Go time for trout tragics
  |  First Published: August 2016

With water levels having recovered sufficiently, Hydro Tasmania has re-opened all boat launching ramps on Yingina-Great Lake.

Yingina-Great Lake is one of Tasmania’s most popular angling locations. Many ramps were closed in December and January because of low water levels associated with Tasmania’s energy challenges.

While all ramps on Yingina-Great Lake are now open, some Hydro Tasmania boat ramps at other locations remain closed. Boaters and anglers should check Hydro Tasmania’s website at http://www.hydro.com.au/community/recreational-sites.

A boat safety warning issued for inland waters on 8 June has now been rescinded. However, boaters should still avoid Hydro Tasmania dams that are currently full and spilling, avoid exclusion zones (indicated by signs and/or buoy lines and watch for an increased risk of strong currents, floating debris and unexpected navigation hazards.

The main access road to Lake Parangana and Lake Rowallan (Mersey Forest Road) is currently inaccessible because of landslip damage.

The area around those two lakes was damaged by bushfires earlier this year. There’s still timber debris in the lakes as well as unstable ground conditions, with an increased risk of falling trees and tree limbs.

Further afield, recent heavy rains may have affected the condition of some gravel roads. Please stay alert and drive to the road conditions.

Keep an eye on Lake Dulverton

Last year the Southern Midlands Council and IFS got together to improve the fishery at Lake Dulverton. Since then water has been added to the lake as a part of the Midland Water Scheme with an aim to put about 430 mega litres in each year for three years. The plan is to bring back the natural and recreational value of the lake – this of course means fishing!

Over winter the thick strap weed has died back, the water has risen (the winter rains through the midland helped that) and the fish that were stocked in previous years should be fat. The season opens here on the 6th of August so make Lake Dulverton a place to call in and fish as you travel past or your final destination.

boats without motors allowed this season on Talbots

From the start of the 2016/17 season, IFS and Forico have agreed to allow boats without motors on Talbots Lagoon. Talbots is an ideal water for low impact manually driven craft such as canoes, kayaks and sit on tops. These will need to be carried or trolleyed from the car park to the lagoon – around 250m.

Boats with motors, including electric motors, are prohibited.

Anglers must obey all MAST safety regulations and do be aware of the many snags and underwater hazards in the lagoon.

IFS and Forico are confident that being able to use a boat without a motor will increase angler access right across the water yet maintain the natural values of the lagoon.

Lake Crescent set for another good season

During winter, 700 adult brown trout were moved from the fish trap at Liawenee into Lake Crescent. The fish averaged 1kg and will soon grow bigger because of the lake’s great food supply.

These 700 fish top up a fishery that has performed well over the last few years. Celebrated for its big brown trout, Lake Crescent can be a little difficult to fish until you get to know it. Give it a go and you might well catch the fish of a lifetime.

This recent rain is setting the lake up for another good season with water quality expected to improve even more and the marsh areas to be flooded for spring.


St Georges Bay at St Helens has taken a battering with the rains in June, with a lot of freshwater entering the system. There was also a fair bit moving down in July. It doesn’t seem to have affected they way it fishes too much, and has produced some good fishing.

Flathead are such a staple of the area and they continue to improve. Targeting them on soft plastics is really good fun and a great way to feed the family. While targeting the mini crocodiles, you may also come across some nice trevally. These are great fun on light gear and can be found in the deeper channel edges. Australian Salmon and snotty trevally have also been found in good numbers and are keeping anglers amused.

Out the front the tuna were off Merricks in early July in good numbers. It will be interesting to see if this keeps up through August. We won’t know if there aren’t any boats out looking, and there is a good group of locals who are keen and enthused. Broadbill swords are still being targeted, but this is weather dependant.

Swansea is the gate swing for some sensational fishing in the area. The Swan and Little Swanport rivers are legendary bream fishing waters, with many other species worth targeting when in the area. I went fishing in the Swan earlier in the year and really enjoy it. It’s just another area in Tasmania that we just take for granted. The scenery and the fishing is something we should be very thankful for.

The other jewel in this area is Schouten Passage and Island. This area is still holding school-sized bluefin, with reports in early July of some jumbos being boated.

Storm Bay and North West Bay

There’s plenty of bluefin are still being caught in Storm Bay with anglers having success trolling both skirts and divers.

The fishing off Variety Bay has been very productive over the last month or so, with lots of school-sized bluefin being caught in close around the salmon farm and just south of it. The fish are very hard to entice. If using skirts, letting them back a long way and staying wide of the bust ups and drawing the lures through them reduces the risk of spooking them. Increasing your boat speed and not giving them anytime to change their minds is also a good idea.

Plan B can be to sneak up sea of the feeding school and as they bust up and cast a metal slice over the top of them and wind like mad.

Some nice sized Atlantic salmon reaching 3kg have been caught in both Storm Bay and North West Bay recently. Anglers have been having success using soft plastics and small hardbody minnows. Although a boat does help, these fish are still accessible from the shore and it could be worth trying your luck off either Dru Point or Safcol Jetty.

On the Australian salmon front, a fair amount of whitebait has pushed into North West Bay recently and this has attracted some large schools of Australian salmon, which are easily accessible from the shore. A trio of local anglers were able to catch their bag limit in just under an hour casting small minnow style soft plastics and hardbodies off the end of the jetty at Dru Point boat ramp.

Bream have been on fire in the Browns River. Anglers are having success on all sorts of methods including bait, casting soft plastics and hardbodies, and even fly fishing.

Anglers using bait and plastics have been catching quite a few mullet up to 30cm as by-catch while chasing bream. I strongly suggest you do not eat the fish out of Browns River, however they do make great baits when targeting fish such as flathead, gummy sharks and bream.

The Huon River is a great place to head for early sea runners and resident fish, which often feed on white bait and lamprey.

The Derwent also isn’t a bad option in August, and often fishes well for those using hardbodies around Norske Skog and New Norfolk.

Pedra Branca

The tuna season seems to be similar to the last one, where we caught fish right through August. There was some very settled weather in July and many crews took advantage of it. Watching the weather sites is a good idea before taking a trip into this area. If you do get out, it’s a big day, but when the fishing is on , it can be spectacular. The added bonus is the stripy trumpeter fishing. Once you have bagged out on bluefin and have them nicely iced down, you can turn to having a deep drop.

Luckily at Pedra, you don’t have to drop too deep and fish can be found from 50-70m. There is a massive amount of rock tables and reef sections to try your luck on, and having a good sounder will make your day a winner. Remember that trumpeter season closes for the two months of September and October.

The Neck

The peninsula continues to fire and looks like it will have a long season again this year. The fish are in close and the action can be only 10 minutes from Pirates Bay. The area off Waterfall Bay has produced fish all season and has given up a good few jumbo-sized specimens.

Acres of options is what I would have described in June and July, and this shouldn’t change for August. The area has something to offer in most weather conditions and the water movement from the many points and rock islands can fish well even when calm.

Those with smaller vessels can venture out of Fortescue Bay and find themselves right in the thick of it in no time. Traditional lures have been going well, but overcast conditions have had anglers thinking outside the square with colour combinations. Light blue lures with a pearlescent or lumo under skirt have claimed some good fish. The train of thought has been to run these lures wide and long out of the wash and have their colour and underskirt really stand out.

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