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 ...
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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.
With poor weather forecast later on this afternoon & with the conditions being overcast & cool this morning I thought a trip to the upper Mersey River may be worth the trip. Half way to where I was heading I came across some light fog which I didn't mind as it meant there wouldn't be any sun on the water for an hour or two. I hit the river at 7:10 am and the first thing I came across was water weeds & plenty of it. Not the ideal thing one wants to see when lure fishing that's for sure as it restricts the fishing quite a lot.
I was starting the session of with the Mepps #1 March Brown bug spinner to see if it may attract a trout or two, it did the job in the Meander two days ago so why not try it here. The water was clear and glassy, there were plenty trout feeding on a massive hatch of midges that covered the wide slow flowing water ahead of me. With thousands of these small midges floating on the surface as well as in the air, the trout were going to be hard to catch this morning.
With some light cloud around this morning I thought I would head over to the Mersey River and have a short spin session before the sun burnt the cloud off. Conditions were quite nice with hardly a breath of wind and the river was at the perfect wading height. As I entered the river (7:40am) I noticed a few trout on the rise just ahead of me so I flicked the Aglia Furia well past the fish and retrieved the spinner back a little faster that the flow.
Hit the Mersey River just on 7:00 am in what was cool foggy conditions to start with, but a good mild 19 degree day was forecast. My last trip here was back on the 5th December when I had a tough spin session chasing trout in similar conditions. As soon as I hit the water I could see plenty of trout on the rise in a wide long slow flowing flat water which meant I was in for another tough spin session. I fished a short fast water to start with just like I did on the last trip with the same result, no fish. As I headed into the wide long stretch of river with the fog slowly lifting there was a line of trout rising ahead of me which was quite good to watch. Trout were rising everywhere,
I Headed over to the Mersey River and walked down through several paddocks for a good kilometre or so below the Union Bridge then started fishing my way back upstream. I haven't fished here for quite some time due to the lack of trout being in the river, today I mainly wanted to see if it has improved with trout stocks. The river was running at a nice wading height and a dark tanning colour. I started off with a Mepps #1 gold black fury working it in several fast water and medium flowing runs without a sign of a trout over the first two hundred meters of river. I changed over to the #1 Aglia Furia and the first stretch of water I used it in I had a couple of follows from brown trout that were mainly out of interest, not a sign of aggression from either fish. Then decided to try hard body lures in that same stretch of water, all to no avail as I never had a follow on any of the five different hard body lures I tried.
Very wet & windy weather was the forecast here today, well by 2:30 PM I was sick of waiting for it to arrive so headed over to Merseylea for a short spin session. As soon as I arrived so did the rain, thankfully it was only light and wasn't a problem. As the time passed by so did the rain, the trout were few and far between here too. All I could manage was three hook ups for just the one small brown landed. Another one had its revenge with me as I went to lift it from the water it tosses the lure which in turn sliced through my finger. All good in the end as I always carry a small first aid kit in my vest for this very reason. I often have to yank a treble hook from a lure that has embedded itself in a finger or some other part of my hand from time to time.
With overcast damp conditions today I headed over to the Mersey River, soon as I arrived (5:45am) I saw trout surface feeding in the wide slow flowing water. Seeing that always means I'm in for a tough session & as it turned out it was just that. I still flicked the Mepps spinners & a few hard body lures around in the slow flowing water for just the one follow. Heavy rain was forecast for later in the day, at the moment it was just a light drizzle on and off which I didn't mind. I decided the only place I'll catch trout today was the fast water runs, that's where I headed.
Finally I managed to get to a river earlier that I normally do, though it wasn't all that much earlier as it was 7:00am when I was finally in the Mersey River. This trip was to the same area that gave up 22 trout six days ago, I'm hoping it will again today. There was only a few problems I had to contend with, that was clear sky, clear water & thousands of insects hovering above the river & on the water surface. The trout were there in large numbers too, they were all surface feeding, so today wasn't a day for the spin fisher at all. A top morning for the fly fisherman providing they can match the hatch with a trout fly. There was still plenty of good flow in the river & with the trout surface feeding, fishing the fast water runs will be where I'll have the best chance of catching a few trout.
Headed off around 8:00 am for a spin session in the river this morning only to find the river was running a little on the high side and it wasn't safe enough for me to cross over. That's what I get for not checking the river levels before I left home. I decided to head on up to the upper reaches of it where I knew it was safe enough to hop in and wade. This is when it's handy knowing the rivers I fish so after so many years of fishing in them, one gets to know them like the back of your hand. I headed to one of my favourite areas only to find someone else already in the river fishing which meant I had to fish elsewhere.
Perfect weather conditions for trout fishing today saw me head to the upper reaches of the Mersey River chasing the trout. It was a dull overcast day with a light shower of rain every now & then, it couldn't have been a better days for chasing trout. The area I headed to is probably one of the toughest to get to and also not the easiest on the body either.
The river bottom is always slippery, even worse the rocks roll under foot making it so hard when wading up the river. Just staying upright in the river is a bonus. In saying that, the fishing has been great for the majority of trips I've had here, it can also have it's off days too. Those off days are usually when the river is low and clear with full sun on it. Today is the ideal day to fish this area, it's in these humid, damp conditions when this area fishes really well. I arrived at 7:50am then headed off to the river,I started fishing just after 8:30am.
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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.