Min size: 220 mm Bag limit: 5 Method: All methods (bait, lures and flies) Season: 4/8/2018 - 28/4/2019
The South Esk River is a renowned trout fishery with a variety of angling opportunities for all methods throughout its length. These include the fast headwaters at Upper Esk, the long glides and broadwaters from Fingal to Conara and shore based angling and water ideal for fishing from a canoe or kayak between Clarendon and Hadspen. The fishery is dominated by brown trout although the occasional rainbow trout will be encountered particularly in the upper reaches.
The South Esk River rises near Upper Esk in the north east and joins the kanamaluka/River Tamar at Launceston, a distance of some 200 km, making it the longest river in Tasmania.
Many areas of the river are accessible in particular from Upper Esk to Mathinna, Fingal to Conara and between Clarendon and Hadspen.
Recreational Fish Management
The South Esk is managed as a wild fishery sustained through natural recruitment.
The South Esk River is best described in three sections.
1. Upper Esk to Evercreech Road:
The headwater section from Upper Esk to Evercreech Road is generally wadeable riffles and shallow pools flowing through a mixture of native forest, private forest plantation and pasture and is ideal for wade fly fishing, lure and bait fishing. Easy access is available at Mathinna Plains Road bridge and Griffin Park with more challenging sections both up and downstream of these points. Heavy rainfall in the upper catchment can affect the fishing therefore it is advisable to check flows before leaving home. Generally small, fit brown trout and the occasional rainbow trout are encountered with the odd larger fish a pleasant surprise. River flow data at Mathinna is available from the Bureau of Meteorology website at:
2. Fingal to Conara
The section from Fingal to Conara flows through predominately open pasture and contains both wadeable sections and broadwaters. Access is available from many of the bridge crossings including Heffords Road, Leona Road, Storys Creek Road and Bonneys Plains Road and has been assisted through the generosity of private landowners.
The river slows through this section with both shore based angling in the broadwaters and wading the flowing sections productive. Mayfly hatches and grasshopper falls are more reliable and can provide good sport for fly anglers during the warmer months. Lure and bait fishing can be productive at any time of the year.
River flow data at Fingal and Llewellyn is available from the Bureau of Meteorology website.
3. Clarendon to Hadspen
Feature fishing includes bait fishing with worms, wet fly and lure fishing early in the season, red spinner, mayfly and caenid hatches in spring and summer and grasshopper and black spinner hatches in autumn.
Upstream of Evandale Bridge, off Perth Mill Road, up and downstream of Perth Bridge, Mill Dam at Longford and at Lions Park, Hadspen the river offers opportunities for shore based and wade angling.
Canoes and kayaks can be launched at Clarendon (Paddle upstream), Perth Riverbank Reserve, Longford (Union Street boat ramp) and Hadspen (Paddle upstream) providing access to water not generally available to shore based anglers.
River flow data at Perth and Longford is available from the Bureau of Meteorology website.
Canoeing, drift boats and inflatables:
Some sections of the river may be navigated in canoes, drift boats and inflatables. Extreme caution should be exercised. Recommended for experienced paddlers only. Observe all MAST safety requirements.
Paddling notes are available from:
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, waters and fishing gear for weed and other pests 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 cutting.
Pest Fish Management
The pest fish, redfin perch (Perca fluviatilis), goldfish (carassius auratus) and tench (Tinca tinca) inhabit the South Esk catchment. If any of these species are caught, anglers are asked to humanely kill the captured fish and dispose of appropriately.
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.
A 5 knot speed limit applies within 60 metres of any shoreline, marine facility, buoy or boat that is underway, moored or engaged in fishing or rowing or within 120 metres of a person swimming or wading.