Fly fishing in Tasmania’s subalpine Central Highlands is an extraordinary way to experience the island’s raw and dramatic terrain – even if you’re a complete rookie. Gemma and her pals had a beauty of a time looking for trout, and they dish the dirt on just how big their first catch was.

We acknowledge that this adventure is located on the traditional Country of the palawa / pakana people who have occupied and cared for the lands, waters, and their inhabitants for thousands of years. We pay our respects to them as the Traditional Custodians and recognise that sovereignty was never ceded.

Quick Overview

Ringed by mountains, dotted with a thousand lakes, and often dusted in snow, Tasmania’s Central Highlands are about a 1 hour 40 minute drive from Hobart.

More off the beaten path than its coastal counterparts, this rugged and pretty subalpine landscape offers quite literally the greatest fly fishing in the southern hemisphere.

About Tasmania’s Central Highlands

Tasmania’s Central Highlands sprawl across the wild and woolly heart of the island state: a unique landscape bristling with jagged splendour.

Fly fishing here with Miena Village Guiding is a fantastically novel and cinematic experience – and people from all over the world flock to experience the Highlands’ abundant wild trout fishery.

You could easily spend weeks here exploring the never-ending chains of tarns and hiking through the dramatic wilderness: whiling away your nights parked up by a roaring pub fire, snugged in a rustic fishing cabin or camping out on the land.

Read more: Remember to leave no trace

A Guided Fly Fishing Tour is a Unique Way to Experience Tasmania's Remote Beauty, Remi Chauvin, boat, people, lake, fishing

History of Tasmania’s Central Highlands

For thousands of years, palawa / pakana – Tasmania’s Aboriginal people – lived in the Central Highlands, travelling to the coast and back again every year to take advantage of the resources each region had to offer.

In 2013, 6,750 hectares east of the Walls of Jerusalem National Park were handed back to the Tasmanian Aboriginal people. Known as trawtha makuminya, it plays an important role in reconnecting palawa / pakana with Country. This strong and continuing relationship to many parts of the Central Highlands is something visitors should be very respectful of.

European settlers also have a historical relationship with the Central Highlands. Arriving in the 1800s, they established a number of small towns and mining settlements – for the Highlands were rich in gold, tin, and copper.

In the early 20th century, the development of hydroelectricity really shook up the region, with several large hydroelectric schemes constructed.

How to Get to Tasmania’s Central Highlands

If you’re coming by car from Hobart, take the Lyell Highway (A10) west towards Queenstown, then turn off onto one of several roads that lead into the Highlands, such as the Marlborough Highway (B11) or the Highland Lakes Road – a super scenic route that offers jaw-dropping views.

From Launceston, take the Midlands Highway (A1) south to Bothwell, then turn onto the Highland Lakes Road.

Some of the roads in this region can be pretty narrow and winding – and can also be subject to closure due to snow and ice any time of the year.

Unfortunately, there are no direct public transport connections between Hobart and Miena or Hobart and Bothwell.

Where to Stay in Tasmania’s Central Highlands

Having recently collected some big awards for its pub, accommodation, and tasteful redevelopment, the Great Lake Hotel offers a variety of cute budget rooms near the shores of the body of water it was named for.

There are single, double, and family options – all with an ensuite and several with cooking facilities too.

Best of all, Miena Village Guiding tours leave from this destination (as well as from Thousand Lakes Lodge), which makes everything even more convenient.

Where to Eat Near Tasmania’s Central Highlands

If you don’t feel like huddling over a camp stove or cooking in your hotel room, the Great Lake Hotel – with its enormous fireplace – has a scrumptious selection of meals for lunch and dinner.

Having recently acquired a new chef, the pub’s menu centres on fish, game, and the freshest of ingredients. The booze and dessert offerings are also top notch.

Skill Level


All three of us were complete beginners when it came to fly fishing. No experience is necessary to jump on one of Miena Village Guiding’s trout fishing adventures, and anyone as young as seven can come along for the ride.

If you’re an experienced fisherperson, even better, as you’ll have a team of national and world champions to further refine your skills with, and their knowledge of the land out here is supreme!

Duration of Central Highlands Fly Fishing Tour

All day

This tour is a full-day affair, with day trips running for around nine hours with an 8am pickup and 5pm return.

A two-day one-night camping and fishing adventure is also an option for those with more time.

Essential Gear for Fly Fishing in Tasmania’s Central Highlands

  • Water bottle (you can borrow one if you forget)
  • Good walking shoes
  • Hat
  • Sunscreen (again, if you forget, Miena Village Guiding has got you)
  • Sunglasses (a safety essential for fly fishing)
  • Warm clothing (including a beanie!)
  • Windproof clothing
  • Raincoat
  • Snow-proof clothing
  • Camera (there’ll be ample opportunities to snap photos)

You’ll be supplied with waders (waterproof overalls with built-in waterproof socks), waterproof shoes, gaiters (if required), insect repellent, and a tasty lunch sourced from local Tasmanian produce.

What it’s Like to go Fly Fishing in Tasmania’s Central Highlands

Though the three of us, all Tasmanian locals, had driven through the stark and arresting landscapes of the Central Highlands before, this was the first time any of us had fished or spent the night there. And after this trip, which felt like a voyage back in time and to another world, it certainly won’t be the last!

Community minded, assembled from a team of literal champions and with a commitment to treading softly, Miena Village Guiding offers a phenomenal Central Highlands experience – even to those uninitiated in the delicate art of fly fishing.

As our head guide, Jason, ran his fingers over a colossal map pinned to the wall in the office, the three of us gaped at the enormity of the region. ‘There are really that many tarns?!’

From a pool of hundreds, Little Pine Lagoon was selected as the day’s primo trout fishing location. Jason drove us out there in his ute: the ceiling of his car punctured with dozens of creatively-made flies.

Rugged up and feeling pretty darn cool in our waders (and with our recently purchased fishing licences at the ready), we clambered into a boat and puttered gently across to the opposite shore of the lagoon to learn how to cast.

Unlike regular fishing, to fly fish, you use a weighted line tied to an unbaited fly – then lure the fish by tugging on the line to imitate the movement of an insect. The casting itself involves whip-like physics, and as our patient instructors, Fiona and Martin, showed us just how to swish and flick, we whooped when we nailed it and giggled when we definitely did not.

We were told that our lack of experience meant we were unlikely to snag ourselves a trout first go – but never say never. Call it beginner’s luck, but I got three pretty substantial nibbles in a row (but just didn’t play the fish as aggressively as I should have, so they dropped off).

When the afternoon sun turned golden, and a wombat began to amble about our feet, we hopped back in the boat to try our hands at catching a fish in the centre of the lake. Trying not to get too distracted by the arresting beauty of our surrounds, within moments, we had a couple of nibbles – but it was Jaylen, who’d never fished before in his life, who was the first to score a trout!

‘This is a key memory!’ he shouted with glee, before gently sending the slimy creature back to its watery home. It’s a policy of Miena Village Guiding to not use barbed hooks, and to release every fish caught back into the lakes.

The promise of, ‘Just one more cast!’ kept coming until it was nearly dark – then we headed back to town to feast on the hearty pub specials, reflect on our ripper Central Highlands fly fishing experience, and plot Jaylen’s impending career as a world champion.

Tips for Fly Fishing in Tasmania’s Central Highlands

It’s been known to snow in Tasmania’s Central Highlands in any month of the year, and the winds can be extremely whippy – so pack accordingly.

Though you’ll be dressed in waders and waterproof shoes, your body temperature can be super variable depending on the weather, so wear lots of layers so you can adjust if you need.


A Guided Fly Fishing Tour is a Unique Way to Experience Tasmania's Remote Beauty, Remi Chauvin, friends, boat, lake


In the peak of summer parts of the region can get busy – so it’s best to book your accommodation in advance.

Being so remote, the Central Highlands isn’t home to big supermarkets or restaurants, so plan your meals and consider booking ahead if you’d like to eat out at one of the pubs.

Phone reception is super limited in the Central Highlands, though most accommodation facilities have WiFi.

Driving at dawn, dusk, and even night time in Tasmania can be dangerous, as wildlife love to hang out on the roads so try and do all your driving in the clear light of day.

FAQs for Fly Fishing Tasmania’s Central Highlands

How much does a fly fishing tour with Miena Village Guiding cost?

A fly fishing day trip with Miena Village Guiding costs between $525 and $750 per person, whereas a two-day fishing and camping tour costs from $1750 to $2500 per person.

Do I have to book my tour with Miena Village Guiding?

Yes, tours need to be booked in advance through Miena Village Guiding’s website.

What is the main town in Tasmania’s Central Highlands?

The small village of Miena is the main centre of the Lakes District, while Bothwell – 57km south of Miena – is the biggest town in the Central Highlands.

Do I need a fishing licence to fly fish in Tasmania?

Anyone over the age of 14 who’s fishing in Tasmania needs to have a fishing licence, which can be purchased over the phone, in person at Service Tasmania, through an agent or online.

When’s the best time of year to visit Tasmania’s Central Highlands?

If you’re wanting to go fly fishing, trout season runs from August to April. Note that the weather can be extreme up in the Central Highlands in any month of the year, so be prepared for all seasons.

Do you need a 4WD to get to Tasmania’s Central Highlands?

No, you don’t necessarily need a 4WD as the majority of the major roads in the region are sealed.

However, some smaller roads and tracks in the Highlands, especially those leading to remote hiking trails or fishing spots, may require a 4WD or high-clearance vehicle. If you’re on a tour with Miena Village Guiding though, your guides will have the right car for the job!


Images thanks to @monsieurremi