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Fishing for trout in Tasmania with live mudeyes

by Ralph Crawford

Live bait fishing is one of the most basic techniques used in fishing. Refining the art to a high and skilful level, however, is Ralph Crawford from Glenorchy. In this article Ralph explains the techniques he has employed over many years; techniques that have had excellent results.

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When you have finished for the day, why not have a brag about the ones that didn't get away! Send Mike an article on your fishing (Click here for contact details), and we'll get it published here. Have fun fishing - tasfish.com

2017 11 01 Head shot of my best wild brown of the season so far Mersey RiverClear skies, light to moderate WSW wind and a maximum temperature of around nineteen degrees forecast had me heading over to the Mersey River for a spin session today. I didn't hit the river until 10:00 am or there about and it wasn't all that long before I had my first brown take the little Daiwa ghost brown hard body. I plucked it out of a nice clear medium flowing section of water and it was quite a nice well conditioned fish too. It had taken the lure a little deep in the mouth to what I would have liked and there was a little blood flowing through the gills. Once I picked it up and checked inside its mouth I could see there wasn't any major damage to the fish, once I removed the treble hook with the forceps the bleeding had almost stopped. I held it in the water for several minutes and there wasn't any sign of blood coming from the fish, so I sent it on it's way.

2017 10 24 Quality wild Mersey River brown troutAnother warm day had me heading over to the Mersey River for a few hours chasing trout.. I didn't hit the river until 10:20 am not that it mattered all that much as it was mainly overcast conditions for now. The river here was running at a medium height and fairly clear so I'm hoping to catch and release a few browns today given the conditions were just right. I started of with the Daiwa ghost brown seeing as it worked well on the browns up at Liena yesterday in what was pretty tough fishing conditions. Well the first couple of stretches of water were very quiet, though I did manage to have a follow from a very small brown. It wasn't until I was half through fishing a back water when I finally caught my first small (270 gram) brown for the morning. That was the only brown taken in that long back water run, I did have several follows without any signs of aggression at all from them.

2017 10 17 Medium size river brownI had a quick trip over to Merseylea in what was cool, windy and wet conditions. When I checked the river levels online I thought the Mersey river would be low enough for a good wading session but when I arrived I could see it was a little higher that I expected. We had some heavy rain during the morning and I doubt that was enough to raise the water level. Any way I sat in the car and waited for around twenty minutes while a heavy rain shower passed over before I hit the river. There certainly was some water coming down so I was making sure I stayed in water no higher than my knees most times.

2017 09 22 Wild brown troutThe conditions this morning looked okay with a maximum of 14 degrees, mainly overcast and a light North Westerly breeze with a change late this afternoon.. Given that we haven't had rain for a couple of days I thought a trip to a tannin waters of a small stream in the upper reaches of the Mersey River was worth a go.

2017 09 01 First brown of the sessionI decided to have an afternoon trip to the river (private prop) in what was pretty cool overcast conditions with a very light breeze. I'm fishing a one kilometer stretch of river that runs through a friends property and I'm hoping it's running clear enough for a spin session. After a twenty minute walk through his paddocks it wasn't long before I was at the river. It was running a little higher than I had expected, but it was clear enough to spin fish and that's all that mattered. I started off with a Mepps #00 gold blade Aglia mainly because at this time of year it's the best colour to use in cold water. A silver or fluoro coloured spinner are good too and will catch fish in cold water early in the season.

2017 08 24 wild brown trout on RapalaAfter having physio this morning and given the weather conditions were absolutely beautiful I headed off to small stream in the upper reaches of the Mersey River near Weegena.. This little river quite often fished well early season while there's good flow in it, I'm hoping it will do so this trip too. Once the water level drops it's a tough little stream to fish, so now is the time to give it a go. I started off using a small gold bladed #00 Aglia and had a follow in the first five casts. That brown came up and nudged the trebles with it's nose a few times before it turned and moved off. I knew then and there the spinners weren't going to work here today so changed over to a gold/black F-3 Rapala to see if that would get the result I was after. Well, I had only moved upstream some twenty meters when I was onto my first brown for the session. It was a well conditioned fish that went just on 350 grams, like 98% of the fish I catch it had it's photo taken and was soon back in the river.

Mepps Agliae catches the first trout of the 2017 18 seasonFinally after two very wet, windy days I had a chance to go for my first spin session of the season. This trip was to the Mersey River in the Union Bridge area. I wasn't even thinking of going today even with the fine weather but I thought what the heck go wet a line. Once there I found the river to be running reasonably high and fast with a colour that was like the black coffee I have in the morning. The area I'm fishing today is one that hasn't fished all that well over the past season or two either so I'm not expecting too much this trip. Today is all about getting out and wetting a line for the first time in over three months since the trout season closed. Not that I minded the closure of the season either because it gives me time to get the old body back in some sort of working order for the start of the next one. Each year it gets that little bit tougher on the body for me. With the water still being very cold I thought it was a good time to test out one of the new model Mepps Aglia-e Fluro spinner that I had sent to me to try out on the trout here in Tasmania. I tried several deep long medium flowing stretches of river without a sign of a fish, I was starting to wonder if my trip here was going to be a waste of time. I did try a couple of hard body lures in these long deep runs too before going back to the fluro spinner.

105 mersey adrianPresented from Issue 105, August 2013
The Mersey River is now even better - with ‘Anglers Access’ project completed. Adrian Webb fishes the Mersey consistently from the start to the end of the season. Here is his guide and a few tips

IFS Links Mersey River Access and All Angler- Access Brochures

2017 04 17 Great colours in this Mersey River rainbowShot off to Weegena for another afternoon session because it's the only time I have the chance to wet a line lately. This trip was to private property where I have a decent old walk to the river which is usually well worth it. It was quite warm this afternoon and by the time I reached my entry point into the river I was already knackered. I started off with the usual gold Aglia spinner and worked a couple of fast water runs that normally give up a fish or two. They didn't give up a single fish or even a follow which was a real surprise.

2017 04 19 My best fish for some time 1 2kg brownAnother warm afternoon saw me head of to Merseylea for a late session on the Mersey River to see if I can add a few more trout to my seasons tally of 577 after yesterdays catch of four trout.

When I arrived to where I was going to fish I spotted a car already there so I headed of to another spot at Merseylea only to find the same thing. I was thinking about just heading of home when I thought I would try a section of river at Kimberley where I have gained the land owners permission to enter and fish there. I don't know why I didn't think of heading there in the first place as I always have this stretch of river to myself each time I go there. When I arrived at the river I spotted three trout surface feeding at the tail end of a long wide stretch of water. A quick flick ahead of them with a #00 gold black fury saw it taken in a matter of seconds by a small trout, and that's as long that small trout stayed on as well. Three leaps from the river that little trout tossed the spinner.

2017 04 17 2017 04 17 735 gram brown mersey riverWith a very light breeze blowing I was in two minds all day whether to go and have a session on the Mersey River or not. Finally around 2:30pm I decided I would go for a late spin session after all. I was in the river by 3:00 pm in what was really good conditions even though the river was running low and clear, not only that I would be fishing in full sun for the first 400 meters of river until I reached the shaded areas on the river. I started off using a hard body for a while without any sign of a trout before I changed to the gold Aglia spinner when I reached a 300 meter shallow fast water stretch of river that varied in depth from (4'' to 6'') 10cms to 20cms.

101 mersey lea rainbowPresented from Issue 101
I am a fly fisher living on the banks of the Mersey River in Latrobe in northern Tasmania. Some, close to me, think I am obsessed. I get to see close hand the cycles of the river and its inhabitants throughout the changing seasons. For me the most exciting time of the trout fishing season is late spring and early summer when the aquatic insects, like the caddis flies, stoneflies and above all the majestic mayfly, are going through their hatching stages. What follows is a story of a spring morning’s fishing on my favourite stream.

Presented from Issue 96
I have spent most of my life growing up in close proximity to the Mersey River and its wonderful trout fishing. Over the years I have got to know the river and its denizens quite well and this particular season to date has certainly been one of the best I that I can personally remember. What follows is my take on the fishing action on this water for the first half of the 2011/2012 trout fishing season.

2016 08 22 mersey river brown taken on muzzas lureAfter lunch I thought I would take the trout gear and head on over to Merseylea in the hope I may finally get to wet a line in it for the first time this season. Once there I could see it was still running very high and there was no way I would be hopping in for a wade. Still on with the waders etc and off I went walking down through the paddocks to where I knew there would be some nice back water that I could hop in and wade. After a brief fifteen minute walk I was soon at the bottom end of it where it flowed back into the Mersey River. There was plenty of water running down it too and I had that feeling there would be a few trout holding in a few stretches of it as well. Just before I entered the back water I flicked the little Muzza's hard body into a small flat piece of water close to the river bank, this type of water quite will often have a fish in it. It was on the second cast when I had a nice solid brown take the lure. It headed straight out into the main flow and then off downstream for some thirty meters before I managed to turn it then slowly lead it in towards the river bank. With the river running so fast even a small brown is going to peel line off the reel once it enters the main flow. Any way, after a brief tussle I soon had this nice solid brown in the landing net. As always, after quick photo it was soon back in the river. That fish went 430gms.

After the recent floods, Adrian has mad available pictures of the damage in the Mersey and nearby rivers.

2016 04 29 Mersey River rainbowNot a breath of wind with as just a sprinkling of light rain had me darting off to the Mersey River this morning. A session that I'm hoping will last a while before the rain gets heavier and sets in for the day as forecast. The forecast is for 15-25mms across the North of the state today which is very much needed. This will also gives the rivers a lift that should bring the trout on over the last two days of the season which ends at midnight Sunday 1st May.

2016 04 28 Mepps gold black fury Mersey River brown

Low cloud and light rain had me setting off to the Mersey River again this morning in what were ideal conditions for trout fishing. This time I was fishing at the top bridge which is around three kilometers upstream from where I fished yesterday. It wasn't one bit cold this morning, probably because it was 10.00am before I was in the river. Today I'm using the #00 gold black fury, only because it's the spinner that's already set up on the rod I'm using today. I'll change it if need be.

2016 04 23 Wild rainbow trout Mersey River

Headed off again this afternoon for another of those late spin sessions I've been having lately on the Mersey River. The conditions were perfect once again with very little breeze and clear skies. I started off with a rapala in a deeper run before moving onto the fast water stretches. It worked out reasonably well as I did manage to pick up two nice browns on it.

2016 04 07 Finally trout No 700 is in the net Mersey River aTrout number 700 for the 2015/16 season caught today. 7/4/2016

Only needing two more trout to reach my target of 700 before the end of the 2015/16 season I headed off to the Mersey River at 4.00pm to see if I could pick up the two required fish. I had three sections of river already picked out that I thought would give up the fish that I needed. I was certain that if one section didn't then one or both of the others would. There was a strong gusty Westerly wind blowing with plenty of cloud about as well. I started off with the black fury (black blade) as I wanted to reach the 700 on the Mepps black fury seeing as these spinners have caught around 95% of my catch this season. They've also done this over the past 50 plus years of my trout fishing as well.

by Craig Rist - Presented from Issue 91

By the time the month of April has arrived, the end of the brown trout season on our rivers is steadily coming to an end. Those magic days of trout rising to a hatch of insects are all but over. To the avid dry fly fisher, this is a reality that is hard to take at the end of every season. For me, it’s time to change tact, just like the trout in a river have to do to survive. As the amount of fly life in the river starts to taper off, more and more trout in the lower Mersey revert back to feeding on the native galaxia (baitfish), just as they do at the start of the season.

2016 03 10 Trout No 600 for the 2015 16 trout season Mersey RiverMersey River gives up trout number 600 - 10/3/2016

With light drizzle on the way this afternoon I thought I would give the Mersey River a quick session at Kimberley. I haven't fished here for quite some time as the fishing went right off. I'm hoping to pick up at least three trout today to bring up my 600th trout for the 2015/16 season. Once there I found the river to be running very low and crystal clear, being a dull over cast day it didn't really bother me all that much. In fact I thought it would probably be a good day to fish here. I headed down to a fast water run that always gives up a few rainbows and I'm hoping it will again today. I started off with a small copper black fury flicking it up and across the river and letting it drift with the flow as I slowly retrieved it. It took ten minutes of working this run before I had my first sign of a trout. It just sat some 3'' behind the spinner and followed it without any sign of aggression at all. It was off with the black fury and on with the F-3 Rapala rainbow pattern to see if it would entice the trout to take it. I spent another ten minutes in the run without a sign of that trout, so I moved on.

2016 02 25 Solid river brown aShort sharp session yields eight browns - 25/2/2016

After having 23mms of rain yesterday I thought I'd check out a river that runs through a friends property around 15 kms from Sheffield to see if it had risen enough to have a spin session.. It had risen by a couple of inches and was just fish-able in my opinion.

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