While the weather is still cold & damp I'm not fishing all that far from home at the moment, plus the larger rivers I would like to have a fish in are running too high for my liking. There are several areas on them where I could fish from the river banks, but for now I'll settle for fishing the smaller streams & creeks. This spin session was done in two different stretches of water on private property where permission to gain access is a must. The weather wasn't looking all that flash when I headed off, looking towards the mountains it was pretty dull with dark, heavy clouds moving in. By the time I arrived at my destination it had started raining, only lightly though, which was okay as I had a lightweight rain jacket in the car. After putting on the waders and wading boots as well as the waterproof jacket I decided not to wear the fishing vest.
All I did was to put a small lure box filled with a variety of small Mepps spinners in one pocket and a sharpening stone and forceps in the other pocket, I felt that's all I really need today. I didn't even bother about a landing net because the majority of trout in this little stream are all small fish in the 240-280 gram range, on the odd occasion one might catch a decent brown in the 350-450 gram mark. Fish that size can easily be handled without the use of a landing net anyway. The main thing one has to remember at all times when handling a trout is to wet your hands first as not to remove the protective slime coating on the trout's skin. The slime coating on the trout protects them from infectious diseases, if this slime is removed from the trout's skin they may not be able to fight off infectious diseases and could die.Today I stuck with the same set up I used on the trip to Western Creek, that was the Okuma Celilo Finesse 6' ULS 1-3kg trout rod, Okuma Inspira ISX20B spinning reel and the #0 Aglia Fluo (micro pigment) rainbow spinner.
On the drive to the river I did think of using a small #00 (1.5gm) lightweight spinner then thought twice about it. Knowing the water level was going to be higher than my last trip due to more rainfall over the past few days, I decided to stay with the heavier spinner. The heavier spinner would be better suited to the higher water level, not only that, the rainbow spinner picked up a few trout in the dark tannin waters on the last trip as well. The very first cast & retrieve into a wide deep dark tannin coloured pool under the road bridge drew the attention of a small trout, that little brown only tapped at the spinner before darting off. I spent several minutes casting to all areas of that wide piece of water without another sign of a fish. It was onto the next stretch of water, a narrow fast to medium flowing shallow run that had a nice small flat water along the right hand side of it. I couldn't believe my luck, the first cast into that flat water a trout trout it no sooner had I started the retrieve, this time it was fish on. Nothing big, but who cares when it's the first of the session, any size will do for starters.
It only took a short time before I had on the river bank, photographed and back in the water it went. At the top end of this stretch of river to the right was another small pocket of flat water and that's where I lobbed the spinner on the next cast. Two turns of the reel and it was fish on again, another small brown had taken the fluo spinner in quick time, this trout like the one before was soon on the river bank. Like before it was released in quick time after having it's photo taken. With two trout caught and released in two casts things were looking good, it has started like this before and then the wheels have fallen off without a sign of a trout from there on. As I continued to fish my way upstream it started to rain, only lightly though and I was happy I had decided to wear the rain jacket after all.
There was one problem, it took at least twenty minutes before I had a hit and miss from a small trout, just the one hit wasn't good enough. I couldn't believe there weren't more trout in the waters I had just fished, they were full of perfect runs with plenty of flat water holding areas. Ahead of me was more great looking trout waters but there were sheep with lambs close to the river and I didn't want to spook them so I decided to head to another area on this river a kilometre away. On the walk to the other area I was going to fish I thought to myself how right I was, catching those two trout in quick time was a curse. The stretch of water I headed to was the same one I fished on the last day of the 2019/20 trout season and where I also caught the last trout of that season as well. One good thing was the rain had moved on but the wind had picked up and the air temp had dropped to around six degrees and I was feeling the cold, if the trout aren't here I won't be in the water for very long at all. The first few casts and retrieves nothing happened, it wasn't until I lobbed the spinner into the head water when the Mepps fluo spinner had sucked in the third trout of the afternoon. This was another good start with a trout caught and released in quick time, would it continue, that's the question.
As I slowly moved into the next deeper flowing water I spooked a small trout that was sitting close to the left river bank, a sign there may be more trout ahead. A little further up in the same stretch of water a solid brown came from the right hand side of the stream and took the spinner. This fish was the best one so far, it no sooner had it taken the lure when it made a meter high leap from the river and tossed the spinner. No! No! No! I yelled out as I saw the fish go one way and the Aglia fluo go the other, the fish of the day was gone as quick as it came, talk about a jaw dropper, well that was it. The afternoon's spin session hasn't been one of my better ones that's for sure, hopefully it will improve before I call it a day. There's still plenty of nice water ahead of me to fish and I had some good catches in it over many years of fishing here, catches of fifteen to twenty plus trout were common for me. The past few seasons this little stream has dropped in fish numbers and I'm not sure why, could it be from the drier Winters that we've had for the past four years, perhaps it may be from land clearing for hardwood plantations run further upstream. Then there's the run off from them once they've been harvested which was a few years ago, they have since replanted that area again.
I do know there is a lot more silt in this little stream than there ever was, so there's something that's creating the problem in this stream. Anyway, back to the fishing... I stuck to my guns and kept fishing my way up this narrow stretch of water, the fishing was pretty slow going with not a sign of a trout. I was getting colder, to top it off light rain started again and the wind had picked up. I was only a couple of hundred meters from the car and I really did want to call it a day but I decided to push on and fish the rest of this narrow fast/medium flowing run of dark tannin water. About twenty meters ahead of me there was a large boulder in the river that had a nice flat water behind it, the perfect trout holding area. To cast the lure into the zone I needed it to be meant I had to allow for the carry of the wind that was coming across the river to the right side of me.
I needed to land the lure a meter or so ahead of the boulder and at least sixty centimetres to the right as well, it had to be accurate and on the first cast, there wasn't any margin for error in this narrow water. Just as I was about to cast the lure a strong wind gust hit, thankfully I had the time to hold back on the cast. I waited for a few seconds for the wind to ease then went ahead with the cast, it was perfect, the spinner lobbed right where I wanted it. Even though the cast was a half a meter longer, the sixty centimetres to the right was just about spot on, give or take a few centimetres. A couple of turns on the reel the lure was taken hard and fast by a solid trout, this was surely the fish of the day. With the fish holding in the deeper run I couldn't see the size of it, all I did know was that it was at least in the 500 plus range. After a minute, which seemed like five it broke the surface, it was then I could see it was in the 600 to 700 gram size, this is when I wished I had the landing net with me.
That trout made several runs up and down this narrow stream as well as a few leaps from the river which made me feel a little on the nervous side. To me it looked like it was well hooked in the lower jaw, but looks can be deceiving, even more so when the fish is going every which way. Finally the trout tired enough for me to lead it into the shallow water next to the river bank where I could slide it onto a grassy flat. That trout was the largest one I've ever pulled from this little stream and I was stoked to have it grassed in the end. I could only estimate its weight at 600 grams because I never had my digital scales with me either, not that I would have used them without having my landing net with me. I only ever weigh my fish in the net then deduct the net weight from the total fish & net weight. I still feel it was well over the estimated weight, but I'll never know will I. What I do know is that it is the best trout of the season so far. I did fish on a little longer for just the one trout that came up behind the lure and mouthed the treble hooks of the Aglia spinner without being hooked.
That fish just had it's mouth on the bottom end of the trebles and swam with the lure as I retrieved it, once it was close to me it let go and swam off, that's when I called it a day at 3:15 pm.. On the short walk back to the car from the river I thought how lucky I was to have caught that trout, had the rain got any heavier I doubt I would have continued fishing on, also had I taken the cast a second earlier when that wind gust hit, would the Aglia lure have been carried well to the left and lobbed in the foliage on the river bank. The good thing is all that didn't happen and I went home a happy man at the end of it..
** Equipment used: Okuma Celilo Finesse ULS 1-3kg trout rod, Okuma Inspira ISX20B spinning reel, Mepps inline spinners, Platypus Super 100 UHT mono, Platypus Pretest premium grade mono, Platypus Stealth FC lead line & Boomerang Tool Products.
Adrian Webb (mepptas)
Surprise catch 610 gm approx wild brown
The first two trout were taken here
The micro pigment Aglia rainbow gets the first of the day