Derwent keeps the home fires burning
  |  First Published: July 2012

As we move in toward winter, trout anglers used to lay dormant waiting for the first start of August when we could once again break out all the gear in pursuit of our sport.

These days year round angling is a real proposition with the Derwent open to angling from below the Bridgewater Bridge in Hobart’s northern reaches.

Over the season proper the trout have remained a genuine target species right through the system where once they would have really started to taper off as we hit November and the appearance like clockwork each year of hundreds of small trout around takeable size. This used to be ok as it was at this time bream would once again feature as they moved back into and up the system to spawn around December and January.

As the Derwent is my back yard, I have a local ramp just a one minute drive from my home, you learn and notice these changes each year. This is the first season I can recall where you could head out on any day and target a trout somewhere in the river. The size range really varied too with plenty of smaller fish, quite a good amount of 1kg specimens and the sprinkling of genuine solid trout at 2kg and up.

In autumn several nice trout were caught in the mid reaches at 2kg and 3.5kg. I also dropped a very solid fish that hit a Smith’s Panish hardbodied lure at the boat in skinny water around the same time. Fishing in late May also yielded a couple of nice trout around the Bowen Bridge just under the 1kg mark.

As we move through June the trout start to appear in bigger numbers and things start to get interesting. Hit the rocky shores and points around the river will start to produce some top conditioned trout. The sea-runners will be featuring in the lower river but do not really make up numbers in bags until the season proper starts in August higher up stream.


Bream are really starting to move out of the river now after the first good rain and snowfalls lowered the water temperature considerably. A recent outing found the going pretty tough with a long day just producing a dozen fish or so. Most were small around the 30-34cm to the fork with the best a solid 38cm. We found most fish holding deeper sitting around 2m deep although a few were pulled from the traditional rocky shores.

Smaller Hawk Viby’s were doing the trick in black and gold colours with larger minnow lures hard to the shores working ok. Soon though the bream will be very difficult to target with very few numbers remaining.

It’s at this time Browns River at Kingston starts to get a lot of attention. This small system is very productive but unfortunately many disregard the no consumption health warnings in place for Derwent bream and flathead. Most of us do the right thing but it is very hard to educate those who do not want to listen.

My advice if you see people doing the wrong thing, taking too many or undersized fish, do not approach them but give the Fishwatch number a call - 0427 655 557.

Craigbourne Dam

Another option for the year round angler in the south is Craigbourne Dam with a recent liberation of some very solid Atlantic salmon. Many of these fish are well into double figures in the old measure. Large vibrating bibbed lures in bright colours work well. The old Pumpkinseed Gulp is very hard to beat and if the water is dirty look for a darker colour, New Penny or Rainbow can give a reasonable contrast.

Game Fishing

The game fishing scene has been steady without setting the world on fire. Schoolies are everywhere with loads of fish in the 15-30kg range. A few 50kg bluefin were landed recently but the jumbos have been quiet with just a handful caught since last report. Big numbers of boats have been out on the water, one day 34 boats returned just 12 blues in prime conditions.

All the usual haunts have returned fish, the Pillar and Tasman Island, Hippolyte Rock and Dart Banks all getting plenty of mentions. At the time of writing numbers were very thick south of the Friars at Bruny with the Southport ramp very busy through late May.

Pedra Branca will start to see further interest in late June and July with prime fishing in the right conditions for larger trailer boats.

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