Mike Fry doesn’t only live on the Wild Side of Tasmania, but also goes fishing in probably the wildest boat ever to troll for trout—certainly in Tasmania.
When your mate says ‘What are you doing tomorrow, want to come up the Gordon for the night?’ it would be pretty hard to say anything else except “you bet” and start checking out your tackle box and packing your overnight bag. But if your mate was Troy Grining and he wanted to give his new 52ft, high speed cruiser a run across Macquarie Harbour, test the new onboard dory with a chance of landing a nice Gordon River Brown you would have to feel privileged. I didn’t say anything about getting on my hands and knees and kissing his feet…just having a lend of ya’ but I did feel very appreciative.
Seeing as we had some reasonable rainfall in the highland areas I checked the river heights of the Leven River last night and saw it has risen to a reasonable wading height so thought a trip to it may be worthwhile. It was a late afternoon spin session as I had several things to do in the morning and with a forecast of a light Nth Easterly wind 7-11 kph wasn't all that bad, even though I'm not a lover of fishing with the breeze from that direction. Before I left home I checked the river height again to find it running at 392 mega litres which was a little on high side but which was a reasonably safe wading height, had it been above the 400 mega litres I would not have gone.
I headed on back to fish the dark tannin waters of the Leven River again yesterday.. The river was at the perfect wading height & the weather was spot on, overcast & humid conditions. It was another slow start once again with just the one soft hit on the gold Mepps #1 black fury from a solid brown. It had taken close on twenty minutes when the brown followed the gold black fury from a cast and drift from the opposite side of the river.
I could see the silhouette of a large fish following closely behind the spinner as I let it drift with the flow. I gave the rod a couple of twitches to see if it would get the trout to take the lure. That didn't work until I had the lure and the trout within three meters of me when I gave the lure another light twitch then let the black fury drop which made the gold blade flutter. That did the job the trout took the lure side on, I felt weight on the line as the large brown took hold of the spinner, I quickly raised the rod to set the hooks but missed setting them. For one reason or another it hadn't taken full hold of the black fury, it must have just had the tip of the hook on it's outer lip. All that fish did was give a soft head shake and it was gone.
After having quite few injections in the lower back and hips this morning I was feeling quite good so decided to head back to the Leven River for another shot a picking up a few more wild brown trout in the afternoon. I had arranged to meet a friend at Gunns Plains who's just made the move from Queensland to Tasmania to start a new life here. It's been 35 years since he last had a fish for trout so today was a big day for him & one he'll remember for some time too as you'll find out when you get a little further into this report.
I though a trip back to the Leven River may be worthwhile now the river level has dropped backed to a safe wading height after some heavy rainfall a couple of weeks ago. My last trip there was a good one with nineteen trout being caught & released, today the water level is lower than that trip was. When I arrived it was very foggy and the conditions were great, cool and not a breath of wind, just perfect for chasing trout. There were a few campers set up on the property where I started off the spin session, good thing was I had arrived at 6:00 am and they were still in their beds.
At last the Leven River level was down to a safe wading height which meant I could finally go and have another go at catching a trout in it. My last trip there resulted in a “donut” which was my first for two trout seasons. I did hook a few trout that day but lost every one of them, today I was out for a bit of revenge. Actually I would be happy with catching two or three fish, well not really I want more to make up for my previous losses. The conditions were ideal too with heavy cloud cover and the lightest of breeze as I entered the river just on 6:00 am. The river was running at the perfect height for wading, so far everything was spot on for trout fishing. First stretch of river I fished was a medium to fast water around forty meters long.
With the Mersey, Meander & Leven rivers still running very high and a day without rain plus a temperature of 15 degrees had me heading off to the tannin water for a spin session after a nine day lay off. Until the larger rivers drop to a safe wading level I have no choice but to fish the little tannin water again. There was only one problem today and that was the wind, it was gusting at 50/60 kph from the North West so it wasn't going to be all that great for spin fishing. When I arrived I found the stream was running much higher than my last trip but still good enough to hop in and try and catch a trout or two. Like the past couple of river trips I started with the Mepps #0 Aglia tiger fluoro, it was on the forth cast when I picked up my first little wild brown trout in small flat water under some overhanging tea trees.
I headed over to the Leven River only to find it was like the rivers closer to home, running to high & fast to fish so I went and checked out a small stream that flows into the Leven. I wasn't sure if it was worthwhile getting the wading gear on to give it a go or not. After standing there for at least ten minutes looking the stream in two minds should I or shouldn't I give it a go I finally decided to get the wading gear on. A twenty minute walk though down through some paddocks and thick bush I was in the river just on 2:15 PM.
Seeing it's the last day of the 2017-18 trout season I headed back to the Leven River to finish off what's been a reasonably good trout season for me and maybe add a few more trout to my seasons tally. As I got closer to Gunns Plains I noticed there was a large layer of fog running along the whole length of the river so it won't be all that warm once I get there. With no wind it will still be nice in the river and hopefully there will be a few trout in the area I'm fishing today below & above Marshall's Bridge. It wasn't very long before I was there and headed of for a five to six hundred meter walk downstream where I would hop in the river and slowly fish my way back upstream. It was quite weird walking in the thick fog and the only sounds I heard was from several birds singing, magpies warbling and of course a few cows bellowing away every so often.
Hit the Leven River again this morning and had a great start to the spin session. On my last trip here I had a follow and a few hits from one very nice large and solid brown. I was a little worried that day as I thought had he taken it and done the crocodile roll I would see the fine 4 lb mono giving way. It's not so much as the line breaking, it's the knot where it will break as that's the weakest point. Even it it didn't roll the size of that fish was enough to test out the knot any way.
Today I went back to the same area where I had seen that large brown, this time I have a 6 lb leader set up to the little GagaGoon MI Perch hard body lure. It wasn't all that long when that large brown came out from a shallow flat water (a little further upstream from last time here) and had three goes at the lure and like the other day it missed taking the lure.. I watched the big bugger move off and went in behind a large rock in the river. I couldn't see him at all after that so I decided to cast the lure downstream past the rock then slowly retrieve the lure up past where I felt it was sitting.
Today I decided I would head on over to the Leven River seeing as I haven't given a thought to fishing it all season for one reason or another. Last season I only had the one trip here and that was early February 2017 after we had 20 mms of rain, that day I caught & released 10 browns and 1 rainbow. Since we had some good rains a week or so ago I checked the river levels and it had a reasonable flow of water in it so I felt it's worth a shot. I'm well over due for a good bag of fish so I was hoping this may be the day as I new exactly the stretch of river I'll be fishing too. It's fished well before for me and I'm reasonably confident it will do so today. The hardest thing will be the choice of lure to use, the gold & copper Aglias & Black Fury spinners have worked well here before, so have the f3 Rapala rainbow & brown trout hard body lures.
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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 ...