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Early Christmas for Tassie anglers
  |  First Published: November 2007



All hail November! It is one of my favourite Tasmanian months for salt and freshwater fishing. November is dry fly time – big salmon, stonking bream and just plain good fishing!

Freshwater

November is tops for trout! The lakes are at their spring best, and while it is still a tad early for good mayfly fishing, the beetles and tailing fish should keep all but the purest anglers happy. Add to that some awesome spin fishing action and you will be rarely disappointed.

October’s wet and cold conditions have laid the perfect foundation for spring action, especially in the lakes. Great Lake has risen to a better level, and while Arthurs is still quite low, the shallow waterweed beds have settled to produce some great action fishing to cruising fish on the lookout for stoneflies and caddis. Beetle falls are good in November, and Echo, Dee, Bronte, King William and St Clair lakes provide great venues for these little food bombs! Arthurs and Great Lake have a good sprinkling of beetles too. This is where a good pair of polarising sunnies pays off.

Spin fishers are right in the thick of the action during November, with soft plastics and hard-bodied lures all performing well. Cobras pulled through the stands of dead trees in Arthurs Lake will always yield a fish or two, and plastics like 3” stick baits and 2” curl tail grubs fished deep and slow will be dynamite. Just remember with the plastics to let the fish eat it. Trout are timid biters at times, but will keep chewing on the plastic, so drop the rod tip - pause and gently feel for it –WHACK!

The streams are starting to settle from consistent if not heavy rain in the early part of October. The St Pats is one of the true trout gems, and small dries such as the Elk Hair Caddis, Royal Wulff and F Fly do very well. If in doubt, hang a small nymph or wet beetle a foot or so below. The top end of the South Esk is great at this time of year as well – balmy spring afternoons will see heaps of fish searching the surface for a feed. I am getting all twitchy just thinking about it!

The dry fly events such as the famous red spinner and caenid hatches are at their peak during November – hopefully the irrigators don’t rape and pillage too much water out of the rivers and allow this incredible event to occur. The Macquarie above the intersection with Brumbys Creek is the traditional spot, but calm backwaters on Brumbys itself can be great, as can the tributary streams such as the Isis and Lake rivers.

Saltwater

The massive run of big Australian salmon continues, with both coastal areas and estuaries seeing plenty of fish. Most of them seem to be on the coast, but within easy casting distance. Depending upon the wind, places such as Croppies Point near Bridport, Eddystone Point and Cape Portland are tops. Big metal slugs and long casts are the order of the day – get it out there and work it back like you mean it! Flicks, pauses, high speed, slow speed – make sure you mix it up. Keep an eye on the drop-offs under your feet too – the fish can be right where you least expect it. If they are in close, drop a big 5 or 6” plastic down.

Bream have been a bit slow of the mark this spring due to some consistent fresh water in most estuaries. The exception has been the Scamander, which is already fishing well to surface lures. The Derwent is getting ready for the fish to start spawning, so look out for some awesome action. Whitebait numbers have been building steadily right throughout October, so both sea run trout and bream will be targeting these little beauties!

Offshore the striped trumpeter are at their peak. One of Tassie’s top charter operators, Rocky Carosi, spent some R&R recently at Pedra Branca and took 26 nice fish between 5–10kg – now that’s good fishing.

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