Trout at Sea and in Streams
  |  First Published: October 2011

Mid spring usually presents Hobart river trouters with some consistent trout fishing for both Derwent searunners and stream trout throughout the valley.

Persistent rain during the past season, winter and even early spring has created some extraordinary condition in our trout stocks.

While there has been a lot of talk about the massive trout taken early in the season form the Tyenna River, don’t let that fact take your focus from other good streams in the area that should also provide some great angling. The Coal, Styx and Plenty are but a few quality waters that should provide good angling as conditions warm during October.

Don’t discount the fishing that can be had in many of the very small feeder streams that feed the Tyenna above Maydena. These small waterways are full of feisty small trout and this stage of the year is one of the best times to fish them.

The occasional larger trout should be no surprise to those that work these waters thoroughly. Downsizing of your fly or spin gear is not a bad idea when the surrounding cover gets a bit thick, as is often the case when creek fishing.

Try compact hardbodied lures and No1 Celtas as a solid option for lure fishers looking to cover lots of water quickly, while small buoyant dry flies are also good in the afternoons as the creeks settle into warm weather levels.

Suspending weighted nymphs under your dry fly or a yarn indicator is my preferred option during spring when fly fishing. Just about any bead head nymph will do for spring nymphing as the trout don’t get too much of a look at your fly as the current still has some pace to it.

Trout either have to snap at any morsel presented to them by the flow or miss out on a potential meal. This set up plays into the hands of anglers creating an opportunity in every pool on a good day.

Results have been good for sea trout anglers fishing the Derwent estuary over the last two months. August didn’t really live up to expectations as rain coloured the river water a bit much for good angling, although some excellent trout were taken for those able to get out when the water did improve.

The Upper Estuary below New Norfolk, Bridgewater and Otago Bay have all been consistent areas to try for a sea or estuary trout lately. Overall, a solid run of sea trout so far has resulted in plenty of happy anglers.

My big tip for October is to look for the big bait to find the big fish and fish with 4” plastics as the larger trout are looking for a decent snack.

Things start to warm up on the bream front this month as well with strong aggregations of spawning bream in some areas. Those wanting to fish for bream in the upper Derwent above Bridgewater are now required to hold a trout licence when fishing above the highway bridge.

With bream spawning over the next couple of months it is important for anglers to employ sustainable fish practices releasing all fish where they are taken.

Soft plastic baits and hardbodied lures are both suitable bream offerings during spring but many prefer the softies as they easily get down to the deep holding fish. Worm and prawn pattern soft baits are popular choices for local breamers and many will be eager to try out the new Ecogearaqua Bream Prawns. I’ve had some great sessions with these lures over the last two months, as the bream seem to love the scent and are very keen on them.

While the bite does tend to be all or nothing at times with spawners, if you can see bream in the area that you are fishing it’s probably best to stick around for a while as they will bite at some stage. Dead sticking or inert soft plastic retrieves seem to work best when fishing to schooled bream that are a bit timid.

In contrast to this I find a more aggressive rip and stop motion with diving minnows or small jerk baits is preferred when flicking hard lures. Perhaps the bream strike at fish like lures as a territorial response rather than a feeding type attack. Quite often you will hook bream on the face during October as they swipe or head butt the lure, so razor sharp hooks is a must

Be sure to handle the big fish with care (wet hands/wet deck) and don’t forget to take a camera as there are usually some real beasts about this month.

Calamari will now start to become a lot more active as the water temps rise over that magic 14ºC mark. Sea grass beds are what I look for and luckily Hobart anglers don’t have to go too far to find some good examples of this sort of habitat. Pirates Bay, Tiger Head, Dennes Point and Opossum Bay are all great spots to test your squiding skills.

Rigging light will produce much better results when fishing through the middle of the day which is a much more comfortable time of day to be out on the water. Fine braided mainline and a 6lb or 8lb fluorocarbon leader is ideal for casting a range of jig sizes in and about the grass beds.

I find the end of the run-in and the start of the run-out are both good times to find the calamari on the chew. And they are very good on the chew as well, especially if dispatched in the right way. An ice slurry or squid spike will mean a tender fillet when you get back to the kitchen. Ask at you tackle store for more info on how to use a spike in the right way.

Those that haven’t used the higher end jigs are definitely missing out, as these quality lures will get the squid to commit to a strike on the tough days. Try one from the Fish League, Yo Zuri or Yamashita stables as these are all very good lures.

Last but not least, don’t forget about the spring run of salmon in the Derwent or nearby headlands. It happens every year and provides some fun fishing for all. Have a go with some surface poppers or even a small white deceiver fly when they are about in numbers. Otherwise your standard metal slice or mid weight soft plastic will catch plenty.

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