See plenty of searunners
  |  First Published: September 2013

September on the Derwent River is possibly the best time to be targeting the searunners of the Derwent River at their peak.

It doesn’t take too much for the planets to align during the second month of the trout season to provide some spectacular fishing.

Don’t worry if it does rain heavily and the river would appear to be a dirty brown strong flowing mess, as this actually sparks the bait and searunners into action. Give it just a week to ten days and the fishing is generally even better than before the heavens open. As I’ve said before I’m not sure if it’s the extra flow or the cold blast of fresh water or the freshwater itself but something triggers the run of bait and subsequent ‘runners’ to follow.

Last year the end of September saw a run of massive fish with four beautiful searunners all over 4kg taken in the one week. They were caught on a mixture of hardbodied lures, soft plastics and bait in the dead of the night. It just shows that when these fish are in feeding mode you’re every chance to land one. It’s just a matter of putting the time and patience, making the casts and being in the right place at the right time.

Finding these spots isn’t that difficult, but lady luck will play a part in the fish moving through. The river is always changing and reading the conditions is paramount to improve the chances. Essentially you are looking for channel edges, a small gutter along the front of reeds, rocky points with some flow. It’s here you’ll find the best congregations of the bait and the trout feeding upon them.

When the bait arrives in good numbers the fish often switch focus from other elements in their diet, such as shrimp and crabs, and solely hunt the baitfish from small whitebait to native galaxia whose population also seems to explode around this time and gets even better as the weather warms.

September sees the best fishing typically between the Bowen Bridge and New Norfolk although some exceptional fish come from the lower reaches around Geilston Bay and the Tasman Bridge. I also find fishing late into the night on the run-out tide a very successful method to catch better than average fish.

Tyenna River

Never off the radar at this time of year and rightly so is the Tyenna River. Home to what are arguably the state’s largest fish this small river poses more questions than probably any other waterway in the state. Anglers head here with the mindset of walking away with a river-monster trophy. Most leave with a fish or two but it takes more than one visit here to crack the code and find that double figure fish. Regulars and locals have an uncanny knack of landing multiple fish and it’s just many hours of fishing that opens the secrets of the river.

I’d suggest pencilling in several trips to this water and taking as much as you can from each visit, even the empty handed ones. The IFS has an Angler Access brochure for the Tyenna so grab yourself a copy and head out.

Lake Pedder

I’ll start to cover Lake Pedder in this report as the gateway to the rugged south west is best travelled from Hobart’s northern extremities. Pedder is a stunning place and worth the trip alone to see the place. Recent reports have featured what I would consider larger than average fish with drift spinning producing the best results. Water levels under 1.2m from full will offer some shore access at McPartlans Pass in Hermit Basin but expect to lose a few lures to the submerged tea tree. Once hooked the half rotten timber really doesn’t like to let go.

The huge head of trout here can provide some magic days and although small at times the numbers can more than make up for it. Current reports have fish at the 1kg mark though in regular occurrence.

Craigbourne Dam

Craigbourne Dam was bolstered by an influx of wild brown trout from the Lake Sorell spawning run. They provided good sport towards the end of the closed season and should prosper here with relatively low numbers of fish proving a good supply of food for the introduced trout.

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