Lake Pedder, Tasmania

Lake Pedder is a vast impoundment in south-western Tasmania, about a two-hour drive from Hobart.

The lake feeds nearby Lake Gordon with water for generating hydro-electricity, via McPartlan Canal.

Lake Pedder formed in 1971 when a controversial dam was completed and the original much smaller Lake Pedder was flooded.

The Gordon hydro scheme formed Australia’s largest freshwater impoundment. Lake Pedder has a 242 square kilometre area, and Lake Gordon is 272 square kilometres.

Pedder’s water levels are relatively static, but Lake Gordon has regular large drawdowns, exposing much of the bare shoreline. Gordon also often rises quickly.

Both Pedder and Gordon have tannin-stained water that is usually clear enough for lure and fly fishing.

Lake Pedder was famous for fishing in its early years as the trout grew huge on the abundant food supply, and multiple catches of trophy fish were common.

This has since changed.

The lake is still full of trout but they now average 500g to 1kg.

Big fish may exist but they are not common.

The lake is famous for its scenery.

This huge waterbody sees relatively little fishing pressure, and provides a true wilderness experience.

Unfortunately its landbased fishing potential is fairly limited.

What little shoreline is accessible does produce fish.

Boaters must watch the weather as this is alpine country and it gets rough and very cold at short notice.

Most fishing methods work at Lake Pedder.

The lake experiences some insect hatches, unlike Lake Gordon, which fluctuates too much to sustain insect hatches.

Midge fishing and windlane fly-casting works in the daytime.

Early mornings in summer and autumn are the best time for windlane fishing.

Some windlanes can carry many feeding fish.

Fly or lure fishing the shoreline is best in the morning and late afternoon.

Lure or fly type does not seem to be critical.

Trolling over structure often works, as well as deep trolling.

Any location with an inflowing creek is worth fishing.

In the 1980s Pedder’s big trout were often caught at night using surface lures, with braver souls saying winter was the best time to use this method.

One would think that with trout being abundant throughout the lake, there would be big cannibal trout caught.

Trout in Irish and Scottish lakes are known to grow large and prey on other trout, read about the original ferox trout here.

However there does not seem to be a record of a trout bigger than 1.5kg being taken from Pedder in recent times.

Lakes Pedder and Gordon are managed as wild trout fisheries.

Brown trout are the main catch, with a few rainbows.

Angling is allowed all year.

Lake Pedder is within South West National Park.

There are campgrounds at Teds Beach, Edgar Dam and Huon Inlet.

Camping fees do not apply but National Parks Passes are required.

There is a lodge at the lake with accommodation and a heated pool.

There are boat launch sites at Serpentine Dam, Strathgordon, Teds Beach, McPartlan Pass, Edgar Dam and Scotts Peak Dam.

Lake Pedder has two threatened native fish species present, the Pedder galaxias and swamp galaxias. Both have a maximum length around 10cm.

Nearby Lake Gordon has redfin, which may become established in Lake Pedder.

In recent times Lake Gordon has been drawn down to almost empty because of low rainfall, but it rises fast during rain events.

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Tasmanian fishing regulations
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Tasmanian saltwater fishing seasons
Trout fishing spot access programs
Fisheries assessment reports
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Tasmanian lake levels (hydro)
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Tasmanian lake webcams
Tasmanian river flows
Bag and size limits
Private Tasmanian trout fisheries
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