Fly fishing gear

Trout opening on the Macquarie River

By Colin Gordon | November 18, 2021

Colin’s old spinners still work great!

ONE of the most important days of the year was the first Saturday in October, especially if you grew up in rural New South Wales in the 1960s and 1970s. Opening the trout after the cold winter meant getting your gear ready for an early start, pedaling feverishly at dawn to your favorite spot, and having the chance to catch your first fish for the new season.

The Macquarie River flowed through town with unlimited access to fishable water and an abundance of rainbow fat and brown trout as a target. Opening day was a big thing, fishermen forged new paths through the long spring grasses along the often frost-covered river banks, numb fingers, wet shoes and pants a minor inconvenience when the first throw hit the water.

In those carefree days, trout were in every river or stream, spinners as we called them, the Celta brand being popular cost 35 cents each about the same as a packet of B&H filter tips and we usually got them. from the hairdressing salon where they were on display in a display case on the wall. A brand new Celta was a big investment for a young child and getting hooked meant getting wet to get it back.

We never realized that trout were stocked every year, just that they were there to catch. Like everyone who is a “crazy fisho”, learning new ways to catch fish was a natural progression from bait to spinning and lures to fly fishing. Droughts hit trout from the early 1980s and, as often happens, fewer fish means less interest in fishing for the majority of people.

The DPI would bring the fry to Bathurst where members of the Central Acclimatization Society (CAS) branches in surrounding towns would collect their allocations and transfer them to release sites all around the Midwest. Some years have been great and some not so when the promising spring conditions quickly turned into dry streams by Christmas.

Consultation between DPI and recreational fishing groups resulted in the use of temperature loggers to monitor and record stream temperatures to determine the viability of stocking salmonids in streams. where they had been historically stocked in order to get better results for efforts, including stocking the larger trout in areas where bluefin tuna are more prolific, including reservoirs like Lake Oberon and Lake Lyall.

The DPI Dutton Trout Hatchery team have done an outstanding job producing and delivering quality fish for many years to improve recreational fishing opportunities for anglers and with good rainfall in most of the mid-west watersheds in recent years, their efforts have resulted in some of the best trout. fishing practiced for many years.

On this season’s opening day, I searched the cupboards for my old trout gear and out on the water before lunch. Four animated rainbows in four jets passed me in the moment and the camera took a few shots in the clear water. I was amazed at the abundance of fish all in great condition, the smaller rainbows around 300-340mm long still showing pan marks indicating that they were only one year old fish from the September 2020 stocking. I kept walking and changing my old tops to get hits and land fish until the sun told me I better get back to the vehicle before it gets dark.

It had been maybe 30 years since I had targeted trout with wringers and the old selection had been proven successful, even a pink floppy disk represented a few fish many years after it was last seen in the water. The day had been one of those great days that will stay in my memory and thanks to digital cameras I have some photos to look at and show the value of DPI storage programs.