Tasmanian Smelt

Retropinna tasmanica
Tasmanian Smelt - Marinewise © 2024 MarineWise

Quick Facts

Scientific name Retropinna tasmanica
Family Southern smelt / Retropinnidae
Size Up to 7 cm (2.75 in)
Weight A few grams


Habitat & AU Distribution Fresh, brackish & salt waters in lowland creeks & streams to estuaries & coastal streams
Depth Range 2 - 10 m (33 ft)
Tasmanian Smelt Distribution

Interesting Info

  • Tasmanian smelt is a small freshwater fish sometimes found in brackish or salt waters found only in Tasmania, Australia.
  • They are found in rivers, streams, and lakes throughout Tasmania, but they are most common in the north and east of the state.
  • They are primarily nocturnal, spending most of the day hiding in vegetation and coming out to feed at night.
  • Tasmanian smelt is a key food source for many native predators, including platypuses, trout, and water rats.
  • They are omnivorous, feeding on a variety of small aquatic insects, crustaceans, and plant matter.
  • Estimates of lifespan are 2 to 3 years.
Species Interaction

Recreational Fishing

Tasmanian smelt are a popular target for anglers, especially those fishing in freshwater habitats in Tasmania. Recreational fishing is regulated in Tasmania, with bag and size limits in place to help protect the population of Tasmanian smelt and other fish species.

Scientific Classification

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Actinopterygii

Order: Osmeriformes

Family: Retropinnidae

Genus: Retropinna

Species: Retropinna tasmanica

Conservation Status

The conservation status of Tasmanian smelt is currently listed as “Least Concern” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), indicating that the species is not currently at significant risk of extinction. However, ongoing monitoring and conservation efforts may be needed to ensure the continued sustainability of Tasmanian smelt populations in the future.

Fish Taste Quality

Tasmanian smelt not common to eat, some people do enjoy them as a pan-fried or grilled fish.

Taste Rating: 2/5

How to catch
Tasmanian Smelt

Catch Difficulty: Easy

Tackle: Floater Rig, Running Sinker Rig

Bait: Bread, Worms, Insects

Technique: Slowly sink bait towards bottom

Popularity: Popular