After being laid up for a while with a torn muscle in my back and then giving it a short two hour workout in the Mersey River yesterday in which I pulled up okay I decided I will get a spin session in again today. With rain looming in the distance I headed off to one of my favourite small tannin streams for a morning spin session in the hope of catching a few trout before it arrives. As soon as I arrived I darted over to see what the water level was like, it was running high, much higher than I thought it would have been. The 60mms of rain we had here four days ago has really lifted the water level, it was still at a safe wading height, the downside was I'll be in for a tough time finding trout in the faster flowing water. After a twenty five minute walk I was at my entry point where I started fishing for trout, my lure of choice was a #0 Mepps Aglia Fluo Phospho (white) lure. The reason I chose this lure was because of it's white coloured blade plus the Aglia blade is a wide blade that will send out plenty of vibration through the water as I retrieve it, hopefully that will be enough to attract a few trout. As I started fishing my way upstream I couldn't believe how cold the water was, it was very cold on the legs which was something I wasn't expecting today. To make matters worse I didn't wear my thermal gear today either thinking the water temperature would have been okay. Yesterday when I fished the Mersey River the water temperature was around the 12-13 degree mark, here it's only around 7-8 degrees.
During the first few casts and retrieves with the Aglia Fluo I had a couple of very soft taps on it, they weren't aggressive taps at all. I stuck with the Aglia spinner for close to twenty minutes without a hookup so made the change of lure, this time I went for the gold #00 Aglia Mouche Rouge and it wasn't all that long before I had my first hookup. A small brown snapped it up as I retrieved it downstream in the bubble line, just when I had it in reach of me it tossed the spinner. Thankfully it was only a tiddler of a trout so I wasn't all that upset over losing the first fish of the day. I was happy that the gold colour may be the go to colour with the trout and it was just that too. A little further upstream I had a solid hit but missed hooking up with that trout, then a few minutes later I a nice brown took the spinner as soon as it hit the water. This time it was well hooked and stayed on, after a short battle the first trout of the session was landed at 9:25 am. It was a medium sized well conditioned fish and a beautifully coloured one at that. I was getting some great distance with the little 1.5 gram Aglia Mouche Rouge thanks to the new Okuma IXT 1000 spinning reel which was paired up with a 6' Okuma Celilo Finesse ULS 2-6 lb trout rod, the strong ultra thin 4 lb Platypus Pulse mono was holding up very well too. All of these with the Mepps spinners combined together make a great lightweight trout fishing set up for any small stream/river.
From here on it went a little downhill, the trout were here but there wasn't any aggression in them, it was back to the light tap on the lure from them, for one reason or another they just weren't on the take. It may have been due to the weather that was moving in, the barometer was falling and that probably wasn't helping either. I was sure I would pick up one or two more before I called it a day or before the rain arrived. It wasn't until I moved into a knee deep stretch of water and I flicked the spinner into a flat water to the left of me, like earlier as soon as the lure hit the water it was taken by a trout. That trout didn't stay on, it tossed it as quick as it had taken it, I had missed the chance of landing another solid brown. After that I had several trout follow the little gold AMR as I slowly fish my way upstream, they were like the majority of trout I'd seen, non aggressive. It was time to try another spinner, this time I gave a #0 March Brown Bug spinner a little bit of a workout without seeing a trout, the same result was had with the White Miller Bug too. What lure do I go to now I wondered, then I remembered the #0 Aglia micropigment Brown spinner has done well here on a few of my previous trips when the fishing has been tough. It was a good choice, a little further up the stream and a long cast into a shallow fast water I picked up a small brown as I retrieved it.
I moved into a wide waist deep stretch of medium flowing water that deepened the further I moved into it so I didn't go any further into it. I had quite a few casts and retrieves in it and had several trout follow the spinner and that's as far as it went with them. It was time to go around this deep water and get back in further upstream where the water was much safer and not as deep. I had a few more soft hits on the Aglia brown spinner in two short stretches of water before I went for another lure change. This time I went for a #00 gold Aglia, a small spinner that I had placed a #00 Black Fury sticker on and a small red piece of plastic on the shaft of the treble hook. I did this to several small inline Aglia spinners as a trial to see how they'll go on the trout in these small streams, today is the day to give one of them a bit of a workout. As I continued to work my way up the stream casting and retrieving the spinner along the flat water areas I did have several hits and one hookup from a small trout which I lost. I just moved into a narrow shallow piece of water that was well covered with tea trees that had quite a few caddis moths hovering close to them and just above the water surface. I did a backhand cast under the tea trees and instantly had a hook up, a small brown had taken the spinner, this little fish stayed on, trout number three was landed and quickly released.
Ahead of me was another deep stretch of water which I bypassed then hopped back in at the top end of it. The heavy cloud opened up for a short time so I flicked the little Aglia into a shaded area next to the opposite side of the stream, on the retrieve a nice brown moved out and followed the spinner right to where I was standing in the water when it spotted my movement and darted off. I was certain that trout was going to take the spinner too and not all that happy when it didn't. My next cast was a long one straight up the stream into waist deep water, as I retrieved the spinner I spotted a nice brown come out of nowhere and moved in fast behind the lure. I kept the spinner at the same speed as the flow of the water then gave the rod a light twitch, that was enough to get the trout to take the spinner. The first thing that came to mind was please don't spit the lure, once the trout was in close enough it looked like it was well hooked in the top lip. Seeing that was a relief so I filmed it right up to when it was in the landing net, once in the net out popped the little spinner. Here I was thinking it was well hooked too, had it made one more leap from the water it may have been a different result, I was thankful it didn't make one last leap. After it's release I gave two more stretches of water a go, the first one I hooked and lost a nice brown and the second there wasn't a sign of a trout to be had. I could see heavy clouds building up again, it was time to call it a day and head back to the car before the rain gets here. The forecast is for 20-40mms of rain, something I really don't want to happen, it means the rivers and streams will all be running much higher and faster to what they are now. With just the four trout caught and released from seven hookups wasn't all that bad in the end, the good thing was the trout are starting to show up. I doubt I'll be back in a river for several days now with more rain on the way, with only half a dozen trips for the month of October due to high river levels has put me well behind to where I was this time last season. This time last season I had made 22 trips to the rivers/streams for 104 trout caught and released. So far this season I have only managed 18 trips with just a measly 56 trout being caught and released. My end of season catch will be interesting when it ends on the 1st May 2022, my season's target of 500 trout will take some doing that's for sure. There was one disappointment from today's trip too, it was my new anti-slip wading boots that I bought for fishing small rivers & streams, I can tell you now they're not anti-slip at all. The rocky bottom was very slippery today and it was like skating on ice for most of the time I spent in the water. The boots are good quality, very light & comfortable to wear, it's just a shame they're not up to scratch to what they state they are.
** Equipment used:
Okuma Celilo Finesse ULS 1-3kg trout rod, Okuma ITX-1000 spinning reel, Mepps inline spinners, Platypus Pulse Mono premium monofilament line, Platypus Super 100 UHT mono, Platypus Pretest premium grade mono, Platypus Stealth FC lead line & Boomerang Tool Products.
Adrian Webb (meppstas)
The fish of the day
A well hooked wild brown
Beautiful colours in this brown trout
Okuma ITX 1000 Platypus Pulse mono and Mepps Aglia fluoro spinner
Ready for release
Still plenty of water here