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 ...
After having an eleven day break from trout fishing due to bright sunny days, clear water and mainly easterly winds today was the day to go and chase the trout. Why, because it was a cool foggy morning and there was a nice cloud cover, a perfect morning to go trout fishing in the Meander River. The maximum temperature forecast for the day was twenty seven degrees which meant the sun was going to burn the cloud off and that's when it would start to warm up. As much as I wanted an early start I wasn't in the river until 7:30 am mainly due to a change of area I decided to fish, which resulted in a twenty minute walk to my entry point. The reason I made the change was because I knew once the cloud dispersed I would still have shade along one side of the river and I would probably be ready to call it a day as well, that was the plan anyway. I started the spin session off using a well used Mepps #0 March Brown Bug spinner and it wasn't all that long before I hooked and lost the first fish of the day, thankfully it was only a small brown trout.
Seeing as I pulled up a little stiff from yesterday's spin session I waited until 2:15 pm before I headed off to have a late afternoon spin in the fast waters of the Meander River. My last trip to these fast waters wasn't a good one, all I managed that day was seeing two trout follow the lure and that was it. The water level is down to 57cms which is ideal for wading the fast waters I'm heading to. It was 2:55 pm by the time I entered the river and it looked great, the only thing I had to contend with was the rocky river bottom, the rocks were a little slippery under foot. I started the session off with a #0 March Brown Bug and it wasn't all that long when I had a trout have a go at it, it missed getting hooked. Still, that was a good sign and I felt like I could be in for a good time fishing the fast waters this afternoon. I was concentrating on casting the spinner into the flat waters along the opposite side of the river, they're the areas that the trout will be holding out waiting to grab anything that passes by. It wasn't all that long after seeing the first trout when another fish followed the March Brown for several meters before it turned and moved off.
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.
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.
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.
Another day with heavy cloud cover and strong gusty South Easterly winds wasn't keeping me home today, the Meander River level was sitting on 78cms which was still too high for safe wading the fast water in the upper reaches but reasonably okay for the lower reaches. Where I fished today was a mix of very clear fast to medium flowing water that I had to take it slow and easy in, one slip and I would have been in a bit of trouble. The river bottom is very rocky and slippery underfoot and it's easy to take a tumble or be spun around in the fast water runs, it's not an area for the inexperienced fisher person. It is okay for fishing from the rocky river banks, but not when one had to cross the river four times like I did today. Before I could even wet a line I had a six hundred meter walk to reach my entry point. This one and a half to two kilometres of river I fished today is one I only fish two or three times each trout season mainly because of the distance I have walking to the river. It's not that I mind the walk at all, it's when I've finished fishing this rocky, slippery river over a long distance my body is knackered. Once out of the river I then have approx a two and a half kilometre walk back to the car.
** Here's how my trout fishing session went :
Beautiful weather conditions forecast today had me heading off to the Meander River for a spin session, the river was running much higher than I liked but I was well overdue to have a fish in it. It wasn't an early start at all, it was just on ten thirty when I hit the river, the water temperature was a low four degrees which wasn't good to see. It was also running at 75cms which is 15cms higher to make for much easier wading conditions, care is a must in most fast water runs when it's running at this level. I would have liked to have given the fast water runs above the main road bridge but it wasn't safe enough for my liking so I had to settle for fishing a lower stretch of the river where it was much safer. My lure of choice was a Mepps #1 Aglia Furia, a great all round inline spinner that works well on the trout in most of the larger rivers I fish.
It was back to the Meander fast waters again this morning for another spin session to see if I can add a few more trout to my season's tally of 370 trout. I wasn't intending to fish the fast waters today mainly because of the right hip but then decided what the heck get in there and see how you go, if fishing there aggravates it then I'll get out and head to the slower flowing waters. The conditions were quite overcast and a cool six degrees when I hit the clear flowing river at 10:10am, the water temp was sitting on ten degrees and it was cold on the legs too. I started the session off with a small #00 White Miller Bug spinner, it's not a colour I would normally start off using but I wanted to see how it would perform in the dull conditions and clear water. Well, not a lot happened for around fifteen minutes or so before a cast directly upstream into a flat water a small brown took it. Two head shakes from that little brown and it was gone, it tossed the White Miller as quick as it took it.
After missing out not having a spin session yesterday, this afternoon I decided to head back to the fast waters of the Meander River. It was 2:25pm when I hit the water in what was perfect weather conditions with a light breeze and patches of scattered cloud.
The river level was a little lower than my last trip here, it was still running nice and clear, lure of choice for starters was the #1 Stone Fly Bug spinner. The first area I fished was a large wide deep stretch of medium flowing water, it was here I had a follow from a nice brown.
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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.