Trout Fishing in Tasmania, Australia

The island state of Tasmanian in Australia is known as one of the best trout fisheries outside of Europe and North America. The trout in this region are the result of a process that begain in 1852 and became successful in 1865. Tasmania was the first region of Australia to have self sustaining trout populations.

Although not native to the region, their popularity in Europe with Brown Trout and the United States with Rainbow Trout, became something of an obsession for some local fishermen, so much so that they went to the effort of importing and hatchery raising both species until such point as they were able to breed and propagate throughout most of the states rivers.

Tasmania also has wild sea run steel-head trout, which is extremely uncommon anywhere outside the United States and Russia. For these reasons, Tasmania is considered a trout fisherman’s paradise, like no other place on earth, as you can fish for the two large freshwater species and also the salt water sea run trout, which spends most of its time at sea, returning only to breed.

The reason these species were introduced was mainly due to a feeling of home sickness for new settlers, catching brown trout made them feel more at home, as if they were still in Europe, and also the only large locally available fish at the time were a native species called river blackfish, also found in the state of Victoria. While blackfish taste quite good and can be caught on basic baits such as worms, they only produce extremely minimal amounts of eggs, meaning that their breeding population is limited, and hence they are easily susceptible to over-fishing. This minimal egg production also means that hatchery raising them was non-viable, and due to this they were not able to breed them and transplant into many of the local regions people would have liked to fish during their time off.

To solve this problem, brown trout, rainbow trout and European perch (redfin) were all imported. While trout took many years of trial and error, the redfin perch took to the waters without trouble, and to this day populate a large region of waters, mostly areas where trout are rarely found. This is due to the fact the redfin perch has a tendency to attack trout egg deposits, essentially rendering useless the ability for trout to reproduce.

Redfin, however, are still a great fish for all types of anglers, and their abundance means overfishing is rarely a problem. They are also a very good tasting fish, miles away from the salmon taste and texture of trout, for anyone who is not local, the taste could be compared somewhat more like haddock in Europe, and sheep-shead in the USA. They can also be cooked using the same methods as these two species, the most common way is deep fried in a flour batter.

While fishing for redfin is more for the purposes of hobby and less of sport, in terms of sporting fish, Tasmanian wild trout are known to reach massive sizes, far beyond any sizes found in other parts of Australia. Massive fish can be caught from rivers that seem small, and waterways that appear to anglers from other areas of the world as unproductive. The most popular river to fish for trout in Tasmania is called the Tyenna, and runs from Hobart to a mountainous region of the state called the Needles.

This region is not only good for it’s fishing, but the Needles region is a beautiful place to explore, and a little further down the road, there is the extremely large man made inland lakes (via dam creation in mountainous regions) known as Lake Gordon and Lake Pedder, the Mecca of Australian (and potentially world) trout fishing. Many freshwater streams lead to and leave from these two lakes, making these huge lakes a prime spot for migrating fish to pack on some weight and eat well, before returning to the rivers to breed. If you have the opportunity, it is highly recommended to hire a boat and head out onto one of the lakes, where you will be able to haul in trout the size of species normally reserved for sea fishing.

Trout in this region are known to take many kinds of bait, along with many styles of fishing tackle lures, the most popular are the standard trout fishing lures known as spin lures, hard body diving lures, and lipless crank-baits. Also commonly used is soft plastic grubs, soft plastic minnows and also dough based baits such as Berkeley power-bait. Out on the lakes however you will normally have success trolling a couple of lures behind the boat, with a depth of around 13 meters, any diving lure that had a range of between 1.5 and 7 meters is usually preferred. When you come to a stop, you have a few options, to target fish down in the water column, a weighted soft plastic can be useful, allowing it to sink then retrieve, also useful are lipless crank-baits which are cast out and allowed to sink, then once at the correct depth retrieved.

Higher weight trout spin lures can also be used to gain some depth, however in the middle of the day with the weather picking up, trout are known to visit the surface where their main source of food is insects, using any kind of mud eye pattern fly lure or a fluffy patterned fly lure is very successful, and fun fly fishing from the boat. For those who aren’t fly fishermen, lower weight spin lures, cobra style lures such as Tasmanian Devils, and low diving hard body lures or minnow style soft plastics running at a depth of around 1 to 2 meters is often the most productive way to catch trout before the sun goes down.

Tasmania’s trout fisheries are an amazing feat of man made opportunity, regardless of where in the world you are from, if you enjoy fishing for trout, Tasmania is the ideal destination for your next holiday!

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