The Tasmanian summer can be a fickle thing. One day it is beautiful, the sky is clear, the sun is warm and the fish are going nuts. The next day the sky is cloudy, the wind is cold and the fish are still going nuts! February offers visiting anglers the best chance to find consistently good weather and great fishing for the whole range of popular fish species.
The highland lakes are probably at their lowest level for many years. While this means that there are plenty of exposed shorelines and different depths, there are still some excellent fishing opportunities on offer. In Arthurs Lake previously submerged rocky reefs and weedy depths are now within reach of anglers, making for some excellent sight fishing to cruising browns, especially on sunny days. Beetles are starting to make their presence felt, and while we can basically write off this mayfly season, the midges, caddis and other terrestrials are more than making up for this.
Great Lake is also a fantastic bet when the level is low – the amount of stick caddis along the muddy shores has to be seen to be believed, and plenty of fish are chasing them! Top of the water polaroiding is at its peak during February, particularly on days with a warm northerly wind.
The lowland streams are a little low, but hoppers cast into the likely spots will produce some nice fat brownies – lure fishers will fare better early in the morning rather than during the heat of the day. Brumbies Creek has been up and down like a yo yo, making for some unpredictable fishing. Perhaps the better bet would be the St Patrick’s or South Esk rivers.
The saltwater scene in Tassie is as hot as it can get, especially for blue water species. The albacore run started in early January, with some yellowfin tuna reported as well. Northeast of Flinders Island has also seen some striped marlin, and with the fantastic southern bluefin tuna season of last year still fresh in anglers’ minds, we can only imagine how good it will be this season.
Inshore waters are red hot with Australian salmon, particularly at Georges Bay in St Helens. There are some thumping silver trevally along with them, some as big as 50cm. Bream have finished spawning now and are returning to their favourite haunts, such as snags and other man made structures. The Derwent is always a great place for bream, but also worth checking out are the smaller estuaries along the east coast such as the Swan and Scamander Rivers.
The Tamar continues to fish well for all the bread and butter species, and the yellowtail kingfish should be well and truly on song. The east and northeast coasts are great places to find these brawling sportfish – there are even a few lifters in Georges Bay under the schools of Australian salmon – now there’s food for thought!
Neil Grose is a fishing guide based at Rainbow Lodge in the Tasmanian Central Highlands. Neil and his team of specialised guides can offer tailored fishing packages for highland lakes, lowland rivers including raft based flyfishing, and estuary fishing for bream and other great sport fish. Check out the website www.flyguide.com.au or call Neil and Nicole on (03) 6259 8330 for more details.Reads: 549