The end of the closed season is nigh
  |  First Published: July 2013

Three months without being able to seek solace at your local trout hole may seem like a daunting prospect and while part of this is true, the light at the end of the tunnel is nigh.

It shines brightly in the form of fresh runs, shifted pools and fish that have barely seen a soul for long enough that they may just drop their guard. In addition to feeding the fishing addition over winter, July is all about preparation and salivation.


A tale that set tongues wagging recently was a couple of cracking trout caught recently at the Tailrace. While no secret spot, it does drop off the radar for many anglers due to its five-minute proximity to Launceston’s city centre. Basically, water is released from the hydro power station nearby after generating electricity following a 3.3km pipeline journey from Trevallyn Dam (South Esk River).

There are two main reasons trout enter the Tailrace. Firstly, fish see this as any running freshwater and head upstream with the intention to do their thing at spawning time. The second is for food. In addition to the hectic whitebait run here, fish are attracted to the various species of fish and eel that attempt to make their way up into the outflow and are eventually chopped into pieces by the turbines, in addition to the downstream migration of elvers and subsequently, a similar fate.

Double-figure fish are encountered each year and indeed the angler mentioned above landed two trophy fish in one session by fishing with bait at night – One at 7.7kg and the other at 9.5kg, as reported by the local newspaper.


It’s a pretty handy resource to have around, is the old H2O. To date though, winter has been pretty light on in the rain department. Typically, significant drops of the stuff seem to coincide with the start of the season but according to my records, it doesn’t tend to kick in until we are a few weeks in so my tip would be to plan your attack as soon as the season opens!

I’ve had some tasty little sessions on opening weekend by sneaking around tiny little waters fooling hungry trout with the dry fly. Not all fish take the dry but it’s fantastic to polaroid them in high, clear water so early in the season where days are spent taking your time to find something that eventually works.

Don’t get me wrong, rain is good but it does have a tendency to spoil an outing. The right amount of flooding however can trigger feature fishing with fish moving out into flooded backwaters and paddocks to feast on all matters of creepy crawlies and wormy wonders.

I won’t claim to attain masses of knowledge on fishing during flooding conditions because essentially, I’ve had my fair share of frustrations trying to nail the perfect level. I have had some success fishing the Macquarie River, South Esk, Meander and St Patricks rivers. From what I have noted, too much water over a short period can spell and end to any chances of good fishing, whereas a steady and consistent rain helps to gradually penetrate systems and break banks.

I have been on location when the St Patricks River breached its banks one day and it was quite a sight to see. Steady rain had filled the river over several days but not to a stage where it was discoloured. While searching likely spots, we watched as the river trickled into a backwater, bringing with it crystal clear water and not far behind were a dozen or more small trout that began pack-hunting almost immediately. Anything that moved was inspected and we caught a couple of these on Fur Flies. It was sight fishing at its best!

Preparation and Inspiration

Aside from tying flies and buying new gear, one of the coolest things you could possibly do to inspire you for the next season is to explore the newly opened Australian Fly Fishing Museum. It’s located at Clarendon Estate just out of Evandale and open seven days a week.

While clearly a testament to the pioneering days of those passionate gents of yester-year, the displays will not only appeal to fly anglers, but to those with a hint of intrigue in relation to our fishing past, plus those keen to learn about our waterways and the little critters within.

Clean those reels my fellow fisher-persons, mark your maps, pack your bags, re-spool and re-tie those leaders and be sure to give your favourite rods the once over as the new season is almost upon us and preparation is the key success.

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