Tasmania’s best trout fishing spots

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Tasmania’s trout fishery is primarily lake-based, but there is good fishing for mostly small fish in the island’s streams.

Choosing a “best spot” is a seasonal affair, as annual and short-term weather patterns, the time of year and other factors affect the quality of fishing.

It also depends on what sort of trout fishing you like.

Do you want to stalk fish with a fly rod in a lake’s shallows? Wade a fast stream? Chuck spinners? Or troll? Or catch a single big fish rather than many small ones?

The Tasmanian fishery is divided between highland and lowland waters.

Lowland fisheries tend to be warmer and fish earlier, with alpine conditions experienced in highland locations.

There is a division between brown trout and rainbow trout waters, with only a few waters fishing well for both species.

Where the division is strong, there are usually different open/closed periods as the two species spawn at different times.

Brown trout are by far the dominant species across Tasmania, with very few waters having rainbow trout as the dominant species.

Fewer still are brook trout locations, as brook trout do not compete well with other species.

Atlantic salmon can be targeted in some areas as these fish escape from farm pens and hatcheries, and some large adult fish are released annually by Fisheries to spice up the fishing.

Redfin are found alongside trout at some locations and are a good sport and table fish despite their feral status.

Thankfully carp are not widespread in Tasmania.

“Sea trout”, being trout that have run to sea, or “slob trout” which have set up permanently in an estuary, can be caught around Tasmanian river mouths in late winter and spring when whitebait schools move up the rivers.

Tasmania has many small lakes and streams that are tucked away in hidden locations, and most of these hold trout.

There are also private fisheries.

Some Tasmanian trout fishing spots are historically consistent producers, here’s a list to get you started.

Tasmania’s best trout lakes

Arthurs Lake – a premium location where you can stalk fish around the shallow edges. Quality of fishing fluctuates, but when it is good it is great.
Four Springs Lake – the dammed confluence of four creeks. Some big fish at times.
Woods Lake – a large impoundment located south of Arthurs Lake. Lots of fish to 2kg, all types of fishing styles work with easy bait fishing on northern shore.
Little Pine Lagoon – premier fly fishing water, with great dry fly fishing at times. Best fished by wading.
Craigbourne Dam – open grassy banks just an hour from Hobart. Good fishing but can suffer from low rainfall.
Penstock Lagoon – great highlands fly fishing for brown and rainbow trout.
Bronte Lagoon – a popular fly fishing location.
Bradys Lake – this is part of a chain of three lakes, all with good general trout fishing from boat or shore.
Lake Pedder – loads of mostly brown trout to 1.5kg. Boat fishing is best as shore access is limited.
Lake Gordon – loads of mostly brown trout to 2kg, and redfin. Good shore access for landbased fishing when levels are low.
Lake Burbury – small rainbow and brown trout, usually lots of them.
Great Lake – quality brown and rainbow trout but pick your weather.
Lake Crescent – some of Tasmania’s biggest trout have been caught here. Rainfall dependent.
Lake Sorell – same as Lake Crescent. Has had a problem with carp.
Western Lakes – a small number of trophy trout are taken from the shallow clear lakes of the plateau, including the popular Nineteen Lagoons area. This a very special remote setting, but this is an area only for well-prepared, fit fishos if you are leaving the main tracks.

Tasmania’s best trout rivers

Tyenna River – this Derwent tributary river has a large concentration of fish and some good bankside access. Browns and rainbows.
Derwent River – a large river that usually flows hard, contains some big fish, but bankside access is limited.
Mersey River – fast river which contains browns and rainbows.
Meander River – fast river with good brown trout fishing, and more opportunities at Huntsman Lake in the headwaters.
South Esk – Tasmania’s longest river, although not a powerful one. Best section is between Clarendon and Mathinna.
Brumbys Creek – possibly Tasmania’s best trout stream. A lowland fishery with that provides great fly fishing. Divided into three main sections behind weirs.
Macquarie River – great fly fishing in the quiet backwaters.
Leven River – sea trout in the estuary, with good fast-water stream fishing at Gunns Plains and Loongana. Mostly browns.
St Patricks River – for those who like small streams.

Tasmania’s best sea trout estuaries

Derwent River – plenty of sea trout are caught from Hobart to almost as far upstream as the paper mill.
Huon River – produces some good sea runners, with the area near the town bridge down to Egg Islands as good as anywhere.
Tamar River – Launceston’s river produces sea trout in season.
West Coast rivers – most of these produce sea trout in season. Tasmania’s East Coast is drier and the small rivers are better for bream fishing.
North Coast rivers – some, such as the Forth, produce good sea trout in season.

Tasmania’s best rainbow trout waters

Weld River (southern Tasmania) – small but strongly flowing stream that runs through forests in southern Tasmania. Difficult access, plenty of small rainbows.
Weld River (northern Tasmania) – small stream with rainbows.
Vale River – small rainbows.
Mersey River (upper section) – small rainbows.
Lake Burbury – about 50 per cent of catch.
Great Lake – a small percentage of the catch, possibly around 10 per cent.
Lake Skinner – small lake in the south, long uphill walk, limited bankside access. Stocked only with rainbows.
Other lakes with some rainbows – Bradys Lake, Bronte Lagoon, Pine Tier Lagoon, Lake St Clair, Lake Echo, Lake King William, Penstock Lagoon, Dee Lagoon, Brushy Lagoon, Four Springs, Curries River Dam, Lake Leake, Tooms Lake and Craigbourne Dam and Lake Sorell.

Tasmania’s best brook trout waters

Lake Plimsoll – a specialist brook trout fishery on the west coast. Easy bankside access.
Lake Rolleston – a specialist brook trout fishery on the west coast. Easy bankside access.
Clarence Lagoon – regular brook trout catches.

Other waters – brook trout are occasionally released from hatcheries and show up in associated waters, such as the Huon River.

It is likely that rainbow and brook trout will be first affected by warming from climate change. Highland fisheries will likely be least affected.

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