The weather here in Sheffield today was great, it was sunny with a temperature of fifteen degrees so I headed off for a mid afternoon spin session in the upper reaches of the Mersey River. With the majority of rivers that I fish still running high the upper Mersey was the go to place to fish. The long stretch of river I headed to required a long forty minute walk, it once was very good trout water until the 2016 floods wiped the river clean of fish in this area. It's been five years since I last fished this area, so today I'm hoping the long walk to the river will be rewarding by catching & releasing a few wild brown trout, and I'm not fussed about their size either. I arrived at my entry point a little worse for wear after the long walk and it took me a few minutes to settle down before I hopped in the river at 2:20 pm, the lure of choice to start with was a Mepps #1 Aglia Fluo micro-pigment rainbow inline spinner. The river height was still on the high side and pushing quite hard on the legs, with the rocky river bottom being slippery and tough on the body, I knew it wasn't going to be an easy time spent in the river.
The Mersey River has to be one of the toughest rivers to wade, the rocks vary in size with most of them being round & oblong and they all roll under foot. To top it off, they're also slippery, all it takes is one wrong move, get off balance and before you know it, you're in the river, so slow and easy is the only way to go. The water I fished today was just below waist deep, so it wasn't going to be a long spin session at all. The late start made that decision for me as it still gets dark reasonably early and I wanted to be back at the car by 4:30 at the latest. The river itself was a nice medium tannin colour and the river flow was again ideal for casting and drifting, even better, there were quite a lot of flat water areas on both sides of the river that I hoped would be holding a trout or two. The first few minutes of casting and drifting the Aglia was quiet with not a sign of a trout and it wasn't until I moved a few meters upstream when things changed. After having several casts into the small flat waters near the opposite side of the river, then letting the spinner drift with the flow and still no signs of a trout I was wondering if the long walk was worth it.
With the water being just below the waist and only being eight feet from the river bank I was feeling quite comfortable because I was just off the edge of the fast flowing water and it was much easier on the legs. What I mean by that, is the water pressure on the legs wasn't all that bad where I was positioned in the river, that didn't mean I could relax, I still had to take it slow and easy as I made my way upstream. Directly ahead of me was a nice eight foot wide flat water that was well shaded from the sun and that's where the Aglia Fluo headed. Once the spinner hit the water then two turns of the reel handle was all it took to get the attention of a trout, it didn't hesitate to take the lure. It was fish on in no time at all and it was a solid fish too, it made several runs and leaps from the river before I had it close enough to slip the net under it. Once it was in the net, out popped the spinner, how lucky I was to have landed this fish, it could have tossed it at any time while I was filming it before I eased it into the net. Anyway, I had the first trout of the day landed and a decent fish at that, any decent trout that I catch are always weighed while they are in the net.
The total weight with the fish in the net was 775 grams, minus the net weight of 310 grams left the trout at a nice 465 grams. After its release I made another cast back into the same flat water and the same thing happened again, another trout took the spinner in quick time, this one was a smaller fish and it only took half the time before it was landed, photographed and released. Two trout caught and released in ten minutes, not the start I was expecting at all, but one I was pretty happy with that's for sure. It wasn't until I had moved several meters further up the river and continued with the casting and drifting with the Aglia when I was onto another trout, this fish put up a good fight too as it made several runs in the fast flowing water before it tired and I had it in the net. It was a nice well conditioned medium size brown trout, like the other two it went through the same routine as the previous two trout before being released for another day. With three trout caught and released in the first ten minutes was certainly the start every trout fisherman could wish for, it didn't continue though.
The river ahead of me was a little narrower, deeper and running much faster, it wasn't safe enough to make my way upstream from here. I made my way through a gap in the tea trees and entered a nice medium flowing side water, it was there I had a solid hit but missed having a hookup. That was the only sign of a trout that I had while fishing that stretch of water, from there I was able to move back into the mainstream. This stretch of river was very wide, fast flowing and the water was only a few inches above the knees which was good. I could stay in the middle of the river, there were several good flat waters along both sides too. The casting distance I am getting in this wide stretch of the Mersey is great, the Okuma ULS Celilo Finesse 6'6 trout rod couple up with the Okuma ITX-1000 spinning reel that's spooled with the ultra thin tough 4lb Platypus Pulse mono line is perfect.
The 3.5 gram Aglia Furia spinner is reaching each side of the river with ease, this is the ideal lightweight outfit for any type of river fishing. I continued to concentrate on fishing the flat waters on both sides of the rivers as I slowly made my way upstream. After twenty minutes I felt my luck was running out quite fast after hooking and losing three trout during that time. It wasn't until I was retrieving the Aglia Fluo rainbow spinner when I had a couple of hits that's when I spotted a trout having a go at the anti-kink set up that I use. This is something that happens from time to time as it's the first thing a trout spots as the lure is retrieved past the fish. I used to add a fly dropper to the anti-kink and I did catch quite a few trout in doing so, the only problem was the tangled mess that occurred once the trout was hooked and thrashed around.
So I gave up on using the drop fly after it happened several times on some of my spin sessions in the rivers. After seeing that trout having a go at the anti-kink for some reason I decided to go for a change of lure, it was off with the rainbow coloured spinner and on with a #1 Aglia Furia spinner, another very good reliable trout taker throughout a trout season. It was a good decision making the change too, a few minutes later a solid trout took the Furia, this was a beautiful fish that made several hard runs back and forth across the river before I managed to get it on the surface. Once on the surface I kept the rod tip high to keep the trout on its side and its head out of the water to stop it from making any more runs and leaps from the river when it may toss the spinner. Once I had it within reach of the landing net I could see that it was well hooked in the jaw, there was no way I was going to lose it. This trout looked to be the same size as the first trout that I caught, once I had it in the net I repeated what I did with the first decent trout I caught early on, this fish weighed in at 460 grams.
Fifty minutes had passed by since the third trout was caught, losing three in a row didn't help either so it was a relief to finally catch this trout. I fished on for another fifteen minutes without a sign of a trout, I reached the top end of this wide stretch of water. The river ahead of me was a long, wide and very deep stretch of water and one that I felt was a waste of time fishing until it dropped in height, not only that I was now body sore, plus I from here my care was still a good thirty five minute walk away. It was time to call it a day and make my way back to the car, I was pretty well done and dusted by the time I reached it too. I know one thing, Once the weather and water temperatures warm up I will make a return trip to this area mainly to see how well it fishes in more suitable fishing conditions. By the way, I did make it back to the car at 4:30 pm too & totally knackered as well.
** Equipment used: Okuma Celilo Finesse ULS 1-3 kg trout rod, Okuma Epixor EPXT20 spinning reel, Mepps inline spinners, Platypus Pulse Mono premium monofilament line, Platypus Stealth FC lead line & Boomerang Tool Products.
Once in the net the lure came free
Still a little high fast for my liking
Taking a breather before the long walk back to the car
The first of trout the day
The second best trout of the session
The third trout in ten minutes
Water that's worth fishing