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 ...
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I was originally going to head to the upper Mersey River at Liena at 4:30 am this morning when I woke up but after laying there for a while I decided not to. As much as I wanted to get up I just couldn't be bothered because of a couple of sleepless nights. As the day went on and there was some good cloud cover around I then decided to head up there around 2:10 PM.
With the Australian National Fly Fishing Championships on over the next three days I decided to give the upper reaches a fish. I arrived just after 7:00 am in what was overcast conditions, no wind and it was quite mild, really good fishing conditions. I did have a tough 1.5 km walk ahead of me to reach my starting point which I reached just after 7:30 am. With the river running very clear I was in two minds whether to go for the hard body lure or my ever reliable little Mepps spinners. I decided to go with the Mepps, now would be a black or gold blade spinner to start with. I went for the #00 (1.5g) gold blade Aglia for starters to see how that would go, if it didn't then I'd change to the black one.
Another warm day was forecast with gusty Nth Easterlies again with a late change and a chance of rain and thunderstorms had me in two minds if I should go fishing this morning. I was awake at 4:00 am and just laid there listening to the radio before I got up at 6:30 am to get myself ready to head of to the upper Mersey River on private property. Once out of bed I was feeling very sore again from yesterdays late afternoon session in the river and the lower back & left hip weren't all that good. I decided I'd have a bit of breakfast and take a few pain killers then head off at around 7:30 am.
Still a little sore from doing some gardening etc over the weekend and having the Monday off from fishing I made the decision to go for a spin session in the Mersey River after lunch today. I was in the river at 1:30 PM in what was bright warm sunny conditions, the sun full on the clear water and a gusty North Easterly wind blowing. I started off with a small ghost brown hard body and had a take on the very first cast, the reel screamed for a short time before a solid rainbow leaped from the river and tossed the lure. I couldn't set the hooks because I hadn't adjusted the drag on the reel and that's why the rainbow tossed the lure.
Overcast, no wind and mild weather conditions had me in the Mersey River by 6:35 am this morning and the first thing I noticed was the trout surface feeding. They were spread out in most sections of the river sipping down the little midges that were floating down the river. I thought nothing of it really because that's what I saw on my last trip to the Mersey River & thought I was in for a tough day but caught & released 22 trout. Well, how wrong was I on this trip because it took me just on an hour before I had my first trout in the net, a nice rainbow taken on the aglia gold spinner.
Warm weather forecast with a cool morning saw me having an early start in the Mersey River this morning in what was beautiful conditions. I was in the river by 6:45 am and picked up a nice 530 gram rainbow with the Mepps gold Aglia in the first small fast water I fished. The next run of water I'm moving into was a long wide run that's close to one and a half kilometers in length and has a few small fast water runs in it too.. It was here I changed over to the ghost brown hard body lure to fish this clear water. As I approached this stretch of river I could see several trout surface feeding so I thought I may be in for a tough session if the trout are concentrating on surface feeding.
Clear skies, light to moderate WSW wind and a maximum temperature of around nineteen degrees forecast had me heading over to the Mersey River for a spin session today. I didn't hit the river until 10:00 am or there about and it wasn't all that long before I had my first brown take the little Daiwa ghost brown hard body. I plucked it out of a nice clear medium flowing section of water and it was quite a nice well conditioned fish too. It had taken the lure a little deep in the mouth to what I would have liked and there was a little blood flowing through the gills. Once I picked it up and checked inside its mouth I could see there wasn't any major damage to the fish, once I removed the treble hook with the forceps the bleeding had almost stopped. I held it in the water for several minutes and there wasn't any sign of blood coming from the fish, so I sent it on it's way.
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.
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.
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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 ...