A guide to some of our favourite trout fly fishing waters in Tasmania's stunning Central Highlands location.
The Central Highlands of Tasmania is home to Tasmania's famous trout fishing lakes and boasts some of the best trout fly fishing found anywhere in the world.
Tasmania presents a great opportunity for trout fly fishing while being completely immersed in stunning, wild landscapes that are within a short distance of our cities – as the host to the 2019 World Fly Fishing Championships, the Central Highlands of Tasmania is on the bucket list for many fly fisherman around the world.
Through our experience and passion for trout fishing in Tasmania, we've compiled a quick list of some of the best trout fly fishing locations near the Central Highlands area.
If you are interested in a guided fly fishing experience to the Central Highlands, we are more than happy to assist with all aspects of transport, fly fishing equipment, meals and accommodation - view our packages and get in touch today!
Some of our favourite trout fly fishing locations near the Central Highlands of Tasmania include:
1. Great Lake
One of Australia’s largest natural freshwater lakes, home to the village of Miena which many anglers use as an accommodation base to fish the range of lakes in the area.
All forms of trout fishing are practiced on Great Lake throughout the year, however with our particular interest being in fly fishing, there are some fantastic options here.
Early in the season (especially after a wet winter/spring) when water levels are high, trout can be found ‘tailing’ in the shallow, flooded margins of the lake which provides excellent (and often frustrating sight fly fishing) as well as good options for blind casting into likely water with woolly buggers, streamers and small fur flies.
Another fly fishing highlight of Great Lake is midge fishing on calm and warm mornings. After a still night, midge fall in large numbers and whilst still calm, and before the sun gets too high, trout can be found ‘midging’ (rising multiple times in short succession to take as many of the small insects as possible). Again, this method of fly fishing can be frustrating and casting accuracy is very important to achieve success.
The fly fishing opportunity that Great Lake is potentially most famous for is an event called ‘shark fishing’. This is one the most exciting and productive fly fishing opportunities found anywhere in Tasmania. This method involves using a boat to move around the lake to find ‘wind lanes’ (long narrow columns formed by the prevailing wind) which traps a large concentration of food and attracts feeding trout. Fish are sighted from the front of the boat rising in the wind lanes and an accurate cast must be made quickly to get the fly within the feeding zone of the trout. This type of fly fishing is totally visual, a quality craved by many fly fisherman around the world.
2. Arthur's Lake
One of Tasmania’s most popular and well-known fly fishing destinations, Arthur's holds an incredible population of wild brown trout, which naturally recruit each year by spawning in one of the many small streams and creeks feeding into the lake.
All trout fishing methods are permitted on Arthur's Lake, however fly fishing provides particularly good results.
Early in the season, ‘loch style’ fly fishing is very productive. This involves drifting with the wind in a boat and casting down wind to cover new water constantly. Many anglers fish with multiple fly rigs which increases catch rates. Whilst the water is still cold early in the season, wet flies are the chosen patterns and particular variations include shreks, mcgoos, woolly buggers and other streamer type flies.
As the weather warms, Arthur's has historically produced some the best dry fly fishing in the Central Highlands and anglers would generally have little trouble catching ten or more trout in a day. Given its shallow and weedy bays, there is large habitat for a variety of insects to hatch including mayfly, beetles, caddis, damselfly and small midge. Hatches of mayfly have been more difficult to find on Arthur's Lake in recent years, however fly fisherman all around Australia are hopeful of experiencing the dry fly fishing that Arthur's is capable of again in the near future.
3. Penstock Lagoon
Penstock Lagoon is a very shallow and weedy lagoon, which offers a variety of trout habitat from large marsh plains to deeper rocky and forested shores. Reserved as a fly fishing only lake, it has quickly become one of the most consistent and best fly fishing locations in Tasmania.
Excellent fly fishing is available at all times of the trout fishing season on Penstock. Early in the season when lake levels are high, fishing wet flies either from a boat or shore based will be extremely productive.
From November onward as the water temperatures increase, mayfly hatch prolifically across the lagoon and trout can be found feeding on all stages of the small insects life cycle. Fishing with dun and orange spinner imitations provides fantastic sight fishing and anglers should closely observe the size and stage of mayfly the trout are targeting to increase success.
4. Little Pine Lagoon
Another fantastic fly fishing only lagoon in the Central Highlands. ‘The Pine’ as it's known by the locals, is shallow and weedy and sustains a large population of wild brown trout. Being self-sustaining, there are trout of all sizes, ranging from half a kilogram to in excess of three kilograms.
Little Pine is very well known as one of the best locations to find tailing fish early in the season when water levels are higher. Trout move into the shallow weedy shorelines and search busily to find small aquatic prey such as frogs, tadpoles, scud and snails. Catching these trout requires a stealthy approach, subtle accurate casts and patience. Fly fishing to these fish can be frustrating but is highly rewarding and satisfying when successful.
Little Pine Lagoon produces prolific mayfly hatches during the warmer months and is a highlight of the trout fishing season. Large trout can be seen cruising just below the surface of the water, hunting emerging mayfly nymphs. Imitation fly patterns of this mayfly stage are very successful.
Loch style fly fishing is popular throughout the season, fishing with a variety of fly patterns to suit the conditions on the day. Wet flies are productive throughout the season, with mayfly nymph and dry fly patterns successful from November onward.
5. Woods Lake
A remote and stunning highland lake, providing good fly fishing throughout the trout fishing season.
Fed by the Upper Lake River, Woods Lake has an amazing population of wild brown trout which naturally recruit each year, sustaining fish numbers and producing exceptional fly fishing.
Early in the season, wet fly fishing from both drifting boat or shore based wading is most productive, with trout looking to regain their condition after the spawning season by aggressively targeting streamer style wet flies imitating the small native galaxia present in the lake.
As the weather warms and water temperatures increase, weed growth in the lake becomes extensive and various insect hatches are more common. Hatches of duns, spinners and damsel fly are all stable food sources for the trout and provide excellent dry fly fishing opportunities.
6. Nineteen Lagoons
Part of a larger World Heritage listed area, the nineteen lagoons is a series of small lagoons and tarns, which produces some of the best sight fly fishing anywhere in the world.
Being located just a short drive from Liawenee, the Nineteen Lagoons is the easiest area to access of the world famous Western Lakes.
Access to the area is generally limited early in the season due to unfavourable road conditions, however from spring onwards, the is fantastic fly fishing options available. With higher water levels early in the season, fish can be seen tailing along the edges of the lagoons and will require a great deal of patience and good casting accuracy to fool.
As summer approaches, bright blue sky days and light winds produce the perfect conditions for sight fishing. This involves walking slowly and quietly through knee deep water and searching for trout cruising along looking for food. Once sighted, casts need to be accurate and subtle. The experience of watching a wild Tasmanian trout rising to take your dry fly is one that will not be forgotten.
Want to know more about trout fly fishing around Tasmania's Central Highlands?
Through his wealth of experience over 15-years, Trout Tales Tasmania founder Matt Stone has accumulated a deep knowledge of fly fishing across the state, but also a respect for how stunning Tasmania is to experience.
If you're after more information on fly fishing locations near the Central Highlands, feel free to get in touch with Matt - or if you're after an all-inclusive, unique and highly personalised guided fly fishing adventure, check out our fly fishing packages today.