Lake St Clair

Region: Central · Category: Major
1.48 16/06/2024


Min size: 300 mm Bag limit: 12 Method: Artificials (lures and flies) only Season: 5/8/2023 - 28/4/2024


Lake St. Clair is a long narrow natural lake and is the deepest glacial lake in Australia with a maximum depth of 174m. The lake is situated within the Cradle Mountain, Lake St. Clair National Park, part of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, and is noted for its crystal clear water and unparalleled scenic beauty. St Clair Lagoon is situated at the southeastern end of the main lake and is separated by a small weir. The lagoon is a shallow weedy storage that has a dam and control gate to regulate its outflow.

Lake St. Clair is the source of the River Derwent that flows into the sea at Hobart. Whilst it is well known for being the finishing point for the Overland Track, the lake and lagoon are popular recreational fisheries.

Sheer dolerite cliffs rise up steeply from the 200 metre deep waters and the lake is surrounded by forest, providing stunning scenery. Fishing and boating are allowed on the lake and a Visitors Centre nearby at Cynthia Bay provides information on the lake’s geology, history and wildlife. The visitor centre also houses a restaurant, shop, fishing and Visitor Information Centre. The restaurant looks over the lake - dining with a world heritage view. There are alpine lodges, a backpacker lodge, camping facilities and powered sites - the full range of accommodation options.

Be warned that the weather can change from clear blue skies to rain and cold conditions very quickly. It is best to wear layers of clothing and bring wet-weather protection.
Lake St Clair and St. Clair Lagoon are within the Cradle Mountain, Lake St. Clair National Park. To protect the unique flora and fauna these waters are reserved for artificial lures and flies only, bait fishing is not permitted within National Parks. Park fees apply and a National Park Pass is to be displayed on vehicles and boats. Park Passes are available from the visitor’s centre at Cynthia Bay.

Getting There

Lake St. Clair can be reached from Hobart on the Lyell Hwy A10 via Derwent Bridge in around 2.5 hours.

Recreational Fish Management

Lake St Clair, St. Clair Lagoon and Lake King William are managed as Premium Wild Trout Fisheries. Angling regulations and seasons are specific for each water. Anglers should ensure that they are familiar with and observe these regulations which can be found in the Tasmanian Inland Recreational Fishing Code

Angling Notes

Lake St Clair and St Clair Lagoon - Fishing for both brown and rainbow trout is popular in the southern end of Lake St Clair. Spinning and trolling account for reasonable catches particularly during rough or overcast days. The clear water gives fly fishers the opportunity to polaroid fish around the lake margins. Good hatches of mayfly occur in the summer months providing good dry fly fishing. The best fly-fishing however, occurs at St Clair Lagoon with all facets of the sport available at different times, depending on the time in the season and water levels.

Protect Waters

Recreational anglers have a responsibility to look after fisheries resources for the benefit of the environment and future generations. Do not bring live or dead fish, fish products, animals or aquatic plants into Tasmania. Do not bring any used fishing gear or any other freshwater recreational equipment that may be damp, wet or contain water into Tasmania. Check, Clean and dry your fishing equipment before entering Tasmania. Do not transfer any freshwater fish, frogs, tadpoles, invertebrates or plants between inland waters. Check your boat, trailer, waders and fishing gear for weed and other pests that should not be transferred before moving between waters. Do not use willow (which is a plant pest) as a rod support as it has the ability to propagate from a strike.

Native Fish Management

A landlocked population of the native climbing galaxias (Galaxias brevipinnis) occurs in both Lake St. Clair and St. Clair Lagoon. This species is the largest of the Tasmanian galaxiids reaching lengths in excess of 250 mm. Adults are rarely seen but schools of juveniles can often be seen in late summer around the margins of the lake.

Pest Fish Management

Anglers can help reduce the spread of pests in Tasmanian waterways by not transferring fish between waters. Offences may incur significant penalties.

Recreational Use

Please remove all rubbish and do not litter. There is a public toilet at Cynthia Bay. Anglers are encouraged to bring portable toilets or be sure to walk at least 100 metres from the water, dig a 15-centimetre hole and bury water including the toilet paper.


At Lake St. Clair there is a formal boat ramp at Cynthia Bay that is really the only practical spot to launch a boat. There are full camping amenities at Cynthia Bay and some informal camping spots at the northern end of the lake at Narcissus. Huts are located at Narcissus and Echo Point however these are often occupied by bushwalkers. There are several areas prohibited for navigation: In St. Clair Lagoon for a distance of 300 metres upstream from the St. Clair Dam. In the River Derwent for a distance of 300 metres downstream from the St. Clair Dam. Practice minimal impact boating by accelerating gently in shallow water to avoid the underwater wash from the propeller jet stirring up silt and mud. This sediment clouds the water, disturbs sensitive weed beds, smothers aquatic plants and degrades fish habitat.


Check your wash - if its white it's all right - if it's brown slow down. Fishing from a boat within 100 metres of an angler fishing from the shore is prohibited unless the boat is securely moored. Do not park on or obstruct boat ramps.