Another warm day had me heading over to the Mersey River for a few hours chasing trout.. I didn't hit the river until 10:20 am not that it mattered all that much as it was mainly overcast conditions for now. The river here was running at a medium height and fairly clear so I'm hoping to catch and release a few browns today given the conditions were just right. I started of with the Daiwa ghost brown seeing as it worked well on the browns up at Liena yesterday in what was pretty tough fishing conditions. Well the first couple of stretches of water were very quiet, though I did manage to have a follow from a very small brown. It wasn't until I was half through fishing a back water when I finally caught my first small (270 gram) brown for the morning. That was the only brown taken in that long back water run, I did have several follows without any signs of aggression at all from them.
I had a quick trip over to Merseylea in what was cool, windy and wet conditions. When I checked the river levels online I thought the Mersey river would be low enough for a good wading session but when I arrived I could see it was a little higher that I expected. We had some heavy rain during the morning and I doubt that was enough to raise the water level. Any way I sat in the car and waited for around twenty minutes while a heavy rain shower passed over before I hit the river. There certainly was some water coming down so I was making sure I stayed in water no higher than my knees most times.
Well the weather this morning was no where near what was originally forecast, there wasn't any wind and now the rain isn't supposed to get here until late afternoon. I headed back to the Wilmot River seeing as the Mersey River is still on the high side and not safe enough to wade at the moment. The Wilmot River was running at the same level as it was on my last trip here over a week ago which was good to see. Today I decided on using the Daiwa ghost gill brown hard body lure as that's what got the trout going on the last spin session here. But that was a week ago and a lot can change in a week with the trout fishing, even more so in the rivers.
The first stretch of water fished was a wide slow flowing run and I had a follow from a decent size brown within the first few casts. That brown did show some interest in the lure but not enough to attack it, no matter what I tried. It wasn't until I was getting close to the top end of this stretch of water when I had my first take on the hard body. It was a well conditioned rainbow, this was the same start I had on my last trip here. The first fish that day was also a rainbow trout, this one was a little smaller than last weeks fish. Twenty meters further on I picked up a medium size brown from a bubble line close to the river bank, this fish was taken close to where I caught the rainbow last week. With two trout caught in quick time I'm thinking it's going to be a good session with quite a few trout being led into the landing net by the time I call it a day.
The next small fast water I flicked the lure into I was soon onto another nice brown, that fish tossed the lure on the second head shake. It was quiet over the following run but the next one gave up a solid brown that fought all the way into the net. I was on a high now and feeling pretty cocky that these trout are in for a hammering today.. How wrong I was, it went dead from here on with not a sign of a trout for over forty minutes as I worked my way upstream. It wasn't until I came to a long medium to fast water run when I hooked another brown, that one stayed on until I went to slip the net under it when it gave one more head shake and tossed the lure. Yes, I did have a little tantrum before moving on and continued fishing.. The strong winds that was earlier forecast finally arrived and it was really gusting now so I decided I would fish one more small fast water run ahead of me then call it a day. Good decision it was too because it was this piece of water that gave up the fish of the day. This solid brown took the ghost brown on the first cast and retrieve. It certainly gave me a run for my money too as it did everything to try and toss the lure. It made at least five of six leaps from the river and at the same time putting in some massive head shakes. I keep saying, “Stay on big fella, just stay on” and he did. After what seemed like five minutes but was only one & a half this fish was finally in the net. It was certainly a beautiful wild brown in the best of condition and colour and went 620 grams. A nice finish to what was really a short session, one that was also a bit of a let down after such a good start.. Still that's trout fishing isn't it and that's what it's all about, taking the good with the bad.
620 gram brown caught here
Best trout of the day
Brown taken here
Calm conditions on the river
Ready for release
The conditions this morning looked okay with a maximum of 14 degrees, mainly overcast and a light North Westerly breeze with a change late this afternoon.. Given that we haven't had rain for a couple of days I thought a trip to a tannin waters of a small stream in the upper reaches of the Mersey River was worth a go.
With another change on the way I left for the river earlier than I normally would at this time of year, with 60-70 kph winds & rain forecast I thought it best to hit the river early. Once there I could see it was running higher than normal so I'm thinking I may be in for a tough time on the water today. This trip I'm using a brand new 5'6'' Daiwa Presso ULS spin rod coupled with a new Daiwa 16 crest reel spooled with 98 meters of 4 lb clear Kast King copolymer line and a new #00 gold Aglia.. I wanted to try the short rod out today as a test run for when I head back to some of the small tight streams at a later date. The first thirty minutes of fishing was fairly quiet before I had my first small brown in the net.
Finally after checking the online river plots one of the rivers I fish had dropped low enough for me to hit it for a spin session. That river was the Meander, this will be my first trip of the season to it. Once there it was still a little higher than expected but still safe enough for wading. The area I'm going to fish today is probably the only one that is safe enough to fish at the height it is at this stage. That's the good thing about knowing everything about the rivers I fish which has come from many years of fishing them. With rain forecast later in the day I hit the river just after 10:20am in what was cool and heavy overcast conditions with a light North Westerly breeze. I started the session off with a #1 Aglia-e red & silver blade spinner, another new one that I wanted to see if it could attract a trout.
I decided to have an afternoon trip to the river (private prop) in what was pretty cool overcast conditions with a very light breeze. I'm fishing a one kilometer stretch of river that runs through a friends property and I'm hoping it's running clear enough for a spin session. After a twenty minute walk through his paddocks it wasn't long before I was at the river. It was running a little higher than I had expected, but it was clear enough to spin fish and that's all that mattered. I started off with a Mepps #00 gold blade Aglia mainly because at this time of year it's the best colour to use in cold water. A silver or fluoro coloured spinner are good too and will catch fish in cold water early in the season.
Another beautiful day gave me the chance to head off and try a section of a small river, one that I haven't fished for around five years. I thought seeing as we had a good flood back in June 2016 and some reasonable rainfall this Winter it may have a few nice trout back in it. The only problem is getting into it because it is well hidden with heavy foliage and requires a four to five hundred meter bush bash to reach it. Once there I could see the bush was a lot thicker now than it was back when I last fished here. I was in two minds whether or not to venture into the bush, but I did. Nothing better than a challenge that's for sure even it is going to be a tough one. Half way into it I was having second thoughts if I had made the right decision, I did think about turning back. I didn't though, I pushed on then finally heard the sound of the water rushing over the rocks in a shallow section of the stream. Then it was only a matter of finding an entry point and not slip down the steep bank that was covered with blackberry bushes.
After having physio this morning and given the weather conditions were absolutely beautiful I headed off to small stream in the upper reaches of the Mersey River near Weegena.. This little river quite often fished well early season while there's good flow in it, I'm hoping it will do so this trip too. Once the water level drops it's a tough little stream to fish, so now is the time to give it a go. I started off using a small gold bladed #00 Aglia and had a follow in the first five casts. That brown came up and nudged the trebles with it's nose a few times before it turned and moved off. I knew then and there the spinners weren't going to work here today so changed over to a gold/black F-3 Rapala to see if that would get the result I was after. Well, I had only moved upstream some twenty meters when I was onto my first brown for the session. It was a well conditioned fish that went just on 350 grams, like 98% of the fish I catch it had it's photo taken and was soon back in the river.
It's been two weeks now since I damaged the hamstring and I felt it was time to put it to the test. Even though I have to see the physio again on Thursday, to me it feels good enough to have a short spin session in a river. Left Sheffield at 1:15 PM and arrived near the river just before 2:00 PM. I soon had the waders & boots on then off for leisurely forty minute walk that included a little bush bashing before I was finally at the rivers edge. All I had to do then was to find an easy entry point, instead of sliding down a steep river bank. It only took me a couple of minutes before I found one that was good enough, providing I took it easy. At last I was back to what I love doing most, spin fishing a river for that elusive trout.
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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 ...