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Early season - Bob McKinley

Presented from Issue 105, August 2013
Bob is a professional fishing guide and guides for trout and estuary species. Check him out at www.fishwildtasmania.com

There are several things we look for in our early season trout waters. It is still winter and cold, so some of the things to consider are: Altitude as this dictates the water temperature and therefore feeding activity. Food for the fish. Availability of trout food is generally dictated by the quantity and quality of weed beds.

Quantity of fish.

Three waters which I believe fit all three requirements are:

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Presented from Issue 111, August 2014

Three effective river techniques for early season success

The trout season opening is upon us again. This time of year nowadays is, for me, a real quandary. I know that the really reliable fishing of spring is still weeks if not months away, but ever since I started trout fishing all those years ago I have looked forward to the first Saturday in August with a real hunger. The night before for me was always like Christmas Eve, I couldn’t wait to see what ‘gifts’ the river would bring each year.

2018 01 18 Meander River wild brownA 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.

2018 01 13 Ghost brown and Mersey Rainbow headThe 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.

2017 12 25 Small wild rainbow troutWith 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.

2017 12 21 Head shot of Mersey River brownI 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.

2017 12 13 Solid little brownI 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.

2017 12 06 IMG 5273With 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.

2017 12 01 Plump Brown headWith 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.

2017 11 28 Close up of wild brown trout Meander RiverWell 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.

2017 11 15 6 Plump rainbow trout Mersey RiverAnother 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.

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