Trout season open, but saltwater still tough
  |  First Published: August 2012

August is a tough month for the southern Tasmanian angler.

The Derwent and Huon rivers are often running high with regular snowmelt ensuring the water temperatures remain low. This usually keeps the majority of sportfish at bay except for the local trout population.

August will see in the beginning of yet another new freshwater angling season with many anglers converging on the above mentioned hot spots in an attempt to open their account.

Trolling is effective with standard and lead line equipment, cobra style and bibbed minnows both accounting for fish.

Fly anglers will do well when fish can be seen crashing through schools of baitfish.

The shore based angler who concentrates on heavily structured shorelines around Waterloo and Port Huon will have success spinning with soft plastic lures: the closer the imitation to the natural baitfish the better.

Besides the freshwater and brackish water fishing, flathead are the mainstays inside of the D’Entrecasteaux Channel.

The areas around Gordon, Dover and North West Bay are as good as any.

Esperance River

Besides the Huon River, the Esperance and nearby Lune rivers also offer productive trout fishing depending on river flows. Besides trout, both systems also give up the occasional stud bream.

Late August and September when the first run of whitebait turns up the estuary and the upper reaches are where anglers should concentrate. Although the river throughout holds fish I have had most of my luck in the vicinity of Chale Bay.

Those anglers with a small boat will find the fishing above the main road bridge to be very attractive.

Standard spinning techniques using winged lures, spoons, soft plastics and deep diving minnows will account for fish.

Fish feeding on whitebait are often frustrating targets for fly anglers but soft plastics anglers should find themselves getting amongst the action.

Fly anglers who are persistent and dedicated should use cutthroat whitebait patterns and BMS variations, an intermediate sink-tip fly line and a long leader recommended. Due to the odd larger than average escapee Atlantic salmon and the abundance of oyster leases anglers are urged to use at least 10lb tippet.

For the bait angler, fishing the local pretty fish (hardy head) on an unweighted rig is your best bet. These can be either fished as live bait or cast and slowly retrieved.


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

Being a little further down the river the snow melt and winter runoff will not be such a factor, hence flathead remain the bread and butter species. I should mention their numbers are not nearly as prolific as later in the year.

Most techniques will take fish with bait fishing and soft plastics being 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 or bluebait.

Soft plastic anglers will take fish on pumpkinseed, pearl, smelt, black and avocado coloured lures. Of recent times nuclear chicken has been a personal favourite, plus of course the standard fluoro pink or baitfish colour. Minnow patterns are effective as are the increasingly popular Berkley T Tails.

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

If keen on bait fishing, garfish provide a highlight when about in numbers and can be often be easily tempted with a berley trail and floating bait of bread, dough mix or prawn meat.

Lightweight spinning combos will suffice, with 4-6lb. mono being standard. A lightweight long shank hook is recommended. The majority of anglers prefer to fish their bait under a lightweight quill or bubble float.

These tasty sportfish can also be a suitable fly target with small white marabou patterns. Tying a small stinger hook in under the tail of the fly is sometimes recommended as solid hook ups can be hard to achieve at times.

The author with a very tasty D’Entrecasteaux Channel flathead – prime August fare.

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