During the trout off-season I tend to spend a bit of time chasing bream, to continue getting a fishing fix, and spend time tying flies and dreaming about the trout season to come. It’s a time to spend doing tackle maintenance, stocking up on lures and dreaming up new challenges and goals for the trout season ahead. When the new season comes around I usually spend the first few months targeting sea runners. Sea run trout are simply brown trout that spend much of there lives out to sea and come in to the estuaries for spawning and to feed on whitebait and the other small endemic fishes that spawn in late winter through spring. Mixed in with the silvery sea runners you can also expect to catch resident fish that have the typical dark colours of a normal brown trout as well as atlantic salmon in some of our estuaries that are located near salmon farm pens. Living in Hobart it is quick and easy to do a trip on the Huon or Derwent and is a more comfortable proposition compared to a trip up to the highlands with snow and freezing winds to contend with.Read more ...
Seeing as it's been a few days since my last fishing session and with the weather being more settled for the next day or so I headed back to one the tannin streams again, mainly because the larger rivers were still running on the high side. One thing I was sure of was that the small stream I headed to would be at a nice wading height, the only problem would be the amount of trees that would be across the stream. A few weeks ago we had a massive storm in the area which brought down thousands of large trees in several areas across the state. A few of my favourite streams just happened to be in one of those areas that was severely hit by the 165kph winds. Anyway, by the time I parked the car and made my way to the river it was nearly mid-day by the time I hit the water.
I am sure that the majority of those who trout fish don't bother to check out small streams to see if there may be any trout in them. Well, for me I am one who loves to fish these small streams because most of them that flow into a large river will have trout in them. When fishing small out of the way small streams you will come across quite a few log jams, some are small and are quite easy to climb over or go around if that's possible. Then there's the large log jams that can be a real challenge if there's no way around them due to high river banks or heavy foliage that's full of blackberry bushes. Log jams are just a part of small stream fishing and one has to take the good with the bad at times, that's really the worst thing one has to contend with. Yes it can be tough at times, it's also very rewarding when you catch your first trout in a small out of the way stream.
Well, another trout season has come to an end and for me it was one that had quite a few ups and downs in the rivers which had a lot to do with the weather conditions. At the start of the 2021/22 trout season I set myself a target of 500 trout and thankfully I did manage to reach it on the 18th April, I went on to end the season with a total of 536 trout caught in 90 trips, of which four were kept due to gill damage. The three large rivers I fished were the Mersey, Meander and Leven all of which had some problems with them. The Meander & Leven were two that had a lot of green cotton like algae on the river bottom on each and every trip I had to them. The Mersey River was the worst river of all, not only was the river bottom in poor condition with it being full of silt and slime on the rocky river bottom, it was the water weeds that made fishing a waste of time in the upper reaches in and around Weegena. Wading & fishing in the river when it's full of water weeds was near impossible in several stretches of the river, long strands of weed wrapped around one's legs while heading upstream and it was much worse when the water level was low. As for the trout in the three large rivers my catches were mainly small to medium size fish with the odd large fish being far and few between, only twenty three trout of the 341 trout caught in the Mersey, Meander were over the five hundred gram mark. The three trips I had to River Leven, the biggest trout out of the twenty six fish caught went 460 grams, though I did lose a couple of trout that would have been in the five hundred gram plus range. The small tannin waters I fished were down in fish numbers this season for some reason, in thirty one trips I caught and released 119 trout compared to last season's thirty two trips for 197 trout being caught and released. I feel low water levels may have had a lot to do with it throughout the trout season. The other small river I fished (on private property) nine times during the season was the Dasher, that small river gave up 48 trout all of which were very small fish, the best weighing in at 350 grams. Western Creek was a short spin session that I had on the way home where I caught and released two small browns in very low water.
Seeing as I only need another three trout to reach the 500 trout target I set myself for this season I decided not to wait another day to reach it. With rain forecast for all of tomorrow I made the decision to head off to my favourite tannin water to see if I could get it over and done with. It was 3:05 pm by the time I hit the river which was a little on the low side but still deep enough thanks to the 6 mms of rain we had yesterday. I started the session off using a small copper #00 Aglia inline spinner thinking that the copper colour would stand out better in the dark water.
Today is another day and with more rain forecast later in the day I headed back to my favourite tannin stream to hopefully catch five trout to reach another achievement with my trout fishing. The weather this morning was quite good, very humid and no wind, the water level was down to an ideal wading and fishing height too. I was also hyped up and raring to catch the trout, whether it be the five I need or even better ten or more would be great. Once in the stream I started casting the little #00 White Miller Bug spinner directly upstream into a nice bubble line, then retrieved it while giving the lure a light twitch every so often.
Today's mid afternoon trip was to one of my favourite tannin streams and my aim was to catch four trout to reach my 300th of the season. The conditions weren't all that good with an Easterly breeze, warm day with plenty of sun and a higher than normal water level. The one thing I disliked about today was that it's a good day for snakes, I had to walk through a lot of high grass and fallen tree branches to reach my entry point into the tannin water. It was 2:55 pm by the time I hit the water and started to flick a small #00 gold Aglia spinner into a small section of dark tannin water where I had a trout follow the lure on the first cast and retrieve. It was on the second cast and retrieve when a small brown trout took a liking to the gold Aglia, the first trout of the session was soon in hand. Even though it was a small brown trout this was just the start I was looking for, I was hoping it will continue to keep on going too.
With another storm forecast later in the day I headed up to a small stream on private property for a quick spin session before the weather turned sour. It was quite humid when I left home and on my arrival I noticed quite a few heavy clouds building up so I had to hurry on and get in the small river. The water level was still good here and there was still plenty of flow, it was a nice medium tannin colour as well so I started off using a small Mepps #00 gold Aglia. The first cast and retrieve resulted in a small brown having a go at the spinner, it missed getting hooked. The second cast and retrieve was much better when another small brown had a go at it and was hooked, the first trout of the session was landed. I moved several feet forward and flicked the spinner into the top end of this narrow stretch of water, no sooner had I started to retrieve the spinner when another little brown snapped it up, trout number two was soon in hand. Another cast & retrieve back into the same area I had a hit and miss from a trout, like the others, it was a small fish.
With a more lousy weather forecast for later in the day I thought I would spend a few hours in the water this morning while the weather was calm. Even though it was foggy and quite cool when I left home, there wasn't any wind to contend with and that mattered most. Once I left the car and walked to my entry point at 8:45 am when I was standing on a gravelly river bank, the first thing I noticed was the water level had dropped to a nice wading level. It was down by at least five inches from my last trip here which meant the trout would be in more open slower flowing runs now. I started the session off using a #00 gold Aglia Mouche Noire, I felt it would be a good lure for the dull conditions & lower water today. While I was at the river edge I decided I would cross over and head further downstream to fish a stretch of water that I have fished for a couple of seasons, one that did give up a few fish back in it's day. Before I crossed over I looked at a nice flat water that had a large submerged log in it, to me it looked fishy and worth a few casts to see if I was right.
Needing only ten more trout to reach my 300th trout for the 2020/21 trout season and with the larger rivers still running high after 47mms of rain three days ago I had no option but to head back to my favourite tannin waters. The weather was fine, no wind to worry about plus I had an earlier start to the day than I normally do, I was in the water by 8:20 am. At this time of the year the sun rises much later than last month and lower in the sky in the morning to what it was last month. Not that it mattered all that much as the area I'm fishing has a lot of dense foliage on both sides of the stream.
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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 ...