|  First Published: November 2009

With the bream really coming on the chew last month, the Derwent has been a choice location for those that like to mix their bream and trout fishing.

With both species being more spread out this year, angling opportunities have been materialising in many parts of the Derwent system.

There have been good showings of blacks right through the system during November, which is a big change from the distributions of last year. The whole spawn cycle seems to have been slowed down this year, with a lot of fish lagging down-river waiting for salinity levels to stabilise.

The shore based angling has been excellent lately around the prominent points throughout the river. Trout and bream have been aggressively feeding on both hardy-heads and shrimp.

Anglers using hard bodied minnows have done well once active fish are located in the shallows. Ecogear MW 62f, Rapala 6cm Xraps and Ecogear MX 48f have all been very successful lures for the baitfish feeders.

Once the shallow shift is over, probing the drop-offs with plastics on 1/12 and 1/8th jigs has been an excellent back-up plan. Berkley Gulp 3” Fry, 4” Turtleback worms and 6” Sandworms are all proven patterns for this type of work. Stick to natural colours most of the time but try brighter tones like Lime Tiger when fishing deeper than 3m.

By mid December bream should have moved into spawning congregations and consequently anglers need to be mindful of this.

Handle the fish with care and release them as soon as possible. There is no issue with catching the bream at this time of year if anglers’ fish responsibly, but there’s also no real need to flog the schools senseless.


The searunners have continued to be a strong presence on the Derwent as we head into summer. It appears the average size of fish is much better this year. No big ones for me yet but quite a few tackle store regulars have reported on good amounts of well conditioned runners over 6lb.

A mixture of hardbodied minnows (MW62f) and light jig soft baits and also tried the new shrimp blades (ZX35) from Ecogear. I love the feel and look of these lures and so do the bream and trout. Not that surprising, as shrimp are a major bait source in the river especially as the water starts to warm at this time of year.

Other species

There are masses of Australian salmon about the entire region. Metal slice lures have been hard to keep on the shelves recently as anglers buy them by the handful.

These great fighters can be a lot of fun on the fly rod or light spin gear. Fishing light gear increases both the fun factor and hook up rate on bright or calm days. Calamari are also invading the estuary in numbers at present. From now on these delicious table fish are easily taken from just about any jetty or landing from the city to the entrance of the Derwent.

Local Streams

Local streams in the Derwent Valley will settle into their summer levels and patterns soon. With a very good winter and spring behind them, river trout in the region should be in top shape for December and into the rest of summer. A bumper hopper season is on the cards as well with thick lush growth just about anywhere you look.

The Tyenna is a world-class trout stream complete with a better than average sprinkling of wild rainbows. This picturesque clear water stream will continue to produce some very solid trout this summer for both spin and fly anglers.

The Coal River has had months of decent flow, which should hopefully rejuvenate its ecosystem somewhat. The higher parts of the waterway may have some of the brown trout that were stocked into Craigbourne Dam and washed over the spillway.

The increased flow has cleared the stream of weed creating much more fishable runs for anglers to exploit over early summer. Careful stalking of the slower runs should provide some interesting opportunities for a dry fly presentation.

Wilderness Fisheries

This month is also the perfect time of year to plan or do that walk into one of Hobart’s nearby wilderness fisheries. There are quite a few quality alpine trout waters in the Mount Field area and Hartz region fisheries.

These local wilderness waters might surprise anglers with the quality of trout on offer. Lake Belcher, Skinner and Osborne are a few worth trying over the warmer months. Be aware of the weather at all times if heading into these areas, particularly in the Hartz Range. Conditions can turn nasty in a very short space of time, so be prepared and take appropriate clothing.

Lake Meadowbank

Local flyfishers should do well at Lake Meadowbank over the next few weeks, especially if warm settled weather encourages the red spinner hatches.

The shallower section of the lake above Dunrobin Bridge suits this type of angling and is best fished from a small boat. Regular stockings of rainbow trout over the last few seasons will offer anglers some quality fishing when good hatches occur.

Supplementary stockings of atlantics can often happen just prior to Christmas so keep an ear to the ground.

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