Exploring streams and probing the waters with lures, flies or bait is not only highly rewarding but a great way to get back to nature.

Story By Al McGlashan

Despite the fact that Australia is one of the driest continents on earth, there are still hundreds of streams and rivers to explore. Ranging from fast-flowing, high-country streams through to slow, murky rivers snaking through the outback, there is certainly no shortage of fishing opportunities.
In the southern half of the country, the cooler streams flowing out of the hills are home to both rainbow and brown trout. Alternately, the infamous Australian bass dominates rivers along the east coast, while inland you will find Murray cod and yellowbelly. Up north there are a host of species including jungle perch and barramundi.
“Fishing rivers is not simply a matter of ambling along the bank hoping for a bite,” Glenn MacCarthy, a trout fishing fanatic from Victoria, says. “Instead anglers really need to hunt the fish, employing stealth and finesse to outsmart their quarry.”
The golden rule is to always fish upstream. The reasoning is that fish will naturally face into the current so by walking upstream you are basically sneaking up from behind. “On top of this, if you do spook a fish it will naturally swim downstream where you have already fished,” fishing guide Mick Cole says. This is particularly important when chasing trout in fast-flowing streams.
Before you start fishing a stretch of river, be it a tranquil pool, a snag or a shallow run, always take a moment to study it. “You really need to read the water,” Glenn says. “Even in the smallest streams there are specific spots that the fish will favour and identifying those areas is paramount to your success.” Every pool is different so this is just a rough guide on how to fish a stretch of river.
The bottom end of the pool is generally shallow, especially in mountain streams, and this is a prime spot to find trout. Holding station in the current they will be waiting for food to be pushed past in the current. “Always look for a dominant rock or slight channel where the fish can conceal themselves or hide out of the current,” John Franklin, a Sydney angler, says. Being shallow also means the fish will be extremely wary so always make long casts to minimise the chance of spooking the fish. This is also one of the best places to cast the fly.

This story excerpt is from Issue #57

Outback Magazine: Feb/Mar 2008