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.
Seeing as it's a new year and I haven't wet a line since the 24th December I thought it was time to go and have a session in a river this morning. I left home at first light and on the way I saw a fiery sunrise, one that was bright orange due to the air being filled with smoke from bush fires here in Tasmania as well as the mainland bush fires.
Here I was heading off chasing trout in a river when there are people battling to save homes as well as their lives, it really makes one think how lucky many of us are. My thoughts go out to all of those people as well as the volunteers who have and are still being effected by those horrific bush fires around Australia. I arrived at the Meander River just before 6:30am in what was a beautiful cool morning, the river was running clear and at an ideal wading height, all I needed was the trout to be here and in an aggressive mood.
Dull overcast conditions and a gusty South Westerly helped me make the easy decision to fish the lower Mersey River this morning mainly because I knew it would be reasonably sheltered from the winds. It wasn't an early start either because the air temp was only eight degrees when I left home, so there was no rush to get in the river. I was on the river bank by 9:05 am and spotted several trout on the rise plus a few small jumpers as well. As always the first lure of choice was a Mepps spinner, the #0 Stone Fly Bug was what went for starters as it's the lure that's done a great job on several trips lately. I spotted a trout on the rise close to the opposite river bank so that's where the first cast headed.
With the lower back and hips not feeling all that good this morning I thought I'd have a break from river fishing for a few days to give the body time to recover from a couple of tough river trips two days ago. Then seeing how good the weather was and with some windy conditions forecast again I decided not to rest up but to go a chase a few trout in the upper Mersey River again.
After placing eight heat pads on the lower back & hips and taking a few pain killers I was on my way, this trip wasn't in the same area where I caught ten trout from eighteen hook ups a few days ago, it was further downstream from there.
The weather this morning was absolutely beautiful, probably the best day for some time with no wind, clear skies, it couldn't have been better. It was around 7:05 am when I hit the dead flat glassy crystal clear waters on the Mersey, the first thing I noticed was trout surface feeding on small Mayfly duns and midges.
Feeling the effects this morning of the long stint in the upper Mersey River yesterday I was going to have a rest day then when I saw how overcast it was I just had to go chasing trout. Trout fishing in these conditions is what I like best and I couldn't sit home and let it pass me by. After taking a couple of pain killers and placing several heat patches on the lower back and left hip I was on my way to the lower reaches of the Mersey River.
I did think of heading to another area in the upper reaches but with the body being on the sore side I thought it best to go closer to home. As I approached the river I spotted several trout surface feeding in a wide slow flowing stretch of water, perfect for a fly fisher, not so good for the spin fisher such as me.
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.
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Presented from Issue 105, August 2013
We did a bit of a runaround Tasmania’s tackle stores to see what their tips for the first month or so of the tackle season were. We asked what the top three places to fish were, plus lures, flies, baits and a few other things.
Here is a rundown on their answers Whenever, and wherever you fish - anywhere, or for any fish in the world - ask the locals and especially ask at the local tackle store. They know what was caught today, yesterday and on what.