Tasmania is a world-class fly fishing destination with quality trout waters and premium stock. In 2019, Tasmania hosted the 39th FIPS–Mouche World Fly Fishing Championships. Enjoy an angling adventure and tour the Heritage Highway hot spots on the Tasmanian Trout Trail. Along the way, explore the quaint 19th century towns and hear the local stories.
We’ve put together some tips on the best places to go fly fishing in Tasmania’s Midlands. Please stick to public access points and avoid venturing onto private farmland. If you’d prefer a guide, there are tours available to suit all levels of experience and skill—get in touch with Peter Hayes Fly Fishing or Trout Territory to learn more. We also recommend enriching your experience with a visit to the Australian Fly Fishing Museum at Clarendon.
1. The South Esk River
The diverse South Esk River is the longest river in Tasmania, with fishable water at the source (near Upper Esk) all the way to Trevallyn Dam. The river starts as a fast flowing, clear freestone stream and slowly becomes a wide meadow stream with a combination of rocks, gravel and weed beds. The section from Avoca to Hadspen sees excellent lowland mayfly hatches in September/October. The hopper fishing is fantastic through late summer and early autumn. Find great black and orange spinner falls on still days throughout the warmer parts of the season, as well as terrific sight fishing lower down on clear days. There are great starting points near the towns of Perth, Evandale, Conara, and Avoca.
2. The North Esk River
The long North Esk River forms north of Ben Lomond National Park, winding through forest and open farm land towards the Tamar River. The river is small and predominantly freestone, with some sandy, flatter sections lower down. This one is an easy wading river due to the bottom structure and medium paced flows. Enjoy good caddis fishing through summer. In late summer, the hopper fishing can be fantastic. In autumn, see some nice small mayfly. If you encounter the protected native Australian grayling as a bi-catch, please release it unharmed.
3. Brumbys Creek
Brumbys Creek, near Cressy, is managed as a wild brown trout fishery—with the odd rainbow—and hosts the Tasmanian Trout Expo each year in September. Brumbys Creek is a unique river system fed from Great Lake via the Poatina Power Station (check flow rates and view the webcam). The three weirs along the river provide different fly fishing opportunities: Weir 1 is the pick of fly-fishing, with access to the weedy margins; Weir 2 offers both lure fishing and fly fishing in faster flowing water; and Weir 3 is preferred by lure anglers. Small boats powered by electric motors are permitted in Weirs 1 and 3. Expect lots of mayfly and caddis, as well as damsel flies. When there is little wind, sight fishing opportunities increase.
4. The Macquarie River
The long Macquarie River is a slow flowing meadow stream winding through Tasmania’s Midlands, with plenty of access to anglers looking for wild brown trout. The Macquarie is a great option from late spring through summer, and is known for its Macquarie red spinners. The adult mayflies lay their eggs on the water in mid-spring and summer, and the trout go wild for them, meaning sensational dry fly fishing! In calm and sunny weather, walk along and target good quality browns in the current or pools. The Macquarie River also sees some good grasshopper fishing in late summer. Find good low water near the town of Cressy, around the Barton Road Bridge near Epping Forest, and upstream of the Macquarie Road bridge near Campbell Town.
5. Lake Leake
Lake Leake is a scenic spot favoured by holiday makers, accessible via Campbell Town. The quality brown trout are self-sustaining, and the lake is also regularly stocked with rainbow trout. Due to the lake’s low elevation, it is best fished early in the season (go for streamer and wet fly fishing). Mayfly hatch in late spring to early summer, so go for targeted mayfly feeders with dries or unweighted nymphs. Fish peacefully from a drifting boat or wade the margins of the lake.
6. The Elizabeth River
The Elizabeth River runs from Lake Leake through to Campbell Town, then flows into the Macquarie River. Look for some nice pools on the Elizabeth River above and below Campbell Town. The river is a good spot to drift a dry fly around if you can find some rising fish or a decent bit of current.
7. Tooms Lake
Tooms Lake is located southwest of Ross and is regularly stocked with brown and rainbow trout. Due to the lake’s low elevation, it is best early in the season. Enjoy excellent wet fly fishing from season opening until November. Although the fishing slows as the lake warms, it is still possible to find fish (you are more likely to catch them on dries and nymphs). The lake is shallow, so fishing floating and intermediate sinking lines are ideal. You will spot some mayfly from late spring to early summer. Fish from a small boat or wade the edges of the lake.
- The Inland Fishery Service offers loads of information on going fishing, including accessible angling, safety advice, bag and size limits, regulations and licence requirements.
- Anglers Alliance Tasmania (AAT) represents the interests of all Tasmanian fresh water anglers. Check out their handy live webcam of many of Tasmania’s lakes and rivers.
- Download the Infish Mobile App for information on more than 150 inland waters, including directions, fishing regulations, current warnings, news, advice and methods.
- Check out the Tasmanian Trout Trail map.
For travel tips from the friendly locals, pop into the region’s Visitor Information Centres. To see upcoming events, check out our Events Calendar.
We love it when you share your adventures with us! Tag @MidlandsTasmania and use @MidlandsTasmania or #HeritageHighway and we’ll share our favourite photos on @MidlandsTasmania, Facebook, and in our Blog.
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Lake Leake | Trout Territory