Fishing in Tasmania Celebrates 150 Years in 2014

Tasmanian Odyssey is delighted to be the only UK representative of the Trout Fishing Guides and Lodges of Tasmania, TGALT.  With my combined knowledge of travelling around Tasmania for more than16 years and my personal access to the island's top fishing guides, lodges and wilderness huts, there is simply no one who can create a better tailor made fishing trip to Tasmania for you - no matter whether you are a complete novice, a 'trier' seeking to dip your toe in the water, or an expert angler looking for the ultimate angling thrill.  

In the year that Tasmania celebrates its 150th annivesary of bringing brown trout to the Southern Hemisphere from the UK, there are some fantastic offers thanks to the generosity of the guides and lodges who want to take their story to the world. The season starts in September, Tasmania's early Spring, and runs through to April/May - the lovely, balmy autumn.

Ask any well-travelled fisherman or woman to name their dream fishing destination, and probably without hesitation, if they have fished there, it will be Tasmania (the chances are some pretty well known names will have slept in the same room as you in very recent times but they like to keep their favourite fishing spots under their hat!)

Not only is Tassie regarded by experts as the trout capital of Australia, but with its world-renowned lake fishing, lowland rivers, pristine streams and remote wilderness areas of indescribable beauty, there is nowhere else in the world like it.

The accommodation is as varied as the fishing, from the delightful convict built Somercotes Lodge at Ross with its cosy cottages (ask for Billy Connolly's cottage!) to chic 28 Gates Farmstay, the Central Highlands Lodge, the luxurious Art Deco Tarraleah Lodge with its fantasic whisky selection or the more informal but charming self contained Cottages, and the stunning, remote RiverFly Wilderness Huts on the edge of the uninhabited and World Heritage listed Walls of Jerusalem National Park.

The Derwent Valley was the site of the first successful introduction of wild brown trout to the Southern Hemisphere, with ova successfully carried from England to Tasmania aboard the clipper "Norfolk" in 1864 after two unsuccessful attempts. The few wild brown trout that were reared and released went on to thrive in the pristine Tasmanian environment and their protégé were later used to stock other waters in Australia and in New Zealand.

Today, wild trout continue to flourish in Tasmania with clear mountain streams and gravelly runs providing ideal spawning and nursery conditions. Brown trout remain pure and free of significant disease and with few natural predators or competing species.

There are in excess of a staggering 3000 lakes to choose from in the Tasmanian Central Highlands alone, most stocked with wild brown and rainbow trout. A lesser known fact is that Tasmania’s river fishing is equally splendid – almost all Tasmania’s towns and villages have either a river or small creek running through them, and almost all are full of wild trout.

Where else in the world can offer such variety, diversity and depth of experience in such a compact landmass? Add to the remarkable wilderness landscape the distraction of Eagles soaring over head, bush filled with Wombats, Bennett's Wallabies, Tasmanian Pademelons (the Wallaby’s smaller cousins found only in Tasmania) and possibly with even Tasmania Devils, not to mention a Platypus or two feeding at your feet, and it is difficult to justify going anywhere else.

And that’s before you have celebrated the day’s catch with some of the most acclaimed wines to come out of the New World, and even a dram of Tasmanian whisky made with the purest water on earth.

The relatively compact if wild nature of Tasmania, which is a wilderness island the size of Ireland, allows you to experience almost every different part of the state in a two week trip – which, given that its dramatic and ever-changing scenery is a draw-card for visitors from all over the world, is justification for going in itself. Yet the thousands of lakes, streams and rivers mean that it is also possible to fish different water every week for the rest of your life.

Tasmania’s accredited guides are also some of the best in the world, ranging from the current Commonwealth Fly fishing Champion, Christopher Bassano, to Roger Butler of Red Tag who has been fishing in Tassie for over forty years. 

Tasmania even has Australia's only professional female fly fisherwoman, Simone Hackett whose mission it is to encourage us ladies to ignore our menfolk's insistence that fly fishing is a male pursuit - apparently the gentler sex are more patient and learn much faster - often enjoying success long before our male counterparts!  Simone will even teach children, so you can make it a family affair (take my word for it, children adore Tasmania thanks to the animals).

With such plentiful accommodation is plentiful from highlands fishing lodges centred in the lakes to eco wilderness, a Small Luxury Hotel or a fully catered or self catered farm stay, a fishing experience can be matched to your desired level of expertise (including those with none at all), comfort, fishing preference, time or budget.

Fishing trips can vary from a day to a week or more and cater for the beginner, novice, intermediate or experienced dedicated angler and can take you into the deepest depths of Gondwanaland, the world that ‘got away’ millions of years ago.

Tasmania is a fantastic sight fishery, be it early spring sea-runners charging the whitebait runs or flooded margins ‘tailing’ trout in the highlands, through mid spring and summer mayfly feeders, to autumn grasshoppers, gum beetles, jassid hatches or leaping damsel chasers it is an intimate trout fishery where stalking your sighted fish is often the norm.

Whether visiting to fish as a single angler or with a group dedicated to fishing from dawn to dusk, you will be spoilt for choice and still leave plenty of new experiences for your return trip – and Tasmania leaves every fisherman or woman yearning for more.

If, on the other hand, you are visiting with an inexperienced or even a non-fishing partner, Tasmania is probably the best destination in the world you could choose, for its unique diversity means that any number of very special wildlife, walking, cultural, heritage or gourmet experiences are within easy striking distance from almost any lake or stream.

In addition to its world quality trout fishing, Tasmania has great estuary, coastal and deep sea fishing around the island.

The east coast in particular from St Helens down past the southern tip of Bruny Island off the south east has some of the best marlin, tuna and mako shark fishing in Australian waters. Accredited members of the Sea Charter Boat Operators (SCBOT) can be found along the coastal towns and offer a range of all sea fishing options.

In the estuaries, some of the biggest best bream fishing you could want is available. Places like the Derwent River, Huon estuary and the east coast areas like Little Swanport and Orford are top spots.

Whatever your choice in fishing, Tasmania has it covered. Down under – down under, a top spot to wet a line!

For more detailed information about the association that incorporates all Tasmanian fly fishing  guides and lodges information click on or call me to arrange your dream fly fishing trip to the place where it all began in the Southern Hemisphere!

Here are some recent news stories about Tasmania's fishing:


And here's what Tassie's top trout fishermen have to say in the 150th anniversary ....


Where to Fish

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