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.Read more ...
Seeing as we had a Angling Club fishing day at Huntsman Lake at Meander I thought I'd get a few hours of fishing the Meander River in before heading to the lake. I was still dark when I arrived & headed off through the paddocks on a 1.5 km walk to where I was starting the spin session in the river.
By the time I reached the river it was light enough to hop in and start fishing where I had a couple of follows from a solid brown at the tail end of a long slow flowing run. I tried several different lures but that fish just wasn't in an aggressive mood. The next stretch of river gave up nothing and it wasn't until I reached a nice narrow medium/fast flowing run when I had my first take. A small (280 gm) brown took the Mepps Aglia brown spinner from a cast & drift under the willows close to the river bank, I had my first trout of the morning.
With some light cloud around this morning I thought I would head over to the Mersey River and have a short spin session before the sun burnt the cloud off. Conditions were quite nice with hardly a breath of wind and the river was at the perfect wading height. As I entered the river (7:40am) I noticed a few trout on the rise just ahead of me so I flicked the Aglia Furia well past the fish and retrieved the spinner back a little faster that the flow.
Mild overcast morning saw me heading off to the Meander River for a spin session in a 1.5km stretch of river I haven't fished since before the 2016 June floods. When I last fished this area I averaged 15 plus trout each trip and most trout were all in the 450 gram range with many larger ones taken as well. I wasn't expecting much today, I just felt it was time to see if the trout are back in this stretch of river. The rest of the river is slowly coming back with trout but they're mainly all small fish this season with the odd few reasonable fish taken from time to time. I hit the river at 8:05 am and had my first trout on within the first three casts up and across the fast water.
I though a trip back to the Leven River may be worthwhile now the river level has dropped backed to a safe wading height after some heavy rainfall a couple of weeks ago. My last trip there was a good one with nineteen trout being caught & released, today the water level is lower than that trip was. When I arrived it was very foggy and the conditions were great, cool and not a breath of wind, just perfect for chasing trout. There were a few campers set up on the property where I started off the spin session, good thing was I had arrived at 6:00 am and they were still in their beds.
Took another trip over to the Meander River again to day to see if there was to be any improvement in the trout fishing. The forecast was good with light winds & a temp of around 21 degrees, I was in the river by 7:00 am & the air was damn cold as was the water temp. It was also running at 70 cms which is on the high side for wading but still safe enough when you know the river. I started off with the lure that's been working the best in the rivers & that was the Mepps #1 Aglia Furia. I had a trout take it in the first five minutes and I thought I was in for a good day.
Hit the Mersey River just on 7:00 am in what was cool foggy conditions to start with, but a good mild 19 degree day was forecast. My last trip here was back on the 5th December when I had a tough spin session chasing trout in similar conditions. As soon as I hit the water I could see plenty of trout on the rise in a wide long slow flowing flat water which meant I was in for another tough spin session. I fished a short fast water to start with just like I did on the last trip with the same result, no fish. As I headed into the wide long stretch of river with the fog slowly lifting there was a line of trout rising ahead of me which was quite good to watch. Trout were rising everywhere,
I Headed over to the Mersey River and walked down through several paddocks for a good kilometre or so below the Union Bridge then started fishing my way back upstream. I haven't fished here for quite some time due to the lack of trout being in the river, today I mainly wanted to see if it has improved with trout stocks. The river was running at a nice wading height and a dark tanning colour. I started off with a Mepps #1 gold black fury working it in several fast water and medium flowing runs without a sign of a trout over the first two hundred meters of river. I changed over to the #1 Aglia Furia and the first stretch of water I used it in I had a couple of follows from brown trout that were mainly out of interest, not a sign of aggression from either fish. Then decided to try hard body lures in that same stretch of water, all to no avail as I never had a follow on any of the five different hard body lures I tried.
Very wet & windy weather was the forecast here today, well by 2:30 PM I was sick of waiting for it to arrive so headed over to Merseylea for a short spin session. As soon as I arrived so did the rain, thankfully it was only light and wasn't a problem. As the time passed by so did the rain, the trout were few and far between here too. All I could manage was three hook ups for just the one small brown landed. Another one had its revenge with me as I went to lift it from the water it tosses the lure which in turn sliced through my finger. All good in the end as I always carry a small first aid kit in my vest for this very reason. I often have to yank a treble hook from a lure that has embedded itself in a finger or some other part of my hand from time to time.
With overcast damp conditions today I headed over to the Mersey River, soon as I arrived (5:45am) I saw trout surface feeding in the wide slow flowing water. Seeing that always means I'm in for a tough session & as it turned out it was just that. I still flicked the Mepps spinners & a few hard body lures around in the slow flowing water for just the one follow. Heavy rain was forecast for later in the day, at the moment it was just a light drizzle on and off which I didn't mind. I decided the only place I'll catch trout today was the fast water runs, that's where I headed.
At last the Leven River level was down to a safe wading height which meant I could finally go and have another go at catching a trout in it. My last trip there resulted in a “donut” which was my first for two trout seasons. I did hook a few trout that day but lost every one of them, today I was out for a bit of revenge. Actually I would be happy with catching two or three fish, well not really I want more to make up for my previous losses. The conditions were ideal too with heavy cloud cover and the lightest of breeze as I entered the river just on 6:00 am. The river was running at the perfect height for wading, so far everything was spot on for trout fishing. First stretch of river I fished was a medium to fast water around forty meters long.
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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 ...