Tasmanian trout fishing seasons calendar

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Tasmanian trout fishing is seasonal, both in the legal sense, and in that conditions change through the year.

The island has four distinct seasons, along with the vagaries of changing annual weather patterns.

Lowland waters are warmer than highland waters, and tend to start fishing earlier.

Highland waters might be a better choice when hot summer conditions hit lowland spots.

Annual rainfall plays a large part in determining fishing quality, as well as previous recent spawnings, stocking, cormorant numbers, and more.

Some Tasmanian waters are legally fishable all year, so there is always somewhere to enjoy the sport.

Spring trout fishing

Most Tasmanian trout waters open on the first Saturday in August. This follows the spawning period. Brown trout spawn first, followed by rainbow trout. This can be a good time to fish the lowland
waters, as highland waters will have harsh weather.

Nonetheless highland fishing can be good if you pick your weather. After brown trout have spawned they are usually hungry.

Rainbow trout spawn later but are also aggressive at this time.

In lakes the trout are often feeding at this time in the shallows by “tailing” with their heads down.

Late winter and spring is when sea run trout are caught in numbers in river estuaries as they chase whitebait and juvenile eels and lamprey.

Summer trout fishing

This is when dry fly fishing on highland waters is at its best.

The shallow edges of lakes fish well but usually only in the early mornings. Look for tailers and midge feeders as the sun rises.

For boaters, later in the day wind lane fishing can be productive during midge hatches.

Rainbow fishing can be particularly exciting around the wind lanes.

Look for mayfly hatches for the best dry fly fishing. Weather will play a large part in the type of fishing you do. Avoid very hot days.

Sight fishing in the shallow waters can be done all day, but is best in mornings and when it is overcast.

Look for lake banks with high trees that provide a period of long shadows in the morning.

In the evening an insect hatch might get fish feeding again at dusk.

Streams start running lower in summer, how much will depend on rainfall, but insect activity will generally increase, especially when there are warm nights.

By February river levels usually hit the lowest point and overgrown riverbanks that are otherwise mostly inaccessible such as along the Huon will fall below the scrub line, exposing pebble shores and shallows that can be walked and waded – however this can change very quickly with rainfall.

In these low water conditions, pick overcast days. The really big river fish will be mostly out and about at night.

Autumn trout fishing

The mayfly hatch slows down in March but midge and beetles become the new attraction.

All the best known lakes are worth a try. By late March and April try sight fishing for trophy trout chasing bait in the shallows.

When seasonal rainfall has been poor, choose rivers that have a reliable environmental flow from an upstream dam.

Winter trout fishing

Trout waters are mostly closed from the end of April, but some are open all year.

If you plan to fish the winter you will need appropriate clothing, including neoprene waders, not the thin PVC type.

Rivers will usually be flowing hard, waiting for the next push of spawning fish in April.

Winter fishing can be good, but it can be very cold. Lowland waters are the logical choice.

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