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.
Fine warm weather was forecast for today but when I looked out the window this morning it was windy, very overcast and quite cool. I had intended to fish the upper reaches of the Mersey River then changed the trip to a small tannin stream. I was hoping it may still be at a reasonable wading height after the 6mms of rain we had a few days ago but I wasn't expecting too much. No sooner had I arrived the cloud started to break up something I didn't want to happen after seeing how low the water level was.
With another change due plus not having wet a line for a week I headed back to give the Mersey River another crack, this time I was there much earlier too. Still a little later than I would have liked given the conditions were nice and cool as well as being heavily overcast it was the perfect morning to be chasing trout in a river. The river level was around the same height as the last trip and it was still running nice and clear, I felt the fast water runs would be the ones that would give up the trout again today.
Thanks to Anglers Alliance Tasmania stalwart John Broomby for initiating discussion with two landowners at Porters Bridge on the Meander River near Westbury. As a result anglers access has now been established to 4km of river up and downstream of a newly created parking area on the southern side of the bridge. Ideal for bait fishing with a lightly weighted worm in spring or a grasshopper later in the season and lure casting with small hard bodies the river has deep pools interspersed with rock riffles. Steep banks in places make access challenging but the sheltering trees and quiet ambience make the effort worthwhile. As always please respect the generosity of the landowners and do the right thing!
After checking out the rivers levels on the BOM site I noticed the Mersey River had dropped to a lower level that made it ideal for wading in the area I like to cross over and fish. When I arrived to where I cross the river I noticed that the river bottom wasn't looking all that good, I'd have to make sure to take it slow & steady as I crossed over. The water was nice a clear, but the rocky river bottom was covered in a brown slimy algae and heavily silted.
Another cool dull overcast day had me scratching my head to where I would go for a spin session and with rain forecast I decided to fish a small tannin stream on private property around 15 kilometres from home. No sooner had I left home there was some light drizzle but no sooner had I arrived it was gone but there was still more to come from what I could see. After a brisk fifteen minutes walk I was in the stream and ready for action, well that was what I was hoping for. The first twenty meters or so were a little quiet with just the one follow from a small brown, a good sign to see a trout here for starters.
My first couple of days (3rd & 5th August) of the 2019/20 trout season started like this... With the 2019/20 Trout Season well under way I have had a couple of trips to check out a few waters around the place. I haven't really got myself fired up enough to put a lot of time into chasing the trout yet due to the very low water temps in the rivers & streams due to snow melt. I reckon it's just an age thing, being 73 years of age I don't feel the need to push myself too early in the season, besides it's too damn cold anyway. So what I've done over the past couple of days is just hop in a river & stream (that weren't running too high) here and there for twenty to forty minutes and test out my new Okuma Celilo 6'6'' & 6' ULS 1-3kg trout rods, Okuma Helios SX 20 reels and give the Platypus lines & Mepps fluo lures a short workout for when I do get serious. I'll tell you now, the Okuma gear I used is the perfect trout set up, beautifully balanced & light weight which is perfect for trout fishing, the Helios SX20 reel runs nice & smooth and is a pleasure to use. The water temp in the rivers I've had a practice sessions in has been in the 2 - 3 degree range and I can tell you now, it was bloody freezing, hence the short time I spent in them.. I did manage a couple of hook ups on a Mepps #0 Aglia fluo tiger spinner in a small creek but lost both fish. After the three month lay off each trip helps me to hone up my casting skills and gets me a little fitter after my hibernation period. I'll start to get into it over the coming weeks once the days slowly get warmer and hopefully the snow will have eased off. Last season I only had four trips to the rivers in August with just 15 trout caught & released, then in September I had five trips for 21 trout caught & released. Hopefully it won't be all that long before I have my first trout of the 2019/20 trout season in the net.
The morning was a low three degrees as I was heading to the upper reaches of the Mersey River, then I had a change of mind and decided to head to the small tannin stream I fished several days go. On my arrival I found the water level was the same as the last trip (a little on the low side) so I thought I would be in for another tough time fishing here. This trip I thought I'd start the session using a copper blade #00 Mepps Aglia Mouche Noire to see how it would go on the trout in the tannin water, not that the copper colour would be a problem as it's worked well before in tannin waters.
Another mild overcast day had me heading off to the Meander River chasing trout and if they weren't there then I'd shoot on over to Western Creek and give that a go on the way home. It wasn't an early start this morning by any means, by the time I arrived and had a 1.5 kilometre walk to the river it was just on 8:35am. As I approached the river I could see it was running nice and clear but the river bottom wasn't looking good for spin fishing, it was covered in green algae. The fishing was pretty slow going with no signs of a trout and with the little Mepps gold black fury continually becoming fouled with the algae it wasn't looking good.
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.
I headed off to the Meander River to catch trout number 500 today, something I thought would come nice and quick in the river. Thing is I was pretty slack in getting up to start with and I wasn't in the river until 9:30am after a 1.5 km walk, the sun was well up and full on the clear water. Still feeling confident that my favourite river would give up the fish required I was quick in starting the session of with a Mepps Aglia Furia in a nice free flowing medium stretch of river. Twenty minutes later I still hadn't seen a fish, no follows, just nothing, there wasn't a fish in that beautiful stretch of water. I tried a variety of spinners & even hard body lures, still nothing. I continued spin fishing my way upstream giving the Okuma Helios SX20 reel & Okuma Celilo 6'6'' ULS 1-3kg trout rod a good workout all to no avail, still no signs of any trout. It wasn't until 10:30am when I drew a nice brown out of a shaded area on the left hand side of the river, that trout was only half interested before it turned and moved off. Seeing that trout did give me some hope of catching one here today after all.
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Hello everyone, I thought it would be a good time to introduce myself.
My name is Stephen Smith and I have been managing the website tasfish.com since May 2009.
It has been an epic journey of learning and discovery and I am indebted to Mike Stevens for his help, support and patience.
I am developing a new venture Rubicon Web and Technology Training ( www.rwtt.com.au ). The focus is two part, to develop websites for individuals and small business and to train people to effectively use technology in their everyday lives.
Please contact me via www.rwtt.com.au/contact-me/ for further information - Stephen Smith.
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.