Presented from Issue 105, August 2013
Christopher Bassano fishes over 250 days a year. This interview was recorded just before he headed off to fish for Australia in the World Fly Fishing Championships in Norway 14-17 August 2013.
I live on a small stream and at the start of the season I like to go off on a bit of a discovery mission and fish the headwaters of the creeks and rivers I feel an affinity with.
These small rivers include the St Pats, Meander, Forester, Little Forester and others. The further up you go on these rivers the clearer and lower the levels. They are often less affected by the rain and runoff and you get some good opportunities. Get as close to the source as you can and you will find some good dry fly fishing. Don’t limit yourself to those I have mentioned. Most headwaters will hold trout.Read more ...
Rain,hail and cool conditions were forecast today, after having a 11:15 am doctor's appointment it was a late start to the day for my planned spin session in the upper Mersey River. On the way to the river there was quite a lot of weather moving in, very low dark rain clouds weren't all that far off from where I was heading. When I got to the river there was already someone in it fishing their way upstream so I headed to another stretch of river a couple of kilometres further upstream, a stretch of water I haven't fished for around 5 years. No sooner had I arrived (12:50 pm) I only had time to put on the wading gear when heavy rain & light hail arrived, all I could do was sit in the car and wait for it to pass. After a twenty minute wait it had passed and I was out of the car heading down to the river.
Perfect weather was forecast and with the Meander River running at 60cms it was time for another fast water spin session today. I was in the river by 7:20am and the conditions were perfect as forecast, the river was running cool and clear it couldn't have been better, all I needed now was to find the trout. This morning I decided to give the Black Fury a go, the Black Fury inline spinner is the first lure I caught a trout on some 55 years ago and it's the lure that got me into trout fishing. It's been a while since I used one and with the water being at the right height today I thought it was well worth giving it a go using the cast and drift method in the fast waters. With the water running at 60cms there's a lot of flat waters on both sides of the river and I'm hoping most will be holding trout.
Another top day here in Sheffield today with a maximum temperature of 22 degrees followed up with a gusty South Westerly later in the day, a good day to hit one of the larger rivers again. This time it was the upper reaches of the Mersey River at Weegena that I headed to for the second time this season. My last trip here was quite a while ago, that trip was a real fizzer with just the one brown trout caught and released. I arrived at 7:50am and was in the river by 7:56am, the water was running very clear so I started the session off with a Mepps #0 Stone Fly Bug spinner.
After a forty five minute drive to the Meander River this morning (6:45am) only to find the river bottom full of green cotton like algae, it wasn't worth putting the gear on to fish the area so headed back to chase the Mersey River trout. By the time I reached my entry point in the Mersey River it was 8:55 am, not the early start I had originally planned. I started the spin session off in the same area that I've fished on my last couple of trips here, mainly because it's been giving up a few trout on those trips, so while the iron's hot stick with it. The river level was down marginally since my last spin session which was good, the river bottom was still it's usual slimy, slippery self though. The first stretch of fast water I fished with the #1 Aglia Furia was the one that's given up several rainbows, today it didn't give a yelp, not a single touch from a trout.
Another day with heavy cloud cover and strong gusty South Easterly winds wasn't keeping me home today, the Meander River level was sitting on 78cms which was still too high for safe wading the fast water in the upper reaches but reasonably okay for the lower reaches. Where I fished today was a mix of very clear fast to medium flowing water that I had to take it slow and easy in, one slip and I would have been in a bit of trouble. The river bottom is very rocky and slippery underfoot and it's easy to take a tumble or be spun around in the fast water runs, it's not an area for the inexperienced fisher person. It is okay for fishing from the rocky river banks, but not when one had to cross the river four times like I did today. Before I could even wet a line I had a six hundred meter walk to reach my entry point. This one and a half to two kilometres of river I fished today is one I only fish two or three times each trout season mainly because of the distance I have walking to the river. It's not that I mind the walk at all, it's when I've finished fishing this rocky, slippery river over a long distance my body is knackered. Once out of the river I then have approx a two and a half kilometre walk back to the car.
** Here's how my trout fishing session went :
Beautiful weather conditions forecast today had me heading off to the Meander River for a spin session, the river was running much higher than I liked but I was well overdue to have a fish in it. It wasn't an early start at all, it was just on ten thirty when I hit the river, the water temperature was a low four degrees which wasn't good to see. It was also running at 75cms which is 15cms higher to make for much easier wading conditions, care is a must in most fast water runs when it's running at this level. I would have liked to have given the fast water runs above the main road bridge but it wasn't safe enough for my liking so I had to settle for fishing a lower stretch of the river where it was much safer. My lure of choice was a Mepps #1 Aglia Furia, a great all round inline spinner that works well on the trout in most of the larger rivers I fish.
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.
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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.