Mike Fry doesn’t only live on the Wild Side of Tasmania, but also goes fishing in probably the wildest boat ever to troll for trout—certainly in Tasmania.
When your mate says ‘What are you doing tomorrow, want to come up the Gordon for the night?’ it would be pretty hard to say anything else except “you bet” and start checking out your tackle box and packing your overnight bag. But if your mate was Troy Grining and he wanted to give his new 52ft, high speed cruiser a run across Macquarie Harbour, test the new onboard dory with a chance of landing a nice Gordon River Brown you would have to feel privileged. I didn’t say anything about getting on my hands and knees and kissing his feet…just having a lend of ya’ but I did feel very appreciative.
Overcast, humid conditions and the perfect water level was enough for me to head over to the Meander River for a spin session. It was 6:45 when I hit the water and it wasn't all that long before I had the first trout of the morning take the #0 March Brown Bug spinner, the only problem was it tossed it as fast as it took it. Two casts later I was onto another trout, this little brown stayed on and I had the first fish of the day in the net. It's been around a month since I last fished this stretch of river and this stretch of water I'm fishing didn't give up a single fish, this was a good start to what I normally have here. The river here was perfect for casting and drifting too which was even better as It's one of my favourite ways of spin fishing. There's nothing better than watching the Mepps inline spinner drift with the flow and a trout sitting right up behind it, then it's up to me to get that trout to take the spinner.
With the river level being low I felt it was time to check it out and see if I could catch a few wild brown trout in the Gunns Plains area. The weather was going to be pretty good with patches of cloud and a temperature in the low twenties, the only problem was going to be the Easterly wind that was due sometime during the day. Today was one of my earliest starts of the season, I was in the river by 6:35 am, it was a beautiful cool peaceful morning to be in the river too. The first thing I noticed in a long, wide, deep stretch of river were trout surface feeding in quite a few areas but mainly on the shallower left hand side of the river.
As much as I wanted to do today, fast water fishing was taken off my where to fish list, I still headed to the same river and started the spin session in the slower flowing waters of the Meander River. The same waters where the river bottom is covered in green algae and brown slime, the water level was up by 40mms so that gave a little more space between the lure and the river bottom today. I was in the river by 7:10am this time, a little earlier than my last trip here, I started off using a #0 Mepps March Brown Bug spinner only to have it fouled by the green algae that was drifting down the river.
Sometimes things are never as easy as they sound, two days left in January to catch two trout to reach my 350th for the season, should be quite easy shouldn't, well it wasn't. Here's how I struggled to reach it. Never take things for granted.
As the title states, getting my 350th trout wasn't easy at all, with just two trout needed to reach it I certainly did it the hard way. Every time I get close to achieving something, for one reason or another it never comes easy for me. In a way I suppose that's a good thing, but just for once it would be nice to reach it without any hiccups along the way. Like today for instance when I headed over to one of my favourite small tannin streams where I thought it would be a simple matter catching two trout to reach the 350th trout before the end of January. Now I don't normally fish the small tannin waters at this time of the year unless we've had some decent rainfall which we did have a week ago. When I arrived at the stream I could see it was on the low side but to me it still looked good enough to hop in and catch a few trout. The tannin water was still on the dark coloured side of things which I felt would be in my favour so I started the session off with a small #00 copper Aglia Mouche Rouge inline spinner.
A cool change is on its way so I thought I had best get a spin session in before it arrives as the day goes on, this trip was close to home, it was to the Mersey River at Kimberley. It's an area I've fished for many years and it used to be a great area to fish until we had the 2016 record floods. That flood changed the majority of the Mersey River system, after the floods most of my favourite areas were completely washed away, the river was just a wide open river with five bridges destroyed or severely damaged and most of the river foliage gone. When everything settled down and I returned to fish the river it was like I was fishing a new river, the river had changed so much.
After a poor spin session in a tannin stream this morning with just one small brown trout being caught from five hookups, this afternoon I decided to give the River Leven at Gunns Plains a go. The reason I headed to this river was because it was down to a safe wading height, plus it's a river I love to fish even if it does run hot and cold with the trout. The trout can be hard to find at times and when one does come across them they can be very moody, they're either aggressive or they just sit behind the lure and tease you. Seeing as I had an angling club meeting meant it wasn't going to be a late finish, I would have to be back at the car around five thirty. It was 3:10 pm when I arrived at Gunns Plains and after a short walk it was in the river flicking a #1 Aglia Furi around in the very light tannin coloured water. It didn't take all that long before a nice medium size brown trout followed the spinner right up to where I was standing in the river. There was not a sign of aggression from it either, straight away I thought it's going to be one of those teaser days.
After being laid up for a while with a torn muscle in my back and then giving it a short two hour workout in the Mersey River yesterday in which I pulled up okay I decided I will get a spin session in again today. With rain looming in the distance I headed off to one of my favourite small tannin streams for a morning spin session in the hope of catching a few trout before it arrives. As soon as I arrived I darted over to see what the water level was like, it was running high, much higher than I thought it would have been. The 60mms of rain we had here four days ago has really lifted the water level, it was still at a safe wading height, the downside was I'll be in for a tough time finding trout in the faster flowing water. After a twenty five minute walk I was at my entry point where I started fishing for trout, my lure of choice was a #0 Mepps Aglia Fluo Phospho (white) lure. The reason I chose this lure was because of it's white coloured blade plus the Aglia blade is a wide blade that will send out plenty of vibration through the water as I retrieve it, hopefully that will be enough to attract a few trout. As I started fishing my way upstream I couldn't believe how cold the water was, it was very cold on the legs which was something I wasn't expecting today. To make matters worse I didn't wear my thermal gear today either thinking the water temperature would have been okay. Yesterday when I fished the Mersey River the water temperature was around the 12-13 degree mark, here it's only around 7-8 degrees.
Another change of weather is on the way, this time it includes thunderstorms and heavy rain so I made a hasty decision to head off the Mersey River before the change arrives. I checked the river levels online and saw that the river at Weegena was down to a reasonable level that was fairly safe for wading. It was 7:40 am when I hopped in the river and the first thing I noticed was the water temperature was sitting at 10 degrees which was good to see.
Rain,hail and cool conditions were forecast today, after having a 11:15 am doctor's appointment it was a late start to the day for my planned spin session in the upper Mersey River. On the way to the river there was quite a lot of weather moving in, very low dark rain clouds weren't all that far off from where I was heading. When I got to the river there was already someone in it fishing their way upstream so I headed to another stretch of river a couple of kilometres further upstream, a stretch of water I haven't fished for around 5 years. No sooner had I arrived (12:50 pm) I only had time to put on the wading gear when heavy rain & light hail arrived, all I could do was sit in the car and wait for it to pass. After a twenty minute wait it had passed and I was out of the car heading down to the river.
Perfect weather was forecast and with the Meander River running at 60cms it was time for another fast water spin session today. I was in the river by 7:20am and the conditions were perfect as forecast, the river was running cool and clear it couldn't have been better, all I needed now was to find the trout. This morning I decided to give the Black Fury a go, the Black Fury inline spinner is the first lure I caught a trout on some 55 years ago and it's the lure that got me into trout fishing. It's been a while since I used one and with the water being at the right height today I thought it was well worth giving it a go using the cast and drift method in the fast waters. With the water running at 60cms there's a lot of flat waters on both sides of the river and I'm hoping most will be holding trout.
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Presented from Issue 100
Considering the world class quality of our sea trout fishery, these fish are not sought after by enough anglers. Sea runners live in the salt water and run up our estuaries and rivers from the start of August to the middle of November. At this time of the year, they are here to eat the many species of fish that are either running up the rivers to spawn or are living in and around the estuary systems. Trout, both sea run and resident (Slob Trout) feed heavily on these small fish which darken in colouration as they move further into fresh water reaches.
The majority of these predatory fish are brown trout with rainbows making up a very small percentage of the catch. They can be found all around the state but it would be fair to say that the east coast is the least prolific of all the areas. They still run up such rivers as the Georges (and many others) but their numbers along with the quality of the fishing elsewhere make it difficult to recommend the area above the larger northern, southern and western rivers.Read more ...