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 FISHING TASSIE TROUT

TASSIE TROUT TEMPTERS

devil2.jpg (17393 bytes) This month we profile the wild Trout of Tasmania and Bill Beck of TROUT FISHING SAFARIS OF TASMANIA. Bill is a founder member of the Tasmanian Trout Guides Association and has over 30 years experience of fishing in this area. He is competent in all types of fishing, but prefers polaroiding  with a dry fly.

Bill Beck
Trout Fishing Safaris Of Tasmania
ph   (03) 6234 7286
Fax (03) 6261 3059   

 

TASMANIA 
Tasmania is Australia’s island State. It lies 244kms south of the mainland. 
It is about the same size as England with a population of close to 500,000. 
It is famous for it’s pristine, rugged wilderness, as the finish to the Sydney- 
Hobart yacht race and for it’s world class wild trout fishing. 

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BROWN TROUT  
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Description: The Brown Trout has a relatively large mouth and head with a squared  off or slightly forked tail. Colouration varies with individuals, usually 
olive green to dark brown on the back and flanks, with a creamy white  belly. It has black and red spots, often with a lighter halo around each spot. Sea-run Browns, and some lake dwelling fish appear very similar to the Atlantic Salmon with their silvery flanks. 

Size: Browns are commonly caught from 500gms to 3kg, but can  exceed    6kg in some waters. The largest Brown was 29 pounds,  taken from the Huon  River, Tasmania. 

Distribution:    Brown Trout are distributed throughout the higher, cooler areas                         of   Victoria,  New South Wales, South Australia, Southern  Western   Australia and  Tasmania, which has some of the best  wild trout  fishing in the world. 

How To Catch: Browns are usually taken on light tackle. They respond well to Fly Fishing as well as lures and baitfishing. 

Eating Qualities: The Brown Trout provides good, pale pink to red flesh and is very tasty. It is ideally suited to being smoked. 

Emus.gif (3487 bytes)  Fantastic Facts

Two famous Tasmanian exports were Ester Williams and Errol Flynn.

  TASSIE TROUT TEMPTERSnotbill.jpg (16845 bytes)       Trout are not native to Australia. They were introduced by the early English settlers along
with other birds and animals that they had known in England. The two most common species of trout found in Australia are the Brown and Rainbow. Other types of salmonoids have also been introduced but with unspectacular results.
Brown TroutAfter three unsuccessful attempts, on Thursday 21 January 1864, the three masted clipper ship Norfolk set sail from England with a cargo of 90,000 Salmon ova (from the Severn and Dovey Rivers) and 2700 Brown Troutova, obtained from the Itchen River near Winchester, the Wye at Hight Wycombe, the Wey at Alton and the Test at Whitchurch. The voyage took 84 days and the Norfolk arrived in Melbourne on 15 April 1864, where it was found that 80% of the eggs had survived. They were then transported to Tasmania where they arrived on 20 April and taken to the Plenty River, to the site of the first salmon and trout ship Norfolk set sail from England with a cargo of 90,000 Salmon ova (from the Severn and Dovey Rivers) and 2700 Brown Troutova, obtained from the Itchen River near Winchester, the Wye at Hight Wycombe, the Wey at Alton and the Test at Whitchurch. The voyage took 84 days and the Norfolk arrived in Melbourne on 15 April 1864, where it was found that 80% of the eggs had survived. They were then transported to Tasmania where they arrived on 20 April and taken to the Plenty River, to the site of the first salmon and trout hatchery in the Southern  Hemisphere. This was called the Salmon Ponds and had been established here because it had cold water and was a tributary of the Derwent River which would give the young fish a clear passage to sea. The Salmon Ponds Hatchery was built in 1862 and is still open for visitors today. On 4 May 1864 the trout began to hatch, with the salmon hatching the next day. From that day the streams and waters of Australia have never been the same. The biggest Brown trout caught in Australia was 29 pounds and was taken from the Huon River, Tasmania.

Rainbow Trout
Rainbow Trout were introduced into Australia from stocks in New Zealand. New South Wales
received 25,000 Brown, 25,000 Ferox (Loch Leven Strail), and 30,000 Rainbow ova from Wellington in 1894. The actual species of Rainbows is unknown, but they were probably the progeny of New Zealands original shipment of cutthroats in 1878. The biggest Rainbow Trout on record in Australia was 20 ponds, caught in Lake Purrumbeet , Victoria. received 25,000 Brown, 25,000 Ferox (Loch Leven Strail), and 30,000 Rainbow ova from Wellington in 1894. The actual species of Rainbows is unknown, but they were probably the progeny of New Zealands original shipment of cutthroats in 1878. The biggest Rainbow Trout on record in Australia was 20 ponds, caught in Lake Purrumbeet , Victoria.

      Since those days we have been stalking and chasing trout at every opportunity, and as a famous fisherman once said, If fish were smart they would be miserable. Their lives are so short and violent that the power of thought would be a curse.

      I wish someone had said that to me when I was growing up. Instead I was regaled with stories of fish so smart they shouldve been in University. You know the type of thing, story after story about the most recent cunning fish that had managed to elude lure or fly. There is no creature on earth as smart as a trout. And, of course, I, being just a little tacker believed it. I was as silly as a fish in those days.

      When I went fishing, trout would be rising everywhere, but would they take my lure, no fear, they were to smart for that. They would see me coming from miles away. Whole lakes full of trout would disappear for days when they detected my presence.

      This situation went on until I discovered that you needed a microscope to see a trout's brain, it was that small. Conned for all these years. I mean if a trout was really so smart, why does it power of into the distance when it is hooked. Surely it would look for the nearest angler and asked to be released.

     So, after these revelations and the blanket of ignorance being lifted from my emerging brain, my fishing improved, I now knew that I was smarter than the fish and if I wasn't catching any it was my fault and not because the fish was Einstein.flyfish.jpg (16923 bytes)

       And so it went on, I progressed to fly fishing (although I still like to throw lures from time to time) catching plenty of fish, until my education began all over again when I started fishing the Central Highlands of Tasmania.

       Tasmania by any criteria is a world class trout fishery and the lake covered Central Highlands are the jewel in the crown. Most of the Highlands are elevated (600 to 1200 meters), and, being an island, weather systems sweep in from the oceans unhindered. It is well to remember that there is no land between Tasmania and the Antarctic, and the southwesterlies can be dynamite.

      There are three considerations of this from a trout fishing perspective.
1.  High water temperatures are seldom a consideration
2.  The trout of the highlands, and their prey, are used to the weather, so they will still be feeding.
3.  If you want to be comfortable, bring warm and dry clothing. Even in summer you may need gloves, balaclavas, jackets and wet weather gear.

      When I first began to fish Tasmania I had read all the books and articles , and, as I
considered myself a proficient fly fisherman I had high expectations of many big fish.

       This is when my childhood nightmare cane back to haunt me. Despite flogging the area to a froth for three days I failed to realise a fish. Maybe these Tasmanian trout WERE intelligent. I was badly disillusioned. All the articles had failed to mention blizzards and trout that refuse to eat any fly that was ever invented. But it wasnt all bad. It taught me very quickly to polaroid and to search for tailers. And next day I found out that sight fishing is what this area is all about.

       I was standing on the shore of the lake. It was dawn and the tranquility and mystery of the highland lake , just visible through the morning mist, made the senses stir as the first light of day reflected off the water. The subtleties of the surrounding shore slowly materialised as the glow on the eastern horizon slowly increased.

      I perched myself on a rock and scanned the shallow edges for any signs of trout. I scrutinised every blob and shadow but was convinced the trout were to smart for me. Suddenly a gold flash appeared on one of the dark patches. I stared at it until it started to go out of focus. You know how it is when you concentrate on something to long. No more flash. It had to be a rock. I got off my perch and slowly waded out into the shallows. From this angle it looked more like a rock. Anyway it was too big to be a fish. However never being one to be kept wondering, I cast my Red Tag to that end of the rock that was the most likely to be the head. My cast was good and landed to the left of the rock and started to drift over the top. No action. Nothing. Definitely a rock. I started to retrieve my line, and as the line came tight to the fly, it moved an inch, and the rock moved off the bottom to sit under and eye my fly. Almost to frightened to move, I twitched the fly, and the trout, with mouth wide open, and in slow motion snatched the fly, and I, still in a state of shock managed somehow to set the hook. At once the fragile stillness of the highland dawn was shattered by the thrashing of a powerful brown trout and the scream of my reel. The fish
jumped, death rolled, screamed off into the distance and had me down to the backing twice  before I began to feel the tide turning. After about ten minutes, I had him close enough to get a grand brown trout. And he was all mine. In that moment, sight fishing in Tasmaniastclaire.jpg (48579 bytes)
  changed from
something that I had only read about, to something that I would actively pursue for the rest of my days. I saw the old fella lying there and tried to release him, but he was no fool and shied away. I finally got him close enough, removed the fly, and watched happily as he slid away
to fight another day. to fight another angler on another day.

     After this episode I started to catch more fish, but it took a bit of effort. This is not an easy fishery. You need to know where, when and how to fish these highlands. Because of the water clarity the fish can be extremely spooky. But the flip side is that you can see them, and sight fishing is what this fishery is all about. It is not easy fishing. But it is great fishing. To improve your chances I strongly recommend using a guide the first time you fish these waters.

    With sight fishing for trout, we have yet another skill to be learned. This is a skill like any
other. Anyone can learn it. Practise and perfect it. As we have seen trout are not that smart
and people are not that stupid.

       If coming to Tasmania consider these tips.
1.  Use a guide, it will save you time, money and a bruised ego.
2.  Get as much information as you can beforehand. What flies to use etc.
3.  Make sure you try the Tasmanian beer.
      So I invite you to come and experience some of the exciting wild trout fishing of the Central Highlands, because fly fishing Tasmanias lakes is the best I have experienced anywhere.

For more information on fishing holidays in Australia, contact
Garry Goldate
PO Box 287
Elsternwick
Victoria 3185
Australia
ph: + 61-3-9783 1104
fax:   61 3 9783 1017
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 galco98@hotmail.com

 

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