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World class in our backyard

02 August 2019



For some time now I have been attempting a family holiday to Canada, where we have some close relatives in Toronto that my wife and two children had never met.  Given the costs associated with international travel we aimed to make the most of it by visiting Alaska and the Canadian Rockies along the way. I’m happy to say that the planets finally aligned and, this year, the plan came together. 

 

Western Canada is an angling mecca so, although I have constant access to Tasmania’s superb waterways, the prospect of not wetting a line at some stage was not an option.  While I did manage a fish, complex seasonal regulations and spring snowmelt limited my opportunities as many rivers, including the mighty Columbia, were flowing high and dirty.  I’ll also admit that it was a bit unnerving spotting fish with one eye while keeping an eye out for grizzlies with the other!

 

My fishing opportunities evaporated once we reached Toronto, but I engineered a family trip to a downtown tackle shop under the guise of looking for “Canadian souvenirs”. While my two boys were stress testing every item in the shop, particularly the expensive fly rods, I managed to have a chat to the reasonably friendly but understandably distracted shop assistants.  Once they realised we were from Tasmania their demeanour brightened; they were very well aware of the upcoming World Fly Fishing Championships and the world-class fishing that we have here. 

 

That conversation was a moment of clarity for me. Often it is easy to overlook the opportunities that are on your doorstep and take them for granted, but we really do have a world-class fishery in Tasmania, and our Hydro Tasmania waterways are pivotal to this.

 

The majority of the competition venues for the 2019 World Fly Fishing Championships are on Hydro waters, to which I have a close professional and recreational attachment. I am fortunate to be in a position to contribute to programs that aim to manage these waterways so that their environmental and social values endure for future generations, whilst enabling us to benefit from renewable energy. It is an ongoing balancing act that is conducted behind the scenes on a daily basis by a range of dedicated people.

 

As a major sponsor of this year’s competition, we are pleased to showcase these waterways to anglers and devotees from all over the world. The championships are being held from 30 November until 8 December. More information can be found at https://www.wffc2019.com/.

 

The World Fly Fishing Championships also provide an opportunity to leave a positive legacy for Tasmania.  Hydro Tasmania has worked closely with the Inland Fisheries Service and Marine and Safety Tasmania to support facilities upgrades around our recreational areas, including the installation of new toilets around the highlands, road, bridge and campground upgrades, and improvements to boat ramps. These initiatives will help Tasmania to put its best foot forward during the championships whilst providing ongoing benefits to our local angling community. 

 

The locals will get to road test these upgrades and improvements with the 3 August opening of the trout season – an annual highlight for approximately 25,000 licensed anglers in Tasmania. While year-round fishing is now available at a number of lakes and rivers, the majority of the remaining waters are re-opening after a three-month closure.

 

With Hydro storages at very healthy levels, the opening weekend should provide some excellent fishing. Tasmania’s lowland waters are usually good early season performers but the highlands shouldn’t be overlooked.  Waters such as Woods Lake, Arthurs Lake, Bronte Lagoon and Lake King William have good early season potential; however you’ll need to be prepared to brave cool conditions. The Hydro Tasmania storage position was 43.2 per cent as of 29 July, which puts our system in a good position for the opening of the 2019/20 angling season. Current Hydro Tasmania water levels can be found at https://www.hydro.com.au/water/lake-levels.

 

We are also committed to supporting the local angling community via initiatives such as sponsorship of the annual Hydro Tasmania Cressy Community Trout Expo, which will be held again at Brumbys Creek on 21 – 22 September (https://tasmaniantroutexpo.com.au/).

 

On a final note, it is easy to overlook the hazards associated with boating in Tasmania, particularly our highland lakes. I urge you to practice safe boating, maintain your safety gear, particularly inflatable life jackets, and make sure you let someone know your intended whereabouts before you head out. More information on boating safety can be found at https://www.mast.tas.gov.au/.

 

I am proud to work for an organisation that supports recreational water users and the activities that enrich Tasmanians’ lives. Have a safe and enjoyable angling season.

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