South Esk River in flood

South Esk River, Cataract Gorge below the basin.

South Esk River, Cataract Gorge below the basin.

The fly fishing season in Northern Tasmania has got off to an excellent start, with some of the largest floods in 35 years in the South Esk catchment. These floods provide great feeding opportunities for trout who forage for drowned worms and other terrestrials.

 The South Esk Catchment drains almost 25% of Tasmania’s catchment area, and includes the South Esk, Meander, Macquarie, Lake, St Pauls and Elizabeth Rivers, as well as Brumbys Creek. At the end of the river system, the South Esk flows into Launceston through Cataract Gorge Reserve, where these photos were taken over the weekend.  Huge rains  during the past week have seen the South Esk and Elizabeth rivers flood extensively, with the South Esk measuring almost 6 metres higher than the summer levels that fly fishers would be used to! Imagine wading up the river, with your rod pointed to the sky: the water would still be above your rod tip…

These flood-flows translated to a flow of more than 1000 cumecs through Cataract Gorge on Saturday night, equivalent to 1000 tonnes of water a second! The Gorge Basin was covered in foaming eddies and mountainous riffles, as the river lapped just below the cafe that many of you would know.

A bus-sized hole among the South Esk River white water

A bus-sized hole among the South Esk River white water

More on the actual flood-fishing later in the week, so stay tuned.

You may also like


  • John Clark August 21, 2009  

    Hey daniel, nice pics, what sort of camera are u using. I’m looking at either the panasonic or pentax waterproof shockproof compact digital.

    • Daniel August 23, 2009  

      Thanks John. The pics were taken on a Canon 400D with the stock standard 18-55IS lense, but the waterproof compacts you’ve listed are a great idea.