Please select your home edition
Pantaenius FBW Asset 728x90

Tasmanian Atlantic salmon

by Carl Hyland 22 Feb 2018 04:47 UTC
Kerry Bradley with a Craigbourne salmon © Carl Hyland

Tasmania is unique in that the Inland Fisheries Service has allied itself with fantastic partners in the form of some of Tasmania's' top Atlantic salmon producers. These include Tassal, Petuna and Huon Aquaculture who supply the I.F.S with what is usually surplus brood stock.

Whilst this fact is well known and probably not a first anywhere in the world, what it means is that Tassies grass roots anglers and visitors, can now experience the once in a lifetime opportunity of chasing and perhaps, catching a truly trophy Atlantic Salmon of magnificent proportions usually once only read or dreamed about.

There are many, like myself, who whenever the opportunity presents, usually coinciding with the release of surplus brood salmon into selected waters, venture forth with all types of equipment and some of the latest gear, to try and do tackle with these monsters.

These fish are large by anyone's standard and are not easy to catch, which is a matter of much debate. Some say that big salmon will take anything and I'll tell you now, that is not always the case! That is why a lot of anglers go home with an empty bag at day's end-do a little homework on this species and you will reap the rewards. You don't need a boat; some of my many odd salmon catches have been land based using lures, soft plastics and bait.

Whilst I personally prefer to fish with all manner of lures, there are many anglers who prefer bait or even flies to get amongst the action.

I have found with Atlantics, the larger the lure, the more successful. I suppose they (Atlantics) are just like Brown trout, they only move when they have too and if a toothsome morsel comes their way in the form of a big bait or lure, they usually strike without hesitation. On many occasions, whilst lifting lures from the water, I have had explosive takes either right beside a boat or alongside the shoreline. This speaks a lot for the fish's enthusiasm for moving targets. I have even had big Atlantics in the 5-7kg range try to take stemmed floats off the water surface or even bubble floats, totally ignoring baits in the form of mud eyes or wattle grubs suspended underneath.

Whilst there is no hard and fast rule for catching Atlantic salmon, at times they can be extremely frustrating, cruising along shorelines or underneath boats, totally ignoring all offerings. This is often where most anglers are left for gibbering idiots, especially those who have not tangled with such large fish before. Everything in the tackle box is thrown at them with no success. I remember a time recently at Brushy Lagoon in Tassie's North, where a seasoned angler advised me that the salmon do not bite after 11.00am, as it is too bright and they go deep. He proceeded to pack up and leave. I thought" what the heck-I'll give it another 30 mins". I am glad I did as the salmon were seen by yours truly to" bottle up" in a corner near where I was casting and at exactly 11.45am, I caught on a big minnow type lure my first fish of the day, which weighed in at 3.2 kgs. This is all right, I thought and proceeded to cast again, when behold, my very next cast produced another fish from the same spot. This one played up something chronic and I noticed the time to be 11.50 am, after several heart stopping moments of trying to coax the salmon into my oversize landing net, I had him in the bag, a big brood male at5.3 kilos. (I'm glad I stuck around).

I learned a lot that day and since then have been fortunate to have landed many salmon in the years since.

Many trips with a favored fishing mates have seen us get amongst some huge fish, all being land based which makes it that more special.

My favourite places for chasing the big salmon are Craigbourne Dam in the south and Brushy Lagoon in the North. What is really fantastic about chasing big salmon is that quite often the by catch is usually a big brown or huge rainbow.

I make no secret that I produce my own big minnow type lures in the 8-10cm range. I believe in sharing any information on catching these big fish and I get just as much enjoyment from either helping an angler land a fish or giving someone one of my lures and watching them hook-up.

Atlantic salmon love red, yes that's right, red and anything that has the scarlet colour in it will often succeed. I mentioned earlier where salmon will often eagerly attack floats or corks, well if they are red, they go for them too. At Craigbourne Dam in the state's south, big salmon will crunch a red lure before all others; add to the lure, rattles and you are usually well away.

Many big fish have been taken on Minnow lures, Danny Holmes from Somerset can testify to that with his 15kg Atlantic being caught on a Hueys Deep diving Spotted Dog. I find other lures in the form of Cobras can work just as well.

If you are planning a trip to the Apple Isle, please feel free to visit the web site, where you can find out the latest stocking rates for Atlantics and view some great Salmon shots.

Related Articles

Fly Fishing Championship in Tasmania
Teams from 23 countries will compete at the three lake and two river venues By all accounts, the opening of the cray season in Tasmania last weekend went quite well. Of course, you will always get the odd person who didn't do well and I've yet to find anyone who bags out every day they go out. Posted on 12 Nov
Freshwater fishing in Tasmania
Large trout have been caught consistently during the start of the trout season Every day, pictures roll across my desk with anglers telling stories of sensational fishing right through to every corner of Tassie. Why this is happening, who knows, but I suspect good rainfall and high water levels have something to do with it. Posted on 24 Sep
39th FIPS Mouche World Fly Fishing Championship
Coming to Tasmania in early December 2019 Early December 2019 sees the 39th FIPS Mouche World Fly Fishing Championship event held in Tasmania, Australia. Tasmania was selected for the event because of its world class trout Fishery, plus the infrastructure available to hold such an event. Posted on 24 Jun
Tasmanian winter fishing
The Island state is going through a very productive time Bluefin tuna are about in abundance and boat anglers fishing the South East corner tell of some wonderful captures with the average fish being around 50kg. Posted on 12 Jun
Some large tuna being caught at Pedra Branca
There is an abundance of not only fish life in the area, but also bird life and seals Pedra Branca is known for rich marine wildlife, wet and windy weather, interesting geology and large waves. The island is small enough to provide an example of an outcrop that lies on the border between being a rock or islet and an island. Posted on 19 Nov 2018
Early Tasmanian season prospects
Good with heavy rains still flushing most rivers Sitting at my computer desk it is a pleasure to look out and see blossom on the fruit trees, sun shining and listen to the blackbirds in full song. Posted on 6 Aug 2018
Cleaning up fishing gear and fitting new hooks
Fishing doldrums start... some call it 'cabin fever' It's that time of the year where the fishing doldrums start, particularly for freshwater anglers. Some call it 'cabin fever', where the rain never seems to want to stop or the wind blows cold. Posted on 28 Jun 2018
Tasmania, a great holiday destination
Tasmania has a reputation as being a great holiday destination Tasmania has a reputation as being a great holiday destination and whilst many dabble at a spot of fishing whilst holidaying most are missing out on a magnificent experience that just may be the standout of the travelling experience. Posted on 21 May 2018
Tasmanian Scallop Season opens
From the Saturday before Easter, 24 March to 31 July 2018 You need a recreational scallop licence to take scallops in Tasmania. Scallops may only be taken by hand and only the licence holder can dive for scallops. Posted on 20 Mar 2018
The land that time forgot!
Shrouded in fog and mystery, the Island state is a real fishing mecca Here in Tasmania, we are often left of maps of Australia and that's not a bad thing. Shrouded in fog and mystery, the Island state is a real fishing mecca and we can boast of our sports fishing prowess alongside any other state in Australia. Posted on 16 Mar 2018
Raymarine AUS Element HV FOOTERNanni Diesel 2019 FooterMarina Exchange FOOTER 1