by Sarah Graham
Many anglers are preparing for the opening of the new angling season on Saturday 7 August and it's shaping up to be another good one with the fishery in excellent health as a result of last year’s drought breaking rains. There are many great fishing locations around the State from which to choose for the opening weekend and early season fishing but here are a few suggestions.
I headed off to the Meander River to catch trout number 500 today, something I thought would come nice and quick in the river. Thing is I was pretty slack in getting up to start with and I wasn't in the river until 9:30am after a 1.5 km walk, the sun was well up and full on the clear water. Still feeling confident that my favourite river would give up the fish required I was quick in starting the session of with a Mepps Aglia Furia in a nice free flowing medium stretch of river. Twenty minutes later I still hadn't seen a fish, no follows, just nothing, there wasn't a fish in that beautiful stretch of water. I tried a variety of spinners & even hard body lures, still nothing. I continued spin fishing my way upstream giving the Okuma Helios SX20 reel & Okuma Celilo 6'6'' ULS 1-3kg trout rod a good workout all to no avail, still no signs of any trout. It wasn't until 10:30am when I drew a nice brown out of a shaded area on the left hand side of the river, that trout was only half interested before it turned and moved off. Seeing that trout did give me some hope of catching one here today after all.
Calm, mild overcast conditions had me heading back to have another crack chasing trout in the rocky fast waters of the Meander River. I hit the river at 7:40 am to find it was a little lower than my last trip here, it still had plenty of water coming down. Like most of my trips of late I started off with the lure that keeps on keeping on even though it's now very much worse for wear, the copper blade Mepps #0 Aglia Mouche Noire was the lure.
I only intended to fish a five/six hundred meter stretch of river then move to another area two or so kilometres further downstream. The area I fished was perfect for the cast & drift method and it wasn't very long before I had the first trout hooked and landed. The trout were here but they weren't overly aggressive to start with, they were just nipping at the spinner. I stayed with the copper Mouche Noire lure and by the time I had reached the area I was finishing up I had caught a total of six small browns from nine hookups.
After having around 50 injections in my lower back, hips and left shoulder blade I felt good enough to hit the fast water on the Meander River. Before I left home I put several stick on heat patches on my lower back & took a couple of pain killers as well. Any way I arrived at Meander in thick fog, got the trout wading gear on and headed off to the river. When I arrived at the area I was going to fish I found the river was running a too little high and fast for my liking.
I just love this time of year with it's cool nights & mornings that slowly turn into beautiful still mild Autumn days. It's also a great time of the trout season for chasing trout in the rivers for me as well. It was another cool morning when I arrived at the Meander River for another spin session with the river still flowing at a nice wading height. I started the session off with the lure that has done well on the trout over a few trips and that was the copper Aglia Mouche Noire spinner. The water temperature has now dropped to a cool ten degrees, I'm hoping for more good results like I had in this river on my last trip when I caught & released 15 browns. I was in the river by 7:20 am and it wasn't too long before I had my first trout take the spinner which was good, it was a nice 280 gram brown.
Given it was a beautiful cool & frosty morning I decided to head off for an early spin session to see if I could catch three more trout to reach the 400 mark for this season. It's been a tough one for me so far and being around 120 or more trout down for the same time last season, reaching the 400 mark will make up for my poor season.
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.
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.
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.
Well for the first time this season I was in the Meander River by 5:00 am this morning in what was a beautiful cool morning with plenty of water flowing down the river. The day was supposed to reach 27 degrees, that's the reason for the early start. I was hoping the trout fishing would be better early morning than the later starts I have had on this river. I do prefer the early morning starts on the rivers as it is the best time to be on the water, the trout fishing is usually at it's best then, especially in the Summer months. This river hasn't fished all that well this season and this is another reason I wanted to have the early start on it. There was only one thing I wasn't happy with and that was the water level, the river was running at 70 cms which is a little on the high side where I'm fishing.
Another overcast and windless morning saw me in the Meander River by 7:20 am when I started casting the Mepps Aglia Furia up & across the river. Using the cast & drift method it was on the second cast that I had a follow from a medium size brown. Even though it didn't take the s[inner it was a good sign seeing a trout so early into the spin session. The river height was running at 62 cms which was fine for where I was fishing at this stage, though I would have preferred it to have been five to ten centimetres lower.
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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 ...