From the Archives ...

Tiny creeks and sea run trout - Christopher Bassano

Presented from Issue 105, August 2013
Christopher Bassano fishes over 250 days a year. This interview was recorded just before he headed off to fish for Australia in the World Fly Fishing Championships in Norway 14-17 August 2013.

I live on a small stream and at the start of the season I like to go off on a bit of a discovery mission and fish the headwaters of the creeks and rivers I feel an affinity with.

These small rivers include the St Pats, Meander, Forester, Little Forester and others. The further up you go on these rivers the clearer and lower the levels. They are often less affected by the rain and runoff and you get some good opportunities. Get as close to the source as you can and you will find some good dry fly fishing. Don’t limit yourself to those I have mentioned. Most headwaters will hold trout.

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2018 04 29 Leven River 6315Seeing it's the last day of the 2017-18 trout season I headed back to the Leven River to finish off what's been a reasonably good trout season for me and maybe add a few more trout to my seasons tally. As I got closer to Gunns Plains I noticed there was a large layer of fog running along the whole length of the river so it won't be all that warm once I get there. With no wind it will still be nice in the river and hopefully there will be a few trout in the area I'm fishing today below & above Marshall's Bridge. It wasn't very long before I was there and headed of for a five to six hundred meter walk downstream where I would hop in the river and slowly fish my way back upstream. It was quite weird walking in the thick fog and the only sounds I heard was from several birds singing, magpies warbling and of course a few cows bellowing away every so often.

2018 04 27 2 Leven River 2 45 kgs 6256 headHit the Leven River again this morning and had a great start to the spin session. On my last trip here I had a follow and a few hits from one very nice large and solid brown. I was a little worried that day as I thought had he taken it and done the crocodile roll I would see the fine 4 lb mono giving way. It's not so much as the line breaking, it's the knot where it will break as that's the weakest point. Even it it didn't roll the size of that fish was enough to test out the knot any way.

Today I went back to the same area where I had seen that large brown, this time I have a 6 lb leader set up to the little GagaGoon MI Perch hard body lure. It wasn't all that long when that large brown came out from a shallow flat water (a little further upstream from last time here) and had three goes at the lure and like the other day it missed taking the lure.. I watched the big bugger move off and went in behind a large rock in the river. I couldn't see him at all after that so I decided to cast the lure downstream past the rock then slowly retrieve the lure up past where I felt it was sitting.

2018 04 24 Leven River brownToday I decided I would head on over to the Leven River seeing as I haven't given a thought to fishing it all season for one reason or another. Last season I only had the one trip here and that was early February 2017 after we had 20 mms of rain, that day I caught & released 10 browns and 1 rainbow. Since we had some good rains a week or so ago I checked the river levels and it had a reasonable flow of water in it so I felt it's worth a shot. I'm well over due for a good bag of fish so I was hoping this may be the day as I new exactly the stretch of river I'll be fishing too. It's fished well before for me and I'm reasonably confident it will do so today. The hardest thing will be the choice of lure to use, the gold & copper Aglias & Black Fury spinners have worked well here before, so have the f3 Rapala rainbow & brown trout hard body lures.

2018 04 23 IMG 6186 Another beautiful day was forecast so I headed over to the Meander River again today for a spin session in the hope of catching a few more trout. I forgot to check the river level on the BOM site before I left and after a drive through heavy fog I finally arrived at the Meander only to find it was running at the same height as my last trip here. Right away I knew I was in for a tough few hours in the river with so much water coming down. I decided to drive to another area that meant for a long walk to the river, but I didn't have to cross it, I could fish it from the side that I entered the river. There are a couple of deep stretches of water that I can bypass quite easily, the rest of it is mainly fast water with a few medium runs thrown in the mix... After a forty minute walk I reached my entry point and started casting the Rapala brown trout lure around without all that much success over the first couple of hundred meters.

2018 04 20 Meander River 6130 headAnother beautiful day had me heading over to the Meander River for a spin session, one that didn't last all that long. Why it didn't last all that long was when I arrived there I found the water level was pretty high and the area I was to fish wasn't looking all that safe for wading. Seeing how well I know the river here I still thought it may be worth having a go to see if I could still catch a trout or two. The hardest part was crossing the above waist deep water, a couple of times I thought of turning back but knowing it was only going to get shallower I kept going.. Where I crossed wasn't really fast water but it was deep and had quite a bit of force in the flow and that was my main concern at the time... Once I had reached the other side and using a brown trout F3 Rapala I slowly fished my way upstream.

2018 04 18 IMG 6148 headWell after a weeks lay off from fishing due to some good rain and gale force winds (plus hip & back problems) it was time to head back to try the tannin waters again. I was hoping the small tannin waters that I'm heading to will still have some good flow to it as well as holding a few trout. Once there I found it to be a little on the low side and wasn't sure if it was worth having a spin session in it or not. Seeing as I had driven all the way to this little tannin water I thought I may as well give it a go so in I hopped and started flicking the little gold Aglia around in water that was so dark I could hardly see the gold blade spinner as I retrieved it. It wasn't all that long before a small 260 gram brown swooped on the lure, I soon had that little fish in hand, released and back in the water. A little further on I had a couple of solid hits on the spinner but missed both fish. It was time for a change of lure so I went for the F3 Rapala in the brown trout patten.

2018 04 09 600th trout for the 2017 18 seasonMet up with good friend Clint for a spin session on the Meander River this morning and I'm hoping to catch the three trout required to reach the 600th trout, a target that I set myself at the start of the 2017/18 trout season. With nice warm weather conditions and the river running some five inches higher than my previous trip to the river we decided to fish from well below the Chestnut Road bridge and work our way back upstream to it. Once there I started off with the bloody tiger prawn coloured Greedy Guts lure and Clint also had a lure of a similar colour with his set up. I told Clint to have a few casts into a large flat water at the tail end of the stretch of river we were starting from, it's always given up a trout or two on my previous trips here. I think it was on his second or third cast when he was onto a nice solid brown that gave him a good start to the spin session.

2018 04 07 Pontoon 21 Greedy Guts bloody tiger prawnWill I or wont I go fishing, that was what was going on in my head this morning. In the end I did go and headed over to Merseylea for a spin session. It was only going to be a short one as I had several things to do at home that I haven't got around to lately. When I arrive at the river I was surprised not to see any cars parked near the bridge seeing as it was quite a nice morning to be on a river. After a twenty minute walk through a few paddocks and a dried up back water I was at my starting point only to find it wasn't the same here any more. There has been quite a lot of work done along the river and my fast water run I loved to fish was now a wide deep stretch of water. Any way I put on a F3 rainbow Rapala lure and started casting to the opposite river bank while slowly retrieving the lure at the same time letting it go with the flow. After the forth of fifth cast & retrieve I had a follow from an interested trout that followed the lure right up to where I lifted the lure from the water. That's where it ended, it turned and slowly moved away. Onto the next stretch of water, this one was more to my liking as it hadn't had a lot of work done to it. It had been made a little deeper but two thirds of it was still okay for wading my way up the river. Before I entered this stretch of water I had a change of lure, it was the Daiwa ghost brown lure I went for.

2018 04 06 Meander River bAfter having a doctors appointment this morning I had a pretty late start on the Meander River in what was beautiful fishing conditions and the river level had dropped which made it even better. I received a few new Austackle lures that I picked up for half price from MO-Tackle last week and they arrived this morning so I'm itching to give them a workout. I was in the river by 11:10 am and started off using the ''Wolf '' 50 mm hard body lure which has a narrow body and is practically the same patten as the Daiwa ghost brown one that I use. It took me around fifteen minutes before I had my first follow from a medium size brown and that's as far as it went, just a follow.

2018 03 28 Tannin waters brown 6012After having some decent rainfall over the past couple of days I thought I would try one on the small tannin waters above Weegena. I was hoping it had enough flow in it to be good enough to fish, once there I found it was flowing quite nice and it was good enough to have a spin session in it. I was using the gold Aglia today as it always works well in most of the tannin waters I fish. It was a little on the quite side over the first fifty meters or so before I had a small brown take the lure only to see it toss it once it leapt from the river.

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