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.
A hot day was forecast with light NE winds early then gusting later in the day so I had an early start on the Meander this morning. I was in the river flicking a gold Aglia spinner around by 6:15 am in what was beautiful cool conditions with some cloud cover. The river had good flow and was running very clear, now all I needed was for the trout to be in an aggressive mood. It wasn't all that long before the little gold spinner drew the attention of a couple of browns, but they were only interested in it for a short distance before moving off. I replaced the spinner with the small ghost brown hard body seeing as that's got them going several times here before. Well it wasn't any better than the gold spinner, I had follow after follow from some nice browns and that was it. Another change of lure, the rainbow Rapala was the choice this time. I had a repeat of what has been going on so far this morning with the lures, more follows but no takers. I have now been in the river for forty five minutes and all I've had is a dozen follows from a lot of non aggressive browns.
With cloud moving in making conditions quite humid I decided to head on over to the Meander River for an afternoon session. The river was running some 4-6 inches higher than my last trip here which was back on Tuesday 28th November and it was little discoloured too. By the time I had walked 1.5 kms to the river it was 3:30 PM when I had my first cast with the little #00 gold Aglia into a long wide medium stretch of river. There was a reasonably strong North Easterly breeze blowing from behind me so I was getting good distance with the light weight spinner, I was reaching the opposite side of the river with ease. I used the cast and drift method and had my first take within three minutes, it was a nice solid 460 gram brown. After it making several runs and leaps I slowly led it into the net, once in it out popped the spinner.
Well I did manage to hit the Meander River just on 6:40am this morning in what was beautiful calm cool conditions. The river was running at a nice height with very clear water, there were a few insects out and about as well as the odd trout on the rise. I started off with a gold Aglia and picked up a solid 450 gram brown in the first ten minutes of fast water fishing. The flowing stretch of water was a wide deep slow piece of river so I just worked the spinner down the shallow left hand side of it where I had a solid hit but missed it. It was all quiet over the next couple of stretches of river until I reached the top end of the second run after changing over to the small ghost brown hard body lure.
I had every intention of heading over to the Meander River this morning and was ready to head off at 6:00am. Just before I was about to leave I thought I would check the river level on the BOM site only to find the river was up by 90cms from last night which made it a little on the high side for a spin session where I was heading. So that was the end of my trip to the Meander River, then I decided to head over to Merseylea and fish upstream from the top bridge. Once there I found the wind was up and coming straight down the river, it was a pretty cold breeze too so I headed on back home. I was still feeling a little sore from yesterdays spin session in the Mersey River any way, so a rest today won't do me any harm at all.
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.
Presented from Issue 107, December 2013
For the last few years I’ve been a bit of a lake fishing fanatic. Almost every chance I got I’d zip off “up top” for a chance to attack a stillwater. It could be a few hours of an evening, a dawn patrol tail session on the Pine, or a couple of hours through the middle of the day between jobs. Free fuel and a work bus made it easy to take off on a whim. Sessions were short and travel times were often pretty long, and increasingly the travel with a young family has become just a bit more tiresome.
Not having fished the Meander River since the 31st March I thought it's time I went back there and give it a go. By the time a got there then walked for some 1.5 kms before I hopped in the river it was 10:35 am, not that it really matters at this time of year any way. The river was the lowest I have seen it since the Hyrdo turbine broke down back in 2012, not only that, there was still plenty of the cotton like green algae covering most of the river bottom. Any way I started the session off using a gold black fury and fished a couple of sections of river for just the one hit and miss.
A heavy frosty morning meant for a nice sunny but cool day and also a good one to go fishing in a river somewhere.. I decided it would be the Meander River which is 45 kms from Sheffield. I'm hoping the river level has dropped low enough so I can get in and fish it. I couldn't get a reading of the river levels online due to the gauge still being out of order since the June floods. So I'm going to take the chance and hope it will be okay. Once there I could see it was down and just wade-able going by a log the juts out from the river bank. I have used this log as a gauge for many years now and I know when the river is at a safe level for wading. Today it's borderline, so I decided I would have a session in the river. I'm not going to take any chances though, if I get to a stretch of water that doesn't feel right then I won't be going any further. Besides I'm not sure what has changed on the river bottom either, has it been washed out in places or is it still as it was before the floods. I could see how high the river had been during the floods, the good thing is that there's still plenty of undamaged foliage along both sides of the river.
Woke up to hear that it was going to be 21 degrees here in Sheffield today, then when I looked outside there was just a full on pea soup fog to be seen. I had decided yesterday that I would fish the Meander River as I thought with only seven browns needed to reach the 800 trout for the season then this river would be my best chance of doing it. Once there I had a one & a half kilometer walk through thick fog to where I was going to enter the river. It's just as well I know this area like the back of my hand as visibility was pretty low when I headed off through the paddocks. By the time I reached my entry point the fog was a little lighter and the river was like glass, there wasn't a breath of wind. I love fishing in these conditions as eerie as it is.
Humid conditions again today saw me heading off to the Meander River this afternoon in the hope of adding a few more trout to my season's tally. I thought I'd try a different area today, one that's fished reasonably well on other trips. Started off using the copper black fury without any success, then tried a Rapala, and after that a black bladed black fury. All I could manage over the first 600 meters of river was two follows and one light hit & miss. Things weren't looking all that good and I'm thinking it's not going to be a good day on the river.
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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 ...