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Sea-run trout fishing this year got off to a cracking start in most areas, with the majority of anglers employing nearly every trout fishing technique to secure fish in local estuaries statewide.
Even those anglers fishing the "off-season" lower down in our estuaries for sea-trout commented on the number of fish moving in early August.
Fine sunny weather, hardly a breeze and lower river levels gave me the opportunity to head to the upper reaches of the Mersey River at Weegena for a couple of hours of spin fishing. On my arrival (11:05 am) I found it was running a little higher than I thought it would be, good thing was it was still at a safe wading height. The water was a nice light/medium tannin colour and the water temp was sitting on 4-5 degrees which was much better than the two degrees on my last trip here. My main concern was if the trout were here and are they here in good numbers yet, or is it going to be one of those fish-less days that happens more often than not early in the season.
With the weather still being unstable and more rain forecast as the days goes on I thought it worthwhile to head to the Dasher River on private property close to home. Once there I could see the river was on the rise and running a little on the cloudy side, not enough to put me off fishing it though. After a twenty minute walk to my entry point I was soon in the river (11:15am) flicking a small #00 gold Aglia around. The water temp like the air was very low and cold, today I did wear a waterproof jacket which helped to keep my upper body warm. As I slowly made my way upstream I found the river bottom was pretty slippery and there was quite a lot of green cotton like algae covering them.
With fine weather this morning with rain forecast for later this afternoon I thought I would get a spin session in before the rain arrived. This trip was to the upper Mersey River, an area on private property and one I haven't fished for a couple of months. The reason I haven't fished here all that often this trout season is because it's a rough & tough area to get into, plus the river itself has to be one of the toughest stretches of water to fish. The rocky river bottom is always covered in a brown slime and so slippery under foot at times it's near impossible to stay upright, not only that the rocks roll underfoot. Another problem here is the water weed growth that has spread along the river making spin fishing near in possible in most stretches of water. Another reason I headed here was that I wanted to give the tannin waters a rest as well as a change of scenery, another reason for heading to the upper Mersey. It was close to 9:20 am when I arrived & parked the car on a narrow bush track on private property, then after a lot bush bashing followed by a long walk I was at the river by around 10:00am. The river was running a little higher than I had expected and still at a safe wading depth, the water was a light tannin colour, the river bottom was it's normal poor condition as I stated earlier.
It was back to the Meander fast waters again this morning for another spin session to see if I can add a few more trout to my season's tally of 370 trout. I wasn't intending to fish the fast waters today mainly because of the right hip but then decided what the heck get in there and see how you go, if fishing there aggravates it then I'll get out and head to the slower flowing waters. The conditions were quite overcast and a cool six degrees when I hit the clear flowing river at 10:10am, the water temp was sitting on ten degrees and it was cold on the legs too. I started the session off with a small #00 White Miller Bug spinner, it's not a colour I would normally start off using but I wanted to see how it would perform in the dull conditions and clear water. Well, not a lot happened for around fifteen minutes or so before a cast directly upstream into a flat water a small brown took it. Two head shakes from that little brown and it was gone, it tossed the White Miller as quick as it took it.
After missing out not having a spin session yesterday, this afternoon I decided to head back to the fast waters of the Meander River. It was 2:25pm when I hit the water in what was perfect weather conditions with a light breeze and patches of scattered cloud.
The river level was a little lower than my last trip here, it was still running nice and clear, lure of choice for starters was the #1 Stone Fly Bug spinner. The first area I fished was a large wide deep stretch of medium flowing water, it was here I had a follow from a nice brown.
After having such a great fast water spin session a few days ago I headed back to the Meander to have another crack at getting a double figure catch. This time it was a mid morning start, a morning that had clear skies, light breeze and a temperature of 22 degrees later in the day.
It was 9:45 am when I hit the river above the Chestnut Road Bridge to fish a long nice stretch of fast water, the first thing I noticed was green algae covering the most of the river bottom. Soon as I had seen that I knew then and there it wasn't going to be a good day on the trout here. I did fish around four hundred meters of river without seeing a trout so headed back to the car and drove to the fast waters in the upper Meander River.
The weather today was supposed to be fine and windy with rain due later in the day, well it was 2:00pm and the sky was still clear, there was hardly any wind blowing so I headed off for a spin session. This trip was to the upper reaches of the Meander River to fish the fast water, a long stretch of water that holds quite a few trout at this time of the year. It was 3:40 PM when I hit the river that was running clear and in full sun which didn't bother me all that much, as the day goes on it will be shaded by the trees and foliage that line both sides of the river.
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.
Seeing as it's been around ten or eleven weeks since I've fished the upper Mersey River I thought today would be the ideal day to do it with light winds & overcast conditions forecast. Getting to the river where I'll be fishing is one that's as tough as it can get, it requires bushing bashing though dense scrub and steep hills. It's also an area than runs hot and cold with the trout fishing too, they're either on in big numbers or they're few and far between. I'm hoping it's going to be a day when the trout are out and about and full of aggression, I'm not fussed about the size as long as they are in big numbers over the one and a half kilometres of river I'll be fishing.
A cool morning with light drizzle, what a top day to head of for a spin session, yes you guessed it I was on my way to the Meander River again to have another spin session in the fast water. When I arrived (7;35am) the drizzle had gone but it was still quite cool with heavy cloud cover which made it near impossible to see the river bottom. On heavy overcast days the cloud cover acts like a mirror on the water and polarised sunglasses don't work either, they're okay in close to the river bank with the cover of foliage but that's as far as it goes. Any way I started the morning off using a copper #00 Aglia Mouche Noire and picked up a small brown mid stream in the first five minutes, just the start I was wanted. The river was down a little since my last trip here six days ago which was good as it meant the trout should be well spread out across the river.
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It has been an epic journey of learning and discovery and I am indebted to Mike Stevens for his help, support and patience.
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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.