Presented from Issue 96
Late summer brings to the fore the best of fly fishing in Tasmania, the regularity of hatches and falls of terrestrial insects makes dry fly fishing at times spectacular. These days are highlights and can be predicted with some regularity, however along with the highs you also get the lows, those ‘dog days’ where the trout simply don’t want to play. It could be they are too well fed or more sensitive to changes in the weather, or in fact simply will not feed until the hatch they can predict better than us arrives.
How to predict where the fishing will be good is a key to success at this time of year particularly if you want the fish a particular style of fly fishing. When fish do start to feed make the most of the opportunities as in high summer with warm water these ‘hot bites’ may well only last a short time.Read more ...
A hot day was forecast with light NE winds early then gusting later in the day so I had an early start on the Meander this morning. I was in the river flicking a gold Aglia spinner around by 6:15 am in what was beautiful cool conditions with some cloud cover. The river had good flow and was running very clear, now all I needed was for the trout to be in an aggressive mood. It wasn't all that long before the little gold spinner drew the attention of a couple of browns, but they were only interested in it for a short distance before moving off. I replaced the spinner with the small ghost brown hard body seeing as that's got them going several times here before. Well it wasn't any better than the gold spinner, I had follow after follow from some nice browns and that was it. Another change of lure, the rainbow Rapala was the choice this time. I had a repeat of what has been going on so far this morning with the lures, more follows but no takers. I have now been in the river for forty five minutes and all I've had is a dozen follows from a lot of non aggressive browns.
The weather was fine when I left home this morning for a spin session on the Mersey River at Weegena even though the forecast was for rain & thunderstorms the sky was clear. Once there & after a forty minute walk to where I was to start my spin session, it was then I noticed some heavy cloud building up and it seemed to be moving in at a steady rate. I knew then I would have to get in the river and get a move on before the weather hit this area.. I was using the ghost brown lure and was having plenty of follows but no takers which was becoming quite frustrating.
With nothing on this morning and being Christmas Day I new where ever I fished I'd more than likely have the rivers all to myself. So I headed off to the Mersey River for a spin session in what was beautiful calm conditions and with the sun already well up I didn't hit the river until 7:15 am. The river was like a sheet of glass and there were quite a few trout already on the rise surface feeding on midges. Seeing the trout surface feeding I knew I was in for another tough few hours chasing the brown trout this morning.
I left home just after 5:30 am this morning and headed to the upper reaches of the Mersey River for an early spin session in what was a reasonably cool morning with the lightest of breeze. As soon as I arrived it was on with the wading gear and off for a forty minute walk to where I would start the spin session. I was trying a new stretch of river (that I checked out on Google Earth) for the first time this trip so I didn't know what to expect.
I was originally going to head to the upper Mersey River at Liena at 4:30 am this morning when I woke up but after laying there for a while I decided not to. As much as I wanted to get up I just couldn't be bothered because of a couple of sleepless nights. As the day went on and there was some good cloud cover around I then decided to head up there around 2:10 PM.
With cloud moving in making conditions quite humid I decided to head on over to the Meander River for an afternoon session. The river was running some 4-6 inches higher than my last trip here which was back on Tuesday 28th November and it was little discoloured too. By the time I had walked 1.5 kms to the river it was 3:30 PM when I had my first cast with the little #00 gold Aglia into a long wide medium stretch of river. There was a reasonably strong North Easterly breeze blowing from behind me so I was getting good distance with the light weight spinner, I was reaching the opposite side of the river with ease. I used the cast and drift method and had my first take within three minutes, it was a nice solid 460 gram brown. After it making several runs and leaps I slowly led it into the net, once in it out popped the spinner.
With the Australian National Fly Fishing Championships on over the next three days I decided to give the upper reaches a fish. I arrived just after 7:00 am in what was overcast conditions, no wind and it was quite mild, really good fishing conditions. I did have a tough 1.5 km walk ahead of me to reach my starting point which I reached just after 7:30 am. With the river running very clear I was in two minds whether to go for the hard body lure or my ever reliable little Mepps spinners. I decided to go with the Mepps, now would be a black or gold blade spinner to start with. I went for the #00 (1.5g) gold blade Aglia for starters to see how that would go, if it didn't then I'd change to the black one.
Well I did manage to hit the Meander River just on 6:40am this morning in what was beautiful calm cool conditions. The river was running at a nice height with very clear water, there were a few insects out and about as well as the odd trout on the rise. I started off with a gold Aglia and picked up a solid 450 gram brown in the first ten minutes of fast water fishing. The flowing stretch of water was a wide deep slow piece of river so I just worked the spinner down the shallow left hand side of it where I had a solid hit but missed it. It was all quiet over the next couple of stretches of river until I reached the top end of the second run after changing over to the small ghost brown hard body lure.
Another warm day was forecast with gusty Nth Easterlies again with a late change and a chance of rain and thunderstorms had me in two minds if I should go fishing this morning. I was awake at 4:00 am and just laid there listening to the radio before I got up at 6:30 am to get myself ready to head of to the upper Mersey River on private property. Once out of bed I was feeling very sore again from yesterdays late afternoon session in the river and the lower back & left hip weren't all that good. I decided I'd have a bit of breakfast and take a few pain killers then head off at around 7:30 am.
Still a little sore from doing some gardening etc over the weekend and having the Monday off from fishing I made the decision to go for a spin session in the Mersey River after lunch today. I was in the river at 1:30 PM in what was bright warm sunny conditions, the sun full on the clear water and a gusty North Easterly wind blowing. I started off with a small ghost brown hard body and had a take on the very first cast, the reel screamed for a short time before a solid rainbow leaped from the river and tossed the lure. I couldn't set the hooks because I hadn't adjusted the drag on the reel and that's why the rainbow tossed the lure.
Overcast, no wind and mild weather conditions had me in the Mersey River by 6:35 am this morning and the first thing I noticed was the trout surface feeding. They were spread out in most sections of the river sipping down the little midges that were floating down the river. I thought nothing of it really because that's what I saw on my last trip to the Mersey River & thought I was in for a tough day but caught & released 22 trout. Well, how wrong was I on this trip because it took me just on an hour before I had my first trout in the net, a nice rainbow taken on the aglia gold spinner.
Warm weather forecast with a cool morning saw me having an early start in the Mersey River this morning in what was beautiful conditions. I was in the river by 6:45 am and picked up a nice 530 gram rainbow with the Mepps gold Aglia in the first small fast water I fished. The next run of water I'm moving into was a long wide run that's close to one and a half kilometers in length and has a few small fast water runs in it too.. It was here I changed over to the ghost brown hard body lure to fish this clear water. As I approached this stretch of river I could see several trout surface feeding so I thought I may be in for a tough session if the trout are concentrating on surface feeding.
Clear skies, light to moderate WSW wind and a maximum temperature of around nineteen degrees forecast had me heading over to the Mersey River for a spin session today. I didn't hit the river until 10:00 am or there about and it wasn't all that long before I had my first brown take the little Daiwa ghost brown hard body. I plucked it out of a nice clear medium flowing section of water and it was quite a nice well conditioned fish too. It had taken the lure a little deep in the mouth to what I would have liked and there was a little blood flowing through the gills. Once I picked it up and checked inside its mouth I could see there wasn't any major damage to the fish, once I removed the treble hook with the forceps the bleeding had almost stopped. I held it in the water for several minutes and there wasn't any sign of blood coming from the fish, so I sent it on it's way.
I had every intention of heading over to the Meander River this morning and was ready to head off at 6:00am. Just before I was about to leave I thought I would check the river level on the BOM site only to find the river was up by 90cms from last night which made it a little on the high side for a spin session where I was heading. So that was the end of my trip to the Meander River, then I decided to head over to Merseylea and fish upstream from the top bridge. Once there I found the wind was up and coming straight down the river, it was a pretty cold breeze too so I headed on back home. I was still feeling a little sore from yesterdays spin session in the Mersey River any way, so a rest today won't do me any harm at all.
Another warm day had me heading over to the Mersey River for a few hours chasing trout.. I didn't hit the river until 10:20 am not that it mattered all that much as it was mainly overcast conditions for now. The river here was running at a medium height and fairly clear so I'm hoping to catch and release a few browns today given the conditions were just right. I started of with the Daiwa ghost brown seeing as it worked well on the browns up at Liena yesterday in what was pretty tough fishing conditions. Well the first couple of stretches of water were very quiet, though I did manage to have a follow from a very small brown. It wasn't until I was half through fishing a back water when I finally caught my first small (270 gram) brown for the morning. That was the only brown taken in that long back water run, I did have several follows without any signs of aggression at all from them.
I had a quick trip over to Merseylea in what was cool, windy and wet conditions. When I checked the river levels online I thought the Mersey river would be low enough for a good wading session but when I arrived I could see it was a little higher that I expected. We had some heavy rain during the morning and I doubt that was enough to raise the water level. Any way I sat in the car and waited for around twenty minutes while a heavy rain shower passed over before I hit the river. There certainly was some water coming down so I was making sure I stayed in water no higher than my knees most times.
Well the weather this morning was no where near what was originally forecast, there wasn't any wind and now the rain isn't supposed to get here until late afternoon. I headed back to the Wilmot River seeing as the Mersey River is still on the high side and not safe enough to wade at the moment. The Wilmot River was running at the same level as it was on my last trip here over a week ago which was good to see. Today I decided on using the Daiwa ghost gill brown hard body lure as that's what got the trout going on the last spin session here. But that was a week ago and a lot can change in a week with the trout fishing, even more so in the rivers.
The first stretch of water fished was a wide slow flowing run and I had a follow from a decent size brown within the first few casts. That brown did show some interest in the lure but not enough to attack it, no matter what I tried. It wasn't until I was getting close to the top end of this stretch of water when I had my first take on the hard body. It was a well conditioned rainbow, this was the same start I had on my last trip here. The first fish that day was also a rainbow trout, this one was a little smaller than last weeks fish. Twenty meters further on I picked up a medium size brown from a bubble line close to the river bank, this fish was taken close to where I caught the rainbow last week. With two trout caught in quick time I'm thinking it's going to be a good session with quite a few trout being led into the landing net by the time I call it a day.
The next small fast water I flicked the lure into I was soon onto another nice brown, that fish tossed the lure on the second head shake. It was quiet over the following run but the next one gave up a solid brown that fought all the way into the net. I was on a high now and feeling pretty cocky that these trout are in for a hammering today.. How wrong I was, it went dead from here on with not a sign of a trout for over forty minutes as I worked my way upstream. It wasn't until I came to a long medium to fast water run when I hooked another brown, that one stayed on until I went to slip the net under it when it gave one more head shake and tossed the lure. Yes, I did have a little tantrum before moving on and continued fishing.. The strong winds that was earlier forecast finally arrived and it was really gusting now so I decided I would fish one more small fast water run ahead of me then call it a day. Good decision it was too because it was this piece of water that gave up the fish of the day. This solid brown took the ghost brown on the first cast and retrieve. It certainly gave me a run for my money too as it did everything to try and toss the lure. It made at least five of six leaps from the river and at the same time putting in some massive head shakes. I keep saying, “Stay on big fella, just stay on” and he did. After what seemed like five minutes but was only one & a half this fish was finally in the net. It was certainly a beautiful wild brown in the best of condition and colour and went 620 grams. A nice finish to what was really a short session, one that was also a bit of a let down after such a good start.. Still that's trout fishing isn't it and that's what it's all about, taking the good with the bad.
620 gram brown caught here
Best trout of the day
Brown taken here
Calm conditions on the river
Ready for release
The conditions this morning looked okay with a maximum of 14 degrees, mainly overcast and a light North Westerly breeze with a change late this afternoon.. Given that we haven't had rain for a couple of days I thought a trip to a tannin waters of a small stream in the upper reaches of the Mersey River was worth a go.
With another change on the way I left for the river earlier than I normally would at this time of year, with 60-70 kph winds & rain forecast I thought it best to hit the river early. Once there I could see it was running higher than normal so I'm thinking I may be in for a tough time on the water today. This trip I'm using a brand new 5'6'' Daiwa Presso ULS spin rod coupled with a new Daiwa 16 crest reel spooled with 98 meters of 4 lb clear Kast King copolymer line and a new #00 gold Aglia.. I wanted to try the short rod out today as a test run for when I head back to some of the small tight streams at a later date. The first thirty minutes of fishing was fairly quiet before I had my first small brown in the net.
Finally after checking the online river plots one of the rivers I fish had dropped low enough for me to hit it for a spin session. That river was the Meander, this will be my first trip of the season to it. Once there it was still a little higher than expected but still safe enough for wading. The area I'm going to fish today is probably the only one that is safe enough to fish at the height it is at this stage. That's the good thing about knowing everything about the rivers I fish which has come from many years of fishing them. With rain forecast later in the day I hit the river just after 10:20am in what was cool and heavy overcast conditions with a light North Westerly breeze. I started the session off with a #1 Aglia-e red & silver blade spinner, another new one that I wanted to see if it could attract a trout.
I decided to have an afternoon trip to the river (private prop) in what was pretty cool overcast conditions with a very light breeze. I'm fishing a one kilometer stretch of river that runs through a friends property and I'm hoping it's running clear enough for a spin session. After a twenty minute walk through his paddocks it wasn't long before I was at the river. It was running a little higher than I had expected, but it was clear enough to spin fish and that's all that mattered. I started off with a Mepps #00 gold blade Aglia mainly because at this time of year it's the best colour to use in cold water. A silver or fluoro coloured spinner are good too and will catch fish in cold water early in the season.
Another beautiful day gave me the chance to head off and try a section of a small river, one that I haven't fished for around five years. I thought seeing as we had a good flood back in June 2016 and some reasonable rainfall this Winter it may have a few nice trout back in it. The only problem is getting into it because it is well hidden with heavy foliage and requires a four to five hundred meter bush bash to reach it. Once there I could see the bush was a lot thicker now than it was back when I last fished here. I was in two minds whether or not to venture into the bush, but I did. Nothing better than a challenge that's for sure even it is going to be a tough one. Half way into it I was having second thoughts if I had made the right decision, I did think about turning back. I didn't though, I pushed on then finally heard the sound of the water rushing over the rocks in a shallow section of the stream. Then it was only a matter of finding an entry point and not slip down the steep bank that was covered with blackberry bushes.
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