Tasmania’s Central Highlands, with the rugged Central Plateau at its core, combines dramatic scenery, a healthy dose of history and the best fly-fishing around.

Story + Photos Don Fuchs

Jason Garrett Junior is a stalker. Standing at the bow of his boat, the fishing guide is watching trout through polarised glasses. When he spots one, he casts his fly to its precise location on Penstock Lagoon.

Today, however, it is tricky. There are bony bream on the surface, so the feeding fish have plenty of other things to choose from, and ignore his hooks. But determined Jason experiments with different types of handmade flies. “You can have your days where you can catch lots of fish,” he says, “but generally it’s tough fishing. Tasmania is a wild brown trout fishery, essentially, and it’s not easy to catch fish.” 

This challenge is one reason the Central Plateau is a pilgrimage destination for the world’s enthusiasts of dry fly-fishing (a style in which the fly doesn’t sink). There’s also the size of the trout. “You’ve got fish anywhere up to ten pounds [4.5kg] in these lakes,” Jason says.  

Anglers are spoilt for choice. This windswept plateau in the centre of the island is dotted with lakes of all sizes. Many are natural, especially in the Central Plateau Conservation Area, but almost all the larger ones are artificial, created for hydro-electric power. 

This story excerpt is from Issue #138

Outback Magazine: August/September 2021