What a magnificent searun trout season we have had on the Derwent this year.
Every year I seem to say it’s been the best one yet but this time around it’s been extraordinary. The average size of the fish has been impressive. The average weight in my own bag has exceeded the 1kg mark and I’m sure for many others they too have had better seasons there previously experienced.
Some very impressive fish were caught and none better than early spring when in the same week four magnificent searunners over the 4kg mark were taken. Stuart Harwood landed a truly magnificent female sea runner at New Norfolk after dark that tipped the scales to 9lb 8oz in the old scale. This fish was prime. You would not see a better example of a large fish in my opinion.
Just a few days later Matt Sherriff took a 9lb 4oz fish that took an hour to land on 3lb straight through fluoro. The fish itself at that size is an awesome catch but to land it on 3lb a feat in its own.
Another fish topping 10lb in the old scale was landed at the Esplanade, New Norfolk on the Saturday evening and the same night a junior angler, Brad Townsend took a 4.010kg brown on a whole sandy (roach) at New Norfolk also.
The Derwent certainly lived up to and probably surpassed my expectations as the premier early season water in the state. Last year the fish remained in the lower reaches right through the season. In the past we would see an abundance of small barely-sized fish appear around November. I’d hope that this current season continues on the trend of last year offering some year round trout fishing options.
Areas worth targeting are the shores of Otago Bay, the lower side of Cadburys Point right into Windermere Bay and the shoreline from Rosetta High School north to MONA.
The usual lures will do the trick, anything in a baitfish colour or profile should entice a take if the fish are there.
The tributaries of the lower Derwent offer some magic small stream fishing also. While a lightweight fly rod is great for the summer months one can find fish now on ultra-light spin gear while these streams are still carrying some good water. Hobart Rivulet and New Town Rivulet both probably the pick of the bunch. I have seen some far better than average fish very high in North West Bay River while mountain biking in the very end of the Pipeline Track. It’s a long way in under the base on the southern corner of Mt Wellington but fish to 1.5kg were sighted. Well worth a look before water levels fade.
Southern anglers are also starting to get a little excited as bream are now moving from by-catch for the trout anglers to target species as they start to move through system in preparation for summer spawning. A big tide can find the bream up in the skinny water but generally look for the deeper rocky shores and weed lined bank runs in around 1-2m at this time of the year.
Structure will give up the fish but it’s not entirely necessary in November as the fish are starting to school and move about.
I must say over the first few months of this season it’s been great to see so many people finally opening their eyes to the Derwent fishery. Given the size and condition of trout in many of our highland lakes it’s little wonder why people are fishing this impressive water. It’s the best trout fishery going around for August through October and the biggest bream in Australia for much of the remaining months. If anyone wants to dispute that just take a look at the ABT bag records - no contest.
A little further afield Craigbourne Dam is still receiving regular stockings of farm-reared fish. They are providing plenty of sport and offer something to quite a few anglers. You can keep up to date with the latest stocking info on the IFS web site - www.ifs.tas.gov.auReads: 1971