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 ...
Overcast, humid conditions and the perfect water level was enough for me to head over to the Meander River for a spin session. It was 6:45 when I hit the water and it wasn't all that long before I had the first trout of the morning take the #0 March Brown Bug spinner, the only problem was it tossed it as fast as it took it. Two casts later I was onto another trout, this little brown stayed on and I had the first fish of the day in the net. It's been around a month since I last fished this stretch of river and this stretch of water I'm fishing didn't give up a single fish, this was a good start to what I normally have here. The river here was perfect for casting and drifting too which was even better as It's one of my favourite ways of spin fishing. There's nothing better than watching the Mepps inline spinner drift with the flow and a trout sitting right up behind it, then it's up to me to get that trout to take the spinner.
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.
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.
As much as I wanted to do today, fast water fishing was taken off my where to fish list, I still headed to the same river and started the spin session in the slower flowing waters of the Meander River. The same waters where the river bottom is covered in green algae and brown slime, the water level was up by 40mms so that gave a little more space between the lure and the river bottom today. I was in the river by 7:10am this time, a little earlier than my last trip here, I started off using a #0 Mepps March Brown Bug spinner only to have it fouled by the green algae that was drifting down the river.
Sometimes things are never as easy as they sound, two days left in January to catch two trout to reach my 350th for the season, should be quite easy shouldn't, well it wasn't. Here's how I struggled to reach it. Never take things for granted.
As the title states, getting my 350th trout wasn't easy at all, with just two trout needed to reach it I certainly did it the hard way. Every time I get close to achieving something, for one reason or another it never comes easy for me. In a way I suppose that's a good thing, but just for once it would be nice to reach it without any hiccups along the way. Like today for instance when I headed over to one of my favourite small tannin streams where I thought it would be a simple matter catching two trout to reach the 350th trout before the end of January. Now I don't normally fish the small tannin waters at this time of the year unless we've had some decent rainfall which we did have a week ago. When I arrived at the stream I could see it was on the low side but to me it still looked good enough to hop in and catch a few trout. The tannin water was still on the dark coloured side of things which I felt would be in my favour so I started the session off with a small #00 copper Aglia Mouche Rouge inline spinner.
A cool change is on its way so I thought I had best get a spin session in before it arrives as the day goes on, this trip was close to home, it was to the Mersey River at Kimberley. It's an area I've fished for many years and it used to be a great area to fish until we had the 2016 record floods. That flood changed the majority of the Mersey River system, after the floods most of my favourite areas were completely washed away, the river was just a wide open river with five bridges destroyed or severely damaged and most of the river foliage gone. When everything settled down and I returned to fish the river it was like I was fishing a new river, the river had changed so much.
|Carp Management Program
Leader Jonah Yick gives
a presentation on the history
and current status of carp
in Tasmania to
Utas Field Ecology students.
In mid-February, 30 University of Tasmania (UTAS) students enrolled in the unit “Tasmanian Field Ecology”, visited Lake Sorell and Crescent to undertake vegetation and invertebrate surveys around the wetlands. The Interlaken Lakeside Reserve is internationally recognized under the Ramsar Convention on wetlands, and supports a range of threatened and protected flora and fauna. To commence the field trip, the students listened to a presentation given by the Carp Management Program Team Leader Jonah Yick, on the history of carp eradication in Lake Crescent, as well as an update on the ongoing carp eradication efforts in Lake Sorell. Jonah also gave the students a demonstration on the key techniques used to catch carp in the lakes, which included backpack electrofishers, gill nets, fyke nets, and radio telemetry equipment. This unit was coordinated by Associate Professor Leon Barmuta and Dr. Robert Wiltshire, who both taught Jonah over 17 years ago!
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Last week we did a survey of the trout population at Camden Dam. This water was flooded for the first time during 2020-21. At full supply level it holds around 9,300 megalitres, supplying water to Scottsdale Irrigation Scheme. The dam captures inflows from the Camden Rivulet and several other smaller streams, so the potential for the recruitment of trout is very good. Rainbow trout are also found in some of the connecting streams.
We used the electrofishing boat to sample trout from several areas of the dam. The number of trout captured, 26 from 4.5 hours of electrofishing, indicates the size of the brown trout population at present is low, but most fish were in very good condition. Over half of the fish collected were between 1.0 – 1.5 kg (see Figure 1), with the heaviest fish weighing 1.7 kg. There were signs of recruitment from last year with a small number of fish around 130 mm in length. In addition, significant numbers of river fish had dropped downstream and were captured in the bays where the streams flow in. Most fish were feeding on subsurface items such as aquatic beetle larvae and snails.
Figure 1: Length and weight plot for brown trout, Camden Dam, February 2022.
Camden Dam is showing promising results and is likely to continue to improve as a fishery over the next 3 – 5 years. Beyond this, the size of fish is expected to decrease as the population grows with high recruitment expected.
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It has been an epic journey of learning and discovery and I am indebted to Mike Stevens for his help, support and patience.
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Presented from Issue 105, August 2013
Bob is a professional fishing guide and guides for trout and estuary species. Check him out at www.fishwildtasmania.com
There are several things we look for in our early season trout waters. It is still winter and cold, so some of the things to consider are: Altitude as this dictates the water temperature and therefore feeding activity. Food for the fish. Availability of trout food is generally dictated by the quantity and quality of weed beds.
Quantity of fish.
Three waters which I believe fit all three requirements are:Read more ...