A cool change is on its way so I thought I had best get a spin session in before it arrives as the day goes on, this trip was close to home, it was to the Mersey River at Kimberley. It's an area I've fished for many years and it used to be a great area to fish until we had the 2016 record floods. That flood changed the majority of the Mersey River system, after the floods most of my favourite areas were completely washed away, the river was just a wide open river with five bridges destroyed or severely damaged and most of the river foliage gone. When everything settled down and I returned to fish the river it was like I was fishing a new river, the river had changed so much.
As the years went on a lot of foliage has regrown along the river banks but most of it is the snap Willow trees, there is still quite a bit of native shrubs and trees along it in areas that were spared due to the terrain they're in. The river itself hasn't fished anywhere near its best like it used to before the flood, the brown and rainbow trout are mainly all small/medium size fish nowadays with a few large trout thrown in from time to time. The river in the lower reaches is not in the best of condition either, the river bottom there is in very poor condition, silted and full of a slimy type of algae which has affected the trout during the spawning seasons. Like many of the rivers across Tasmania it has been and still is being hit by cormorants, a bird that can eat three times its own body weight on a daily basis.
So as you can see, the fishing has been tough in the lower reaches of the Mersey River for many years now. The upper reaches are on the improve with more trout being caught each season, but the size of them is still well down to what they once were. I still love to fish the lower reaches from time to time, mainly to see if there's any improvement in the trout numbers. Anyway, back to how the morning's spin session went. After parking the car and having a long bush walk I finally reached the river by 7:45 am in what was very warm, humid conditions. Towards the North West there were quite a lot of dark clouds building up so I had to get a move on before it arrives and brings the rain with it. The Mepps spinner I used first up was the #1 Aglia Furia, an inline spinner that's always produced a trout or two in the first stretch of water I was about to fish
After working the Aglia Furia in a wide fast flowing stretch of water without a hit or any signs of a trout, it was time to move on to another stretch of fast water and a change of lure. The lure I went for was the same well used Mepps #1 March Brown Bug spinner that did the job on the trout a couple of days ago. I headed to another spot across the river and after several minutes of casting and drifting the Bug spinner I had a hookup, it was a medium size rainbow that had taken the spinner. It made a few hard runs while staying deep for a short time before it hit the surface, once it surfaced it danced across the water a couple of times, finally it gave in and I eased it into the net. Even though it was only a medium size rainbow, it was a nice well conditioned fish and a good one to catch first up.
The next stretch of water, much like a pool that was kept topped up by the mainstream. It's a water that gives up two or three small trout each time I've fished it, today it didn't , there wasn't a sign of a trout in it today. I crossed back over the river and made my way up and into a fast water run, on the opposite side of it next to the river bank was a nice flat water. The first cast and retrieve I felt a light bump on the spinner, the next cast and retrieve the spinner was hit hard and fast, a trout had taken the Bug. Like most trout here it was just a small brown of legal size (22cms) which to me is still just a small fish of which the size limit is too small. I believe the size limit for trout in rivers and streams across Tasmania should be raised to a legal size of 30 centimetres. That was the one and only trout caught in that fast flowing stretch of water, from there I moved into a one hundred meter waist deep stretch of slow flowing water. Once I started fishing it I decided to try a small unbranded olive coloured minnow lure, it's one I've had for several years now and I use it every so often when I fish a deeper stretch of water. After several minutes of using it while slowly making my way upstream a solid brown took it.
This was a good size fish too, at first I thought it was a rainbow trout when it stayed deep and pulled hard, it wasn't until it broke the surface and leaped from the river I could see it was a brown trout. It pulled hard and gave up a good battle in the waist deep water, it wasn't all that long before I had it within reach of the net, once in the net out popped the lure. It was a nice well conditioned trout, one that weighed 430 grams, after a couple of photos it was released back into the river for another day. From here I moved into another fast water, one that was really running much faster than the other one I fished early on. It was here I caught two small browns in two casts, three casts and retrieves later I caught and released a beautifully coloured 435 gram rainbow trout.
After its release I looked at the time and it was 9:35 am, I was thinking about walking to another good run of fast water further upstream then decided not to head there. It was a good twenty minute walk and I had to do a bit of bush bashing and walking through above waist high grass, with it being hot and humid I decided not to push my luck today. I will make that trip another day, one day when it's much cooler, even better, a light drizzly day will suit me. So as far as I was concerned, my day was now done and dusted, all I had to do was take a thirty meter walk to where I cross the river and head back to the car. As I crossed the river I noticed a few trout were surface feeding a short distance upstream, well within casting distance, plus one was surface feeding under the willows near the river bank to the right of me.
My first cast and retrieve was straight up the river, on the river a bow wave appeared behind the March Brown, in no time at all it was fish on. It was only a small brown trout and like the other small browns it still did everything it could to toss the spinner, it didn't. After it's release I went on to catch and release three more small browns without having to move from where I was standing in the river, two of those three were caught from under the willows to the right side of me. Now my day was done, all up I caught and released eight browns and two rainbows which was a lot more than I had expected to catch here this morning. After a short walk I was back at the car and on the way home at 10:30 am and very happy with another double figure catch taking my season tally to 220 trout caught of which only one brown trout has been kept.
Another Bug lover
Got to love the colours in this rainbow
Perfect weather to be the a river
The bug does it again
The flat water gave up a trout
The March Brown Bug a must have trout lure
Yes the river is in there somewhere