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Presented from Issue 107, December 2013
For the last few years I’ve been a bit of a lake fishing fanatic. Almost every chance I got I’d zip off “up top” for a chance to attack a stillwater. It could be a few hours of an evening, a dawn patrol tail session on the Pine, or a couple of hours through the middle of the day between jobs. Free fuel and a work bus made it easy to take off on a whim. Sessions were short and travel times were often pretty long, and increasingly the travel with a young family has become just a bit more tiresome.
Not having fished the Meander River since the 31st March I thought it's time I went back there and give it a go. By the time a got there then walked for some 1.5 kms before I hopped in the river it was 10:35 am, not that it really matters at this time of year any way. The river was the lowest I have seen it since the Hyrdo turbine broke down back in 2012, not only that, there was still plenty of the cotton like green algae covering most of the river bottom. Any way I started the session off using a gold black fury and fished a couple of sections of river for just the one hit and miss.
A heavy frosty morning meant for a nice sunny but cool day and also a good one to go fishing in a river somewhere.. I decided it would be the Meander River which is 45 kms from Sheffield. I'm hoping the river level has dropped low enough so I can get in and fish it. I couldn't get a reading of the river levels online due to the gauge still being out of order since the June floods. So I'm going to take the chance and hope it will be okay. Once there I could see it was down and just wade-able going by a log the juts out from the river bank. I have used this log as a gauge for many years now and I know when the river is at a safe level for wading. Today it's borderline, so I decided I would have a session in the river. I'm not going to take any chances though, if I get to a stretch of water that doesn't feel right then I won't be going any further. Besides I'm not sure what has changed on the river bottom either, has it been washed out in places or is it still as it was before the floods. I could see how high the river had been during the floods, the good thing is that there's still plenty of undamaged foliage along both sides of the river.
Woke up to hear that it was going to be 21 degrees here in Sheffield today, then when I looked outside there was just a full on pea soup fog to be seen. I had decided yesterday that I would fish the Meander River as I thought with only seven browns needed to reach the 800 trout for the season then this river would be my best chance of doing it. Once there I had a one & a half kilometer walk through thick fog to where I was going to enter the river. It's just as well I know this area like the back of my hand as visibility was pretty low when I headed off through the paddocks. By the time I reached my entry point the fog was a little lighter and the river was like glass, there wasn't a breath of wind. I love fishing in these conditions as eerie as it is.
Humid conditions again today saw me heading off to the Meander River this afternoon in the hope of adding a few more trout to my season's tally. I thought I'd try a different area today, one that's fished reasonably well on other trips. Started off using the copper black fury without any success, then tried a Rapala, and after that a black bladed black fury. All I could manage over the first 600 meters of river was two follows and one light hit & miss. Things weren't looking all that good and I'm thinking it's not going to be a good day on the river.
After a three day break from trout fishing I thought a trip to the Meander River would be the place to get back into it. Conditions today were how & humid which makes for good fishing, but also is a drain on the body. I started off in a nice fifty meter fast water run and using a black bladed black fury I had caught & released eight browns from nine hook ups by the time I reached the end of it. The river is still higher than normal due to Hydro Tasmania running the power turbines at Huntsman Dam, this has really helped make the fishing much better than usual. Things went a little quiet over the next hundred meters or so as the trout were only following the spinner and weren't showing any signs of aggression.
Headed back for another spin session on Meander River this afternoon (3.15pm) in what was pretty warm conditions. It was still pretty humid and boy there was some heat in that sun. I was fishing the fast water on the Meander River and with the sun full on the water it was like I was standing in an oven. Not a breath of wind to be had either. I used the black bladed black fury today given the bright conditions and clear water. It wasn't too long before I had my first brown take the spinner and five casts later I had another two browns caught and released.
The forecast this morning (Weds) was for the winds to be easing off so I had decided I would head off later in the afternoon to see if I can crack the 500th trout for the season. Well, by 2.30pm here in Sheffield the wind had dropped right off to a nice light breeze which I was happy with. I was soon on the road heading on over to the Meander River once again. Trying another area quite some distance away from where I have recently been fishing. I arrived at the river just on 3.30pm to be greeted with another howling gale. I just couldn't believe it and did seriously think about turning around and heading back home. Not being one for giving in easily I decided I'd give it a go even though the wind was blowing straight down the river. Catching the nine trout required to reach the target wasn't going to be easy at all.
Headed off again this afternoon for another spin session in a rocky fast water stretch of the Meander River that's fished very well on my previous trips here. When I arrived the weather wasn't all that bad. The wind was a little gusty but nothing to worry about as I could see it wasn't going to effect my casting all that much. The river was reasonably sheltered from the wind too which made it that much easier. The first fifty meters was a little quiet as I just had the one hit and miss. Then over the next eighty meters I caught three nice browns. I'm thinking to myself I'm going to have another good catch of trout in this long fast water run again today. Then all hell let loose, the wind suddenly picked up a blew a gale. It was howling and there were small branches, twigs, leaves and all shapes and sizes of bark flying everywhere. I knew then it was going to be very difficult fishing from now on. This is as tough as I have ever experienced when fishing a river in these conditions.
The forecast wasn't all that flash today with winds reaching 45-55 kph during the day and I had intended to have a day at home after hearing that report. It was 7.30 am and the wind here in Sheffield wasn't all that bad so I quickly got into my fishing clothes and headed of to the Meander River to have a session before the wind picked up. After a forty five minute drive I was in the river flicking the little black fury around by 9.00am. There was plenty of smoke from the bush fires being blown across the area too, it was really thick and this wasn't going to make the day any easier either. It seemed more like 8.00pm it was that dark here and it wasn't all that warm, in fact the air was quite cool.
After a week's lay off from lower back & hip problems I finally felt good enough to head off to the Meander River for spin session. Well, that was after my weekly (every Weds.) dose of around 40+ injections that help to keep me trout fishing the rivers. I had wanted to have an early morning stint but that didn't happen. I didn't hit the river until just on 3.00pm. When I arrived the sun was full on the river and the wind was howling from the north, not only that the river was running low and crystal clear. I wasn't too fussed about it because it was just great to be able to get back into a river again.
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