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.
Crossing over to the shallower side was going to be slow and easy going seeing the water level was up a little higher, when crossing a fast water I always face upstream. Once in the fast water I sidestep then make sure I have a good grip on the rocky bottom before taking the next step, a few minutes was all it took to reach the shallow side of the river. I had around one & a half kilometres of fast, medium and slow flowing water ahead of me that will take around three hours to fish, all going well that is, it will depend on how much water weed is in some stretches of water. Going by the amount of water weeds I saw as I made my way along the river bank to my entry point it may be less than three hours spent in the river. The starting lure of choice today was a Mepps #1 Aglia Furia, a great all round lure that can be used right throughout the trout season. I haven't used it for quite some time due to fishing small tannin streams and shallow fast water runs, today I'm hoping it will pick up a trout or two. The first stretch of water really looked good with plenty of flat water trout holding areas along the opposite side of the river, catching the first trout of the day here looked good. Well, what a disappointing start it was, not a sign of a trout was had in the first two long runs.
A change of lure was done, it was on with the #1 Aglia Fluo rainbow trout spinner, another lure that should attract a trout's attention providing there's any in the area. Thirty five minutes had passed without a sign of a fish, I was now about to head into the fast water runs. I decided to give a gold #0 Black Fury a workout here, it's another lure that works well on the trout and very similar to the one that got me hooked on trout fishing rivers fifty five years ago. The fast water I'm about to fish is perfect for casting and drifting inline spinners which is a great way to catch trout, if they're here the Black Fury will do it's job on them. To make matters worse was the gusty Easterly breeze that had sprung up from now where, the only good thing about it was that it was coming from behind me. The first twenty meters of fast water all I managed was a couple of follows from medium size trout for just the one hit and miss, this was a big improvement from the waters fished earlier. Before I fish the rest of the fast water I headed into a small side water to the right of me, a water I've fished every time I come here, a water that has never let me down. Today was a good day to fish it with the river running higher there was a good flow of water running through it.
The only down side was the amount of water weed that has grown in it, but that wasn't going to stop me from fishing it. Being a narrow run of water there was no room for the cast and drift here, it was a matter of casting and retrieving the lure straight down with the flow. All one has to do here is an accurate cast into water that doesn't have weed in it, then on the retrieve keep the rod tip high to keep the spinner just under the water surface. By doing that it will get the lure to go over the top of the weed and any trout that's sitting in weedless pockets of water will still have a go at the spinner. After a couple of casts and retrieves up along the right hand side of the side water without a touch it was the third cast and retrieve straight up the left hand side that gave up the first fish of the session. A small 270 gram brown snapped up the gold Black Fury half way into the retrieve of the spinner, it had taken quite some time to catch the first trout and also a relief that I finally broken the drought. This little side water lived up to expectations, it's one that's always given up a few trout each time I've flicked a lure into and it's done it again today. I only had to move up some three meters, then with a long cast into a pocket of water that was clear of weed I had another brown take the Black Fury, this trout was larger than the last one. All of a sudden I've picked up two browns in seven minutes, how quick things can turn around and that's what I love about chasing trout in rivers and streams. I spotted a nice little one meter wide piece of flat water some fifteen meters further up and to the right of me which required an accurate cast to lob the 2.5 gram gold Black Fury spinner between a fallen tree branch & the river bank.
I waited for a drop in the wind then flicked the spinner to where I wanted it to land in the narrow flat water, it was the perfect cast, it landed exactly where I wanted. No sooner had I started to retrieve the Black Fury it was taken by a solid brown, this was certainly the best fish of the session. It really took off once hooked and made several leaps from the water before heading into the water weeds where it held out for a short time before it becoming free of the weed and I managed to lead it into the net. It wasn't what one would call a large fish but it was still the best of the three caught so far and went 455 grams after deducting the total net weight (410gms) from the digital scales. That fish was taken eight minutes on from the last fish, as far as I was concerned the little side water had done it's job for me giving up three trout in fifteen minutes. As I reached the top end of it where the main stream entered I hooked and lost a small brown before I headed back into the main stream where I entered the side water.Once back in the main stream I could go back to using the cast and drift method that I love doing when fishing fast water runs. The first cast up and across the river the Black Fury was taken as soon it had lobbed in a flat water next to the river bank, this was another quality wild Mersey River brown trout.
With four trout caught and released things were looking a lot better now, as long at it continues like this I'll be happy. From here on it slowed down, I was having the odd follow on the gold Black Fury but for some reason the trout didn't show any signs of aggression towards it so a change of lure was had. I went for the #0 March Brown Bug spinner which is a good back up lure to use at this time of the trout season seeing as there's still plenty of grass hoppers around and it's the same colour as the hoppers. I continued fishing my way upstream only to find the the fast water run was dead, all I had over a hundred meters of water was two follows for one hooked and lost trout. Here I was thinking I would easily catch another three or more trout in that fast water stretch, to finish up with zilch didn't go down very well. From there I moved into the wide slow/medium flowing weed filled water, it was here I hooked and lost two small trout in quick time. I was having a lot of problem here with the water weed fouling the spinner while fishing a shallow run of water, it wasn't until I had moved into a deeper run forty minutes later when I picked up a beautiful well conditioned trout. I had cast the spinner into a small flat water close to the river bank when two trout appeared from now where and came up behind the March Brown, by lifting the rod tip higher and getting the lure to sit close to the surface the larger of the two trout took it. This fish was a little larger than the one caught in the side water, this solid brown went 485 grams.
The wind had eased off a little bit which was good but the going was really tough with the rocks rolling under foot, it was hard to stay upright & several times I went close to taking a dive. To make matters worse was the water weeds wrapping around my legs making it that much harder on the body. I pushed on, ten minutes later I picked up another nice brown using the same method that caught the last trout. Then I lost one before moving back to the left hand side of the river where it was shallower, I bypassed the rest of the weed covered water, it was knocking me around to much and not worth the effort for very little reward. That was the last trout caught for quite some time before I picked up the seventh trout once back in the fast water, not long after that I had the eight of the spin session landed. The eight trout was the smallest fish of the day, both fish were caught using the cast and drift method. I still had half a kilometre of river to fish, I was very choosy what areas I fished and with just the one hit and miss I called it a day. With only eleven hook ups for eight trout caught and released it was probably a good day overall, though I was expecting it to be better than it was. I always expect my days in a river to be good and when the trout are scarce like they were today I count them as poor days when really they're not all that bad after all.
** PS: in my YouTube video I stated the best fish was the 455 gram trout, I forgot about the 485 gram brown I caught forty minutes later... Certainly had a brain fade once back at the car..
** Equipment used:
Okuma Celilo Finesse ULS 1-3kg trout rod, Okuma Helios HSX-20 spinning reel, Mepps inline spinners,
Platypus Super 100 UHT mono, Platypus Pretest premium grade mono, Platypus Stealth FC lead line & Boomerang Tool Products.
Adrian Webb (meppstas)
Another solid brown that fell to the Black Fury
Mepps and wild brown trout
Mersey River wild brown trout taken on Black Fury
River running hard and fast here
Solid brown trout taken on a March Brown Bug