Tasmania is home to creatures of lore: the duck-billed platypus, playful wallabies, wombats trudging across the midlands like furry tanks, and even the island’s rarely sighted namesake devils. On top of that, Tasmania houses 8.5 million sheep and a mere 500,000 residents. Few know, however, that the “Island of Inspiration” is also home to one of the world’s most pristine brown trout fisheries. With barely 300 international fishing licenses sold each year (nearly a third of those to Americans), Tasmania teems with passionate fly-fishermen who are carefully sustaining and growing the precious fish populations.
And they are certainly worth sustaining. In many ways, the land down under The Land Down Under is a fly-angler’s dream: an isolated and stunning location with a variety of fisheries within close proximity of one another, fine dining and lodges, plus a friendly populace willing to share the best of the island state with visitors.
Small lodges such as Driftwater, a three-bedroom homestead run by fishing guides Peter and Karen Brooks, cater specially to traveling anglers. Others, including the remote Thousand Lakes Lodge (located in a UNESCO-listed wilderness World Heritage Area and once used as a site for training Antarctica-bound personnel), feature fly-fishing as an activity alongside more popular pursuits such as bushwalking, kayaking, and sampling the local cuisine. For culture-seekers, fine lodges such as Launceston’s Stillwater Seven, home to seven high-end rooms in an 1830s flour mill, offer a boutique respite after long days on the water.
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The locals are more than willing to share their waters. Daniel Hackett of RiverFly 1864 runs his family-owned business guiding visitors on Tasmania’s plethora of streams, lakes, and rivers. Intense and intelligent, Hackett has embodied typical Tasmanian ingenuity in creating RiverFly Wilderness Huts, a remote, conservation-minded, fish-first destination located in the island’s famed Western Lakes region. The wild brown trout fishery is home to fish averaging 18 inches (meaning over 2 pounds). The largest Western Lakes brown caught in recent years weighed in at a stunning 17 pounds. In the wilderness camp and on regional rivers, Hackett works with his wife Simone and a team of guides to craft immersive Tasmanian fly-fishing experiences for anglers of all skill levels.
Tasmania is full of characters who live outside, working under the southern sun to carve a niche for themselves. From the business-minded Hacketts, to the Brooks from Driftwater—charismatic innkeepers and guides who traveled the world, fly-fishing along the way—to Tasmania Inland Fisheries Service staffer Chris “Wiz” Wisniewski, passionately chasing wild browns in the snow, “Tassie” is home to excited and willing, savvy anglers ready to point you to thriving myriad waters.
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