Presented from Issue 105, August 2013
We did a bit of a runaround Tasmania’s tackle stores to see what their tips for the first month or so of the tackle season were. We asked what the top three places to fish were, plus lures, flies, baits and a few other things.
Here is a rundown on their answers Whenever, and wherever you fish - anywhere, or for any fish in the world - ask the locals and especially ask at the local tackle store. They know what was caught today, yesterday and on what.
At last the Leven River level was down to a safe wading height which meant I could finally go and have another go at catching a trout in it. My last trip there resulted in a “donut” which was my first for two trout seasons. I did hook a few trout that day but lost every one of them, today I was out for a bit of revenge. Actually I would be happy with catching two or three fish, well not really I want more to make up for my previous losses. The conditions were ideal too with heavy cloud cover and the lightest of breeze as I entered the river just on 6:00 am. The river was running at the perfect height for wading, so far everything was spot on for trout fishing. First stretch of river I fished was a medium to fast water around forty meters long.
With the Mersey, Meander & Leven rivers still running very high and a day without rain plus a temperature of 15 degrees had me heading off to the tannin water for a spin session after a nine day lay off. Until the larger rivers drop to a safe wading level I have no choice but to fish the little tannin water again. There was only one problem today and that was the wind, it was gusting at 50/60 kph from the North West so it wasn't going to be all that great for spin fishing. When I arrived I found the stream was running much higher than my last trip but still good enough to hop in and try and catch a trout or two. Like the past couple of river trips I started with the Mepps #0 Aglia tiger fluoro, it was on the forth cast when I picked up my first little wild brown trout in small flat water under some overhanging tea trees.
I headed over to the Leven River only to find it was like the rivers closer to home, running to high & fast to fish so I went and checked out a small stream that flows into the Leven. I wasn't sure if it was worthwhile getting the wading gear on to give it a go or not. After standing there for at least ten minutes looking the stream in two minds should I or shouldn't I give it a go I finally decided to get the wading gear on. A twenty minute walk though down through some paddocks and thick bush I was in the river just on 2:15 PM.
Seeing it's the last day of the 2017-18 trout season I headed back to the Leven River to finish off what's been a reasonably good trout season for me and maybe add a few more trout to my seasons tally. As I got closer to Gunns Plains I noticed there was a large layer of fog running along the whole length of the river so it won't be all that warm once I get there. With no wind it will still be nice in the river and hopefully there will be a few trout in the area I'm fishing today below & above Marshall's Bridge. It wasn't very long before I was there and headed of for a five to six hundred meter walk downstream where I would hop in the river and slowly fish my way back upstream. It was quite weird walking in the thick fog and the only sounds I heard was from several birds singing, magpies warbling and of course a few cows bellowing away every so often.
Hit the Leven River again this morning and had a great start to the spin session. On my last trip here I had a follow and a few hits from one very nice large and solid brown. I was a little worried that day as I thought had he taken it and done the crocodile roll I would see the fine 4 lb mono giving way. It's not so much as the line breaking, it's the knot where it will break as that's the weakest point. Even it it didn't roll the size of that fish was enough to test out the knot any way.
Today I went back to the same area where I had seen that large brown, this time I have a 6 lb leader set up to the little GagaGoon MI Perch hard body lure. It wasn't all that long when that large brown came out from a shallow flat water (a little further upstream from last time here) and had three goes at the lure and like the other day it missed taking the lure.. I watched the big bugger move off and went in behind a large rock in the river. I couldn't see him at all after that so I decided to cast the lure downstream past the rock then slowly retrieve the lure up past where I felt it was sitting.
Today I decided I would head on over to the Leven River seeing as I haven't given a thought to fishing it all season for one reason or another. Last season I only had the one trip here and that was early February 2017 after we had 20 mms of rain, that day I caught & released 10 browns and 1 rainbow. Since we had some good rains a week or so ago I checked the river levels and it had a reasonable flow of water in it so I felt it's worth a shot. I'm well over due for a good bag of fish so I was hoping this may be the day as I new exactly the stretch of river I'll be fishing too. It's fished well before for me and I'm reasonably confident it will do so today. The hardest thing will be the choice of lure to use, the gold & copper Aglias & Black Fury spinners have worked well here before, so have the f3 Rapala rainbow & brown trout hard body lures.
It's been two weeks now since I damaged the hamstring and I felt it was time to put it to the test. Even though I have to see the physio again on Thursday, to me it feels good enough to have a short spin session in a river. Left Sheffield at 1:15 PM and arrived near the river just before 2:00 PM. I soon had the waders & boots on then off for leisurely forty minute walk that included a little bush bashing before I was finally at the rivers edge. All I had to do then was to find an easy entry point, instead of sliding down a steep river bank. It only took me a couple of minutes before I found one that was good enough, providing I took it easy. At last I was back to what I love doing most, spin fishing a river for that elusive trout.
After being out for lunch I thought I would dart of for a few hours to check out a couple of rivers, if either one was running at a reasonable height and clear enough I'd have a go at catching a trout. After a forty five minute drive I was soon bush bashing my way through some heavy scrub to check out the first river which I found to be running too high and a little dirty. A bush back to the car and it was onto the next small stream which I found was a nice dark tannin colour & just the right height to hop in for a spin session.
Presented from Issue 108, February 2014
I believe the Leven River to be one of the best rivers in Northern Tasmania. It flows freely from Black Bluff Range below Mt.Tor, through Loongana and the Leven Canyon. It then flows through the farmland district of Gunns Plains all the way to the estuary at the seaside township of Ulverstone. There is not a single dam on this beautiful river to interrupt its natural flow and that is great. The river above the Loongana Bridge is now classed as a rainbow water, and below it is classed as a brown trout fishery, and a very good one it is.
Refer to https://m.ifs.tas.gov.au/about-us/publications/river-leven-angler-access-brochure for current information.
Well it was an earlier start on the river today than yesterday, this time I was back in the water by 10:00 am. Yesterday it was sunny and windy whereas today it's very dull with low cloud and a cool South Westerly breeze. I prefer it like this too with no sun on the water, it gets the trout out and about more often than not. Stuck with the same set up that I finished with yesterday and the session started off very quiet. Not a sign of a fish over the first three hundred meters at all. Where the hell have they gone I said to myself, they were every where yesterday.
Still can't worry about it, just continue to work my way upstream as I'm sure I'll pick up one sooner or later. I came to a large fallen tree across the river that had a nice pocket of water under it and with a back hand cast into it I was soon onto my first trout of the morning. This was a solid fish too and one that was in a fighting mood as it fought hard all the way into the net. This female trout went 540 grams and was in excellent condition.
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Presented from Issue 105, August 2013
Christopher Bassano fishes over 250 days a year. This interview was recorded just before he headed off to fish for Australia in the World Fly Fishing Championships in Norway 14-17 August 2013.
I live on a small stream and at the start of the season I like to go off on a bit of a discovery mission and fish the headwaters of the creeks and rivers I feel an affinity with.
These small rivers include the St Pats, Meander, Forester, Little Forester and others. The further up you go on these rivers the clearer and lower the levels. They are often less affected by the rain and runoff and you get some good opportunities. Get as close to the source as you can and you will find some good dry fly fishing. Don’t limit yourself to those I have mentioned. Most headwaters will hold trout.Read more ...