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.
It was a nice small/medium size brown that took it no sooner had the Aglia Mouche Noire hit the water close to the opposite side of the river.. The next couple of runs were slower flowing water and all I could manage was a couple of follows before I moved into a faster flowing stretch of river. After having a couple more follows I changed lures, I went for a F3 Rapala in a rainbow pattern, the first cast in & under a willow tree had an instant hit & miss.
Five meters further up the river I flicked the Rapala into a small flat water close to the opposite river bank and had another hit, this time the trout was hooked. I could see it was only lipped but it stayed on all the way to the net, it was a small well conditioned 280 gram brown. Over the following one hundred meters of river I caught and released another four trout from six hook ups. I had caught & released half a dozen trout from eight hook ups by 9:05 am, a great start to the spin session for sure. Ahead of me was a wide deep stretch of river which I decided to bypass, I wanted to mainly fish the medium/fast flowing waters today, even more so now the cloud had cleared and the sun was full on the river.
After bypassing the wider deep water I entered a narrow fast water run, it was back to the Aglia Mouche Noire again. It took a few cast and drifts before I had a solid brown take the spinner, it was just out of the range of my net when it gave a head shake and was gone. So close to having it in the net then to see it gone so fast had me saying a few choice words. The second cast into the same area a rainbow took the spinner, that little battler did make it into the net. It was a small 290 gram fish and was in great condition and beautifully coloured too as are all rainbows. This was the forth rainbow I hooked in the Meander this season, where they're coming from I have no idea.
It is good to see them in the river though, I'm hoping there is some recruitment going on with them. The IFS did do some stocking way back in 2010 or earlier I think it was to see if they would spawn in the river. Those fish did start to spread through the system then during the Summer of 2012 the Hydro turbine broke down on Huntsman Lake and the river dropped to a very low level.
The water temp rose then we had a large influx of cormorants on the river( & across the state) the rainbow trout disappeared. That rainbow was the last trout caught over the next eight hundred meters of river, I did have several follows and light hits and misses over that distance. With the water being so clear and full sun on it the trout had shut down, plus the North Easterly wind that was forecast had arrived. A few of the trout that followed the lures were of a reasonable size but there wasn't any signs of aggression from them.
I tried a variety of Mepps spinners and hard body lures all to no avail, they were all windows shoppers. It was 9:35 am when I caught the last trout, it was 11:55 am when I called it a day after not catching another fish. It wasn't until I had walked back to where I had to cross the river when I decided to flick the Aglia spinner up and across the river, it was there I hooked & landed the best brown of the spin session. Not a large trout, but a nice fish that went 390 grams and number nine trout for the session. Was I fairly satisfied with how the day went, but still very disappointed with the size of the trout in this river this season. It was 12:40 by the time I was back at the car totally knackered.
Adrian Webb (meppstas)
Aglia Mouche and wild brown trout
First trout caught here
Rainbow trout caught here
Small rainbow trout a surprise catch
The last trout of the spin session
This brown fell to the Rapala lure