Trout Wait for Whitebait
  |  First Published: October 2011

Depending on the season, October can be one of Tasmania’s most productive freshwater fishing months, meaning trout fishing is the hot topic this month.

For the lure angler these months can produce some spectacular fishing with waters holding numbers of aggressive trout eager to gain condition.

To date the Huon River has been quiet but things can soon change with the beginning of October seeing the start of the whitebait runs.

Trolling is effective with standard and lead line equipment; cobra style and bibbed minnows the lures accounting for most fish. Fly anglers should search for trout crashing through schools of bait fish.

The channel rivers such as the Lune and Esperance should provide anglers a good opportunity to chase some sea trout.

For the shore based angler, concentrating on heavily structured shorelines around Waterloo will produce some good catches. Spinning with soft plastic lures will be the best method, with Berkley and Squidgies being proven brands.

Besides the freshwater fishing the flathead are available inside of the D’Entrecasteaux Channel. The areas around Gordon, North West Bay and Margate are as good as any.

Huon River

The Huon River produces some trophy fish during the early months of the trout season. With all the whitebait in the estuary, the upper reaches are where anglers should concentrate, with the majority of sea trout being caught between Franklin and about 1km above the main road bridge.

The boat angler will do best trolling between the road bridge and the mouth of Mountain Creek, this area being a renowned location for whitebait feeders. Standard trolling techniques using cobras and deep divers will account for plenty of fish.

When fish are feeding on whitebait they are often a frustrating target for fly anglers, so it could be a chance to put the fly gear away and try fishing with soft plastics; a proven method of catching good whitebait feeding trout.

However for the fly anglers who are persistent and dedicated, use cutthroat whitebait patterns such as the epoxy head Tasman whitebait and the BMS variations, an intermediate tip fly line and a long leader.

For the bait angler fishing hardy head or freshwater pike on an unweighted rig is effective.


As a recognised hot spot in the D’Entrecasteaux Channel, Gordon has plenty to offer both boat and land based angler this month.

The humble flathead remains the bread and butter species of the channel with their presence providing the majority of anglers a beautiful feed of one of the finest inshore eating fish available.

Water clarity and temperature can often be a concern during October but these are very hard to predict.

Most techniques will produce fish, however bait fishing and soft plastics are two of the most successful methods.

Bait anglers will do best fishing a paternoster rig with 2 x 1/0 hooks baited with fish pieces, squid, pretty fish or blue bait.

Soft plastic anglers will take fish on pumpkin seed, pearl, smelt, black and avocado coloured plastics; 3” lures being the standard size. Of recent times nuclear chicken has also been a personal favourite. Berkley grubs, power bait and gulps are all effective.

Besides the abundance of flathead, Gordon also produces Atlantic salmon, Australian salmon, garfish, mackerel and mullet, all of which can be caught on lures or bait.

If bait fishing for the above mentioned species a berley trail is recommended. Floating a mussel, pretty fish or prawn through the trail is a sure way to get success.

Lightweight spinning combos are recommended with 4-8lb braid usually being used. A heavier leader is required if juvenile barracouta are around.

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