep diving or sinking minnows are a good option for those looking to catch bigger bream from the headlands in the lower Derwent as many of these shores drop away into deeper 2-5m of water very close to the bank.

Soft plastics will work too of course, but well presented hardbodied lures seem to provoke a more aggressive hit from the bream.

The water conditions in the lower river can be very clear so running a fluorocarbon mainline isn’t a bad idea either. Try deeper running Smiths Jades, Daiwa Double Clutches or the plethora of Ecogear lures.

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