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River Derwent

Region: South · Category: River


River Derwent - Above the bridge at New Norfolk

Min size: 220 mm Bag limit: 5 Method: All methods (bait, lures and flies) Season: 5/8/2023 - 28/4/2024

River Derwent - Below the bridge at New Norfolk

Min size: 220 mm Bag limit: 5 Method: All methods (bait, lures and flies) Season: All Year

Latest stocking

Date Number Species Age Weight (g) Type Stocked from
01/07/2022 400 Brown Trout Adult 623 Diploid Hydro Creek, Arthurs Lake
View stocking history...


The first brown trout introduced to the southern hemisphere were hatched at the Salmon Ponds on the Plenty River, a tributary of the River Derwent, in 1864 and released into the wild the following year. A wild population of brown trout are maintained in the River Derwent and its tributaries through natural recruitment. Sea-run trout are a feature with small numbers of rainbow trout and Atlantic salmon present. The estuarine section of the River Derwent is described as the best black bream fishery in Australia.

Getting There

The River Derwent rises at Lake St. Clair and flows south to Hobart. This information refers to a 75km section of the river from Gretna to just downstream of the Bowen Bridge in Hobart's northern suburbs.

Recreational Fish Management

The River Derwent is managed as a wild fishery sustained through natural recruitment. The River Derwent is also managed as a recreational whitebait fishery. Separate rules and regulations apply to whitebait. Check the IFS website for details.

Angling Notes

The River Derwent is best described in three sections.

1. From Gretna to New Norfolk.

Generally deep, fast, difficult to wade and with overgrown banks this section of the river is challenging for shore based angling. River flows can be critical to angling opportunities in this section and can affect both wading and canoeing. Flow data is available from Bureau of Meteorology website at

Flows at ‘Derwent Rv at Macquarie Plains’ below 0.9 m are good with flows at 0.7 m or 0.5 m ideal. Flow at ‘Derwent Rv blw Meadowbank Dam’ can also assist in predicting flow further downstream.

When wading it is recommended that anglers wear a lifejacket and use a wading staff at all times as river flows can fluctuate due to power station operations at Meadowbank Lake. In any event most fish are taken close to the bank under overhanging vegetation.

Canoeing, drift boats and inflatables

This section provides excellent opportunities for drift fishing for experienced anglers from suitable craft – inflatables, kayaks and canoes. Entry and exit points marked on the map include Gretna, Bushy Park, Rayners Corner, Hayes, Railway Bridge, Windsor Corner, Bryn Estyn and New Norfolk. Canoe Tasmania grades these sections of the river as 2 (Medium) to 1 (Easy).
Specific advice can be found at:

From a dry fly fishing point of view, evenings are terrific when you get caddis hatches (November to the end of February) and first light until sunrise from November to the end of the season is brilliant to fish on Caenids. Grasshoppers often bring the big fish out in late January through to March and mayflies are present from November to the end of the season. Black spinner feeders can be found on calm days on the inside of big bends in the river. Wet fly fishing with nymphs, fur flies, yetis and woolly buggers can be effective throughout the season.

Bait fishing in the slower pools and backwaters and lure casting with spoons, bibbed minnows, blade spinners and soft plastics in the broken water and at the mouths of tributaries is productive. Best colours are as always, green and gold and black and red.

2. From New Norfolk to the Bridgewater Bridge.

Renowned as a spring fishery the most productive months are from August until November when resident and sea run trout chase migratory whitebait. Late afternoons, evenings and first light are the best times. Opportunities for shore based angling are shown on the map and good boat launching facilities are located at New Norfolk and Bridgewater. Anglers should focus on the edges of rips and currents, flooded margins and weedbeds and the mouths of gutters that connect the marshy flats to the river channel. Fly, lure, bait fishing and trolling are all productive. Trout – resident and sea run, Atlantic salmon and bream may all be encountered. Live bait may be used in tidal waters and is a popular method of fishing in this section. The capture of live bait other than whitebait in tidal waters is allowed at certain times. Check the details in the Tasmanian Inland Fishing Code.

3. Downstream from the Bridgewater Bridge.

Methods and target areas including shore and boat based angling are similar to the section upstream of the Bridgewater Bridge, however marine species and many more bream will be encountered in this area. Sea fisheries regulations apply to marine species. Excellent access for shore based angling is available throughout the residential area of Hobart’s northern suburbs. Boat ramps are available at Bridgewater, Old Beach, Austins Ferry, Montrose Bay and Prince of Wales Bay.

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 Tasmania.
Do not bring 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 propogate from a cutting.

Sustainable Management

Above Bridgewater Bridge.

The River Derwent has its headwaters at Lake St. Clair and meanders down through to New Norfolk via several dammed Hydro Tasmania storages. A variety of fishing can be found along its' length. The tidal reaches commence at Lawitta above New Norfolk and become increasingly estuarine as it approaches the Bridgewater Bridge. Sea run trout can be caught up to the base of Meadowbank Dam, the first of many dams as you travel upstream.

Below Bridgewater Bridge.

Below the Bridgewater Bridge the true Derwent Estuary starts. There are access points from Kingston to Granton on the western shore and from Tranmere to Bridgewater on the eastern shore. Sea run trout can be found in this stretch of river peaking during September in the upper estuary. Resident brown are also readily available particularly outside of the summer months. Bream fishing is popular and productive throughout the estuary.

Native Fish Management

Australian grayling are present in the River Derwent and are wholly protected species. River blackfish are also present upstream of New Norfolk.

Pest Fish Management

The pest fish, redfin perch (Perca fluviatilis) and tench (Tinca tinca) inhabit the Derwent catchment. If either of these species are caught, anglers are asked to humanely kill the captured fish and dispose of appropriately.

Environ Cultural


All fish contain a small amount of mercury - even those from the open ocean. This influences how much you can safely eat. If you eat fish caught in the River Derwent downstream from New Norfolk it is best to avoid eating fish from other sources in the same week. Fish, including trout, should not be eaten TWICE a week*

*Some people should further limit their consumption to ONCE a week.
Pregnant and breastfeeding women and women planning to become pregnant
Children aged six years and younger.