By the time the month of April has arrived, the end of the brown trout season on our rivers is steadily coming to an end. Those magic days of trout rising to a hatch of insects are all but over. To the avid dry fly fisher, this is a reality that is hard to take at the end of every season. For me, it’s time to change tact, just like the trout in a river have to do to survive. As the amount of fly life in the river starts to taper off, more and more trout in the lower Mersey revert back to feeding on the native galaxia (baitfish), just as they do at the start of the season.
With light drizzle on the way this afternoon I thought I would give the Mersey River a quick session at Kimberley. I haven't fished here for quite some time as the fishing went right off. I'm hoping to pick up at least three trout today to bring up my 600th trout for the 2015/16 season. Once there I found the river to be running very low and crystal clear, being a dull over cast day it didn't really bother me all that much. In fact I thought it would probably be a good day to fish here. I headed down to a fast water run that always gives up a few rainbows and I'm hoping it will again today. I started off with a small copper black fury flicking it up and across the river and letting it drift with the flow as I slowly retrieved it. It took ten minutes of working this run before I had my first sign of a trout. It just sat some 3'' behind the spinner and followed it without any sign of aggression at all. It was off with the black fury and on with the F-3 Rapala rainbow pattern to see if it would entice the trout to take it. I spent another ten minutes in the run without a sign of that trout, so I moved on.
After having 23mms of rain yesterday I thought I'd check out a river that runs through a friends property around 15 kms from Sheffield to see if it had risen enough to have a spin session.. It had risen by a couple of inches and was just fish-able in my opinion.
Now that the Mersey River has dropped to a safe wade-able depth I decided to have an afternoon session on it. I thought that with the rain we've had it may be just what was needed to bring it back to giving up a few nice fish. I headed on up to Weegena and after a 35 minute walk through the bush d a few paddocks I was soon in the river flicking the little black fury around. It only took five minutes if a fast water run before I had a nice medium (390 gm) size rainbow take the spinner. It wasn't long before I had this well conditioned fish in the net, quick photo and it was soon on it's way.. Things were looking good catching a fish so early into the session and a rainbow too, something I haven't caught in the Mersey since November last year.
Mainly overcast conditions plus a forecast with the chance of a shower or two I decided I would try a section of river at Weegena that I haven't fished for close on twelve years. The reason I haven't been near it is because I had completely forgotten about it. Once there I soon remembered why I had wiped it from my mind, it is one of the toughest sections that the Mersey River can throw at you. It is very rocky and always as slippery as an ice skating rink. It was no different today either, as soon as I hit the river it all came back to me.. The last time I fished here I went in for three dives during that session up here. Back then I only had the old waders with the rubber soled boots and they're a death trap in any river that's rocky and slippery. But today is another day, besides I now have the proper wading gear with the Korkers spiked felt soled wading boots, it wasn't going to be as bad as twelve years ago.
Well wasn't I a fool today as I forgot it was a holiday weekend here when I headed off this afternoon for a session on the Mersey River in what were perfect conditions for trout fishing. It was a very dull humid overcast day, conditions that I love to trout fish in. My first stop was at Kimberley just ten minutes from Sheffield. Once there I saw there were campers set up next to the river, that's when it hit me..''HOLIDAY WEEKEND.'" that meant most access areas are going to be busy for the next three days and won't be worth fishing at all. So I headed on up to Weegena only to find both access areas had cars parked there as well.. I knew of one more spot that may be okay so off I went once more in the hope of finding a spot to fish.
Well at last I had a day when I managed to be on the water by 9.00am in what was absolutely beautiful conditions. The Mersey River was much lower up at Weegena than my last trip four days ago, it was also crystal clear. There were quite a few large browns surface feeding in several slow flowing sections of the river too. These fish were all in the 1.5kg – 2.5kg range which was nice to see as there's been plenty of little browns around of late. I started of flicking the black fury (1.5gm) into the shaded areas along the opposite river bank and managed to get a few follows from some decent sized browns, but not one hit to go with it. It's always going to be tough getting into a few browns when you see others surface feeding, this is when I will often pick them up in the fast water runs.
I left home at 12.30pm in overcast and coolish conditions in what I thought were perfect for being in a river today. I was on my way to fish the Mersey River on a friends property and now with the river being lower it was going to be wade-able in every stretch of river. Well, once there the clouds had all but disappeared and it was nice and bright. Not what I was hoping for at all. Any way it was on with the gear and off on a two kilometre walk to where I'll start fishing. The river was now in full sun which was going to make the fishing interesting today that's for sure, especially in low clear water. I could see that the rocky river bottom was covered in a brown algae and that's going to make wading very tough too. Fishing the Mersey River is always hard on the body, the algae covered rocks just makes it that much harder. With the river being low and clear means I'll be starting the session off with the little black fury (black blade) again today.
I headed on over to Mersylea this afternoon in what was beautiful weather conditions with just a light breeze and clear skies. I didn't arrive there until 3.00pm and then had a chat with a couple of young fella's having a spin from the river bank. They hadn't caught anything up to then, but had managed a couple of follows for the time they'd been there spinning. The river was clear and much lower today and was also in full sun. I recommended that they spin the shaded areas as that's more than likely the best place to pick up a trout in the bright conditions. I had to use my old Horne waist waders today as my breathables are down in Hobart at Fly & Dry having new stocking feet put on them as I've worn the other's out. Still they've lasted just over three years of some pretty heavy fishing days and months of continual river fishing. So today it was back to the old way of how I waded the rivers and fished for trout for quite a lot of years in the heavy rubber waders and boots.
Another top day weather wise today had me heading on up to Weegena to give the Mersey River a fish. The wind was switching from the Sth.West to the Nth West and back again so this wasn't going to be a problem either as where I was fishing it's reasonably sheltered in most places on the river. The area I'm fishing is on private property and there's a 2.0km walk before I get to my starting point in the river, but it's always worth the walk. The fishing here is normally quite good most times and there's rarely a trip here that I don't miss on catching a few browns & rainbows.
With overcast and pretty cool weather this afternoon I headed on over to the small township of Kimberley to give the Mersey River a fish from below the main road bridge. I haven't fished this area since we started holidaying over here from Sth Aust while visiting the daughter and family some 18 years ago. There was a cold wind blowing straight down the river which meant I would be working my way upstream against it, something I'm never happy with any time. But I'm here now so might as well push on. With the river being much wider with a little more depth to it I decided to fish with hard body lures today. Plus they're a little heavier and will cast better into the wind than the little #00 mepps black fury, I could have gone up a size with the black fury's but decided not to. Besides I have a few hard body lures that I still have to test out for an overseas company that I promised to do. Before I tried their lure I started off with a rainbow rapala and worked my way up and along the river without a sign of a fish. I'm thinking have I picked another poor section of river to fish, or is it just going to be one of those very slow days again with the trout few and far between. I seem to be having a few of these over the past couple of weeks of just catching one or two fish each trip to the Mersey. Any way I stuck with the rapala for another ten minutes before I changed over to a test lure that was much heavier than I normally use in the rivers. I thought I would work this lure in a deep water run just ahead of me to see how it goes.
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