2017/2018 Tassie Trout Season Opening Outlook

By Simon Taylor 08/02/2017

Compared to last winter’s record high rainfall; to date Tasmania has experienced a dry and settled winter, with few large floods and below average rainfall across much of the state. The good news is that the long term forecast is predicting above average rainfall for most of the state throughout August. If this eventuates, it will be perfectly timed with the new trout season opening on August 5th. The hope of freshly rising lake levels drawing fish into the shallows and solid flows throughout the state’s rivers throughout late winter and into spring should set things up well for a good start to the new season.

There were lots of ‘quality’ fish available last season out in the far Western lakes.

Those anglers keen to fish in the highlands over the first month of the season will have to contend with cold weather and low water temperatures. For the fit and keen, the 19 lagoons always fish surprisingly well. Walking from the gate can provide some great fishing, with popular waters like Double Lagoon, Carters, First and Augusta / Howes Bay Lagoon being excellent places to start. Flies like Rabbits, Woolly Buggersand Muz's Fuzzle Buggers will catch fish.

Muz's Fuzzle Bugger Black

Muz's Fuzzle Bugger Olive

Closer to the road, places like Bronte, Woods, Penstock, Little Pine and Crescent (big fish and fishes best before Christmas) will be great waters to fish in the highlands. Although early in the season, Little Pine and Bronte Lagoon should have fish feeding on shore. With evenings usually being more productive early season, as cold nights can cause the shallows freeze overnight, keeping fish out until temperatures creep up during the day.

For those who like to fish Loch style, sinking lines like the Airflo Sixth Sense Di range and Intermediates are ideal to fish over productive weed beds early season. Remember to experiment with your retrievals to see what is working, but often a slow strip or figure eight is the most effective early season, with the colder water making fish less enthusiastic to chase! Woods Lake, Penstock Lagoon, Little Pine and Arthurs Lake will be great places to practice this technique early; and don’t forget to ‘hang’ your flies before lifting out of the water!

Airflo Sixth Sense Sinking line

Away from the Central Plateau, stillwaters like Tooms, Four Springs, Huntsman, Talbots and Lake Leake are at their best pre-Christmas, and can fish very well from opening day. By mid-Spring Mayfly hatches will be in full swing, stimulating exciting dry fly action over many of these waters. Both Four Springs and Talbots Lagoon fished very well last season with some very nice fish being caught. The Mayfly hatches and Spinner falls on both waters were outstanding, and combined with high populations of frogs, tadpoles and mudeyes, will help the resident browns and rainbows stack on condition quickly.

If you are keen to fish moving water, hitting a small headwater creek or stream opening day could see your first fish coming to the dry fly and is also a great way to avoid other anglers. ‘Twig’ fishing these types of waters is great fun and can be a rewarding option from opening day. Start your day with a dry fly and nymph dropper, you may be surprised how many fish will rise to the dry!

If we do get some good falls of rain predicted for August, the flooded backwater fishing of rivers such as the Meander, South Esk, Macquarie and Mersey is fantastic fun. ‘Dead end’ backwaters (no flow / current) are best, and flies like Black Bettles, black Woolly Worms and worm fly patterns are hard to beat!

After last year’s high rainfall, the ‘back’ Western lakes should be fantastic again this season. Fish in the ‘back lakes’ were in terrific condition last season, and the headwaters of places like the Pillan’s, Julian’s and Powena Creek systems will have some lovely fish available later in the season if you put in the time and effort.

Good luck!