Fishing guide Christopher Bassano explores his favourite fishing-and shares a few tips that will help you discover the world of trout near the sea.
With the river level being low I felt it was time to check it out and see if I could catch a few wild brown trout in the Gunns Plains area. The weather was going to be pretty good with patches of cloud and a temperature in the low twenties, the only problem was going to be the Easterly wind that was due sometime during the day. Today was one of my earliest starts of the season, I was in the river by 6:35 am, it was a beautiful cool peaceful morning to be in the river too. The first thing I noticed in a long, wide, deep stretch of river were trout surface feeding in quite a few areas but mainly on the shallower left hand side of the river.
After a poor spin session in a tannin stream this morning with just one small brown trout being caught from five hookups, this afternoon I decided to give the River Leven at Gunns Plains a go. The reason I headed to this river was because it was down to a safe wading height, plus it's a river I love to fish even if it does run hot and cold with the trout. The trout can be hard to find at times and when one does come across them they can be very moody, they're either aggressive or they just sit behind the lure and tease you. Seeing as I had an angling club meeting meant it wasn't going to be a late finish, I would have to be back at the car around five thirty. It was 3:10 pm when I arrived at Gunns Plains and after a short walk it was in the river flicking a #1 Aglia Furi around in the very light tannin coloured water. It didn't take all that long before a nice medium size brown trout followed the spinner right up to where I was standing in the river. There was not a sign of aggression from it either, straight away I thought it's going to be one of those teaser days.
Seeing as we had some reasonable rainfall in the highland areas I checked the river heights of the Leven River last night and saw it has risen to a reasonable wading height so thought a trip to it may be worthwhile. It was a late afternoon spin session as I had several things to do in the morning and with a forecast of a light Nth Easterly wind 7-11 kph wasn't all that bad, even though I'm not a lover of fishing with the breeze from that direction. Before I left home I checked the river height again to find it running at 392 mega litres which was a little on high side but which was a reasonably safe wading height, had it been above the 400 mega litres I would not have gone.
I headed on back to fish the dark tannin waters of the Leven River again yesterday.. The river was at the perfect wading height & the weather was spot on, overcast & humid conditions. It was another slow start once again with just the one soft hit on the gold Mepps #1 black fury from a solid brown. It had taken close on twenty minutes when the brown followed the gold black fury from a cast and drift from the opposite side of the river.
I could see the silhouette of a large fish following closely behind the spinner as I let it drift with the flow. I gave the rod a couple of twitches to see if it would get the trout to take the lure. That didn't work until I had the lure and the trout within three meters of me when I gave the lure another light twitch then let the black fury drop which made the gold blade flutter. That did the job the trout took the lure side on, I felt weight on the line as the large brown took hold of the spinner, I quickly raised the rod to set the hooks but missed setting them. For one reason or another it hadn't taken full hold of the black fury, it must have just had the tip of the hook on it's outer lip. All that fish did was give a soft head shake and it was gone.
After having quite few injections in the lower back and hips this morning I was feeling quite good so decided to head back to the Leven River for another shot a picking up a few more wild brown trout in the afternoon. I had arranged to meet a friend at Gunns Plains who's just made the move from Queensland to Tasmania to start a new life here. It's been 35 years since he last had a fish for trout so today was a big day for him & one he'll remember for some time too as you'll find out when you get a little further into this report.
I though a trip back to the Leven River may be worthwhile now the river level has dropped backed to a safe wading height after some heavy rainfall a couple of weeks ago. My last trip there was a good one with nineteen trout being caught & released, today the water level is lower than that trip was. When I arrived it was very foggy and the conditions were great, cool and not a breath of wind, just perfect for chasing trout. There were a few campers set up on the property where I started off the spin session, good thing was I had arrived at 6:00 am and they were still in their beds.
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.
Read more: Gale force winds, not a day to be in a river - 14/9/2018
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.
Read more: Dark tannin water give up a few small browns - 13/8/2018
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.
Read more: Trout season ends with my PB trout ever - 29/4/2018
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Recently Atlantic salmon seems to be a very hot topic amongst local anglers, especially those in the south of the state in the D'Entrecasteaux area. Northern anglers should take a close look at the Tamar as there are opportunities here as well.
The recent "great escape" has provided a perfect opportunity for fresh and saltwater anglers alike to experience some truly memorable sport. Tasmania's pristine, clean and cool waters are the perfect nursery for the Atlantic Salmon and as our local fish farms produce more and more fresh quality seafood it is a fact that there are going to be tangible consequences.