Woke up to see the sky heavy with cloud cover so I headed off to the Meander River for a spin session in the fast water stretches. The river was up by some four inches which was good to see as it meant there could be some trout for the taking so to speak as I catch and release mine any way. I'm fishing a 1.5km stretch of river that can make or break most trout fishers but I've fished it plenty of time so I know where the easiest areas are. It's still tough and with the water being up it will be even tougher going & there's no room for mistakes, once you slip and fall in then you're going for a bumpy ride downstream. I've been lucky in all my years of river fishing I'm yet to fall in a fast water run and I don't intend too on this trip either.
If I do fall in here it may well be my last fishing trip to a river... Any way, I hit the river at 7:30 am in what was quite mild conditions, the river looked great with plenty of water coming down. At first I just stood on the river bank and flicked a Mepps #1 Aglia tiger spinner into a wide deep run to see if I could draw the attention of a trout. It only took a few casts before I felt a few light taps as I retrieved the spinner and spotted a small trout behind the lure. That was enough to change over to a Rapala f5 rainbow trout lure and see it that make get one to take it. Well I did had several light whacks on the lure before I felt a bit of weight on the line but no real pull or fight at all. Once I had the lure in sight I noticed a small fish on it and when the lure got closer to me I saw it was a small Redfin Perch. Now that's something I was expecting at all even though I have caught them here on the very odd occasion many years ago, it was quickly and humanely disposed of too.
After that I was off to the fast water as well as changing the lure over to a small bleeding tiger hard body. I cast the lure into a small flat water close to the river bank and instantly had a take and this brown made it to the net after doing it's best to toss the lure. Another five meters above that first small flat water was another small flat water, I flicked the hard body into it and had another take as soon as the lure hit the water. This brown made two leaps from the river as it darted downstream and headed right into the leaves and branches of a fallen gumtree. Well I didn't lose the lure, but I did lose the trout. That was the last trout taken for some time before I reached a deeper fast water run, one that needed plenty of care while making my way upstream. Over the following kilometer of river I managed to catch & release six solid browns from ten hook ups as well as several hit and misses. So this long fast water still held some nice fish with the majority of them in the 500-600 gram range. It was now time to try another 1.5 km stretch of river some five kilometers downstream from here and one that's a lot more friendly to fish... It wasn't all that long when I was into fishing this stretch of fast and medium flowing water I had three follows from some solid browns but they wouldn't take the bleeding tiger hard body at all. It always amazes me with brown trout how quickly they'll go for one lure and not any others.
Then later on they go off that one and will go for one that was tried earlier, they certainly are mind changers that's for sure and that's why I love chasing them. Any way back to the fishing, I did change the lure for the ghost brown one and that worked a treat. Over this 1.5 km stretch of river I caught and released another eight browns from eleven hook ups and like earlier on also had quite a few hit and misses. They were still a little fussy at times as I had to really suck them into taking the lure by stopping the lure as they came up behind it, then gave it a light jerk then let the lure drift with the flow and that's when they smashed it. The trout here were also in top condition and beautifully coloured as we near Autumn, the best brown went 680 grams. This trip was the best so far for the month of February with 15 browns caught & released, it took my season tally to 492 which I'm fairly happy with at this stage of the season. Surely with just seven days of February left I should reach the 500 mark and there's still two months of the season to go after that to reach my target of 600.. All my trout are released unharmed, only time one or two may be kept is from severe bleeding from the gill area. So far this season I have only had to keep three trout that being two browns & one rainbow trout....
Adrian Webb (meppstas)