One nice rainbow in the lower Lefroy
The inaugural Pemberton Trout Festival gave me a welcome excuse to get back among the karri trees for some fresh water fishing.
The Trout Festival was held a couple of weekends ago, and saw hundreds of trout up to an impressive four kilos released into Big Brook Dam.
Almost 400 people showed up for the stocking event and it was a great success, with kids and parents alike having a ball releasing fish into the dam.
Recfishwest ran the event and plenty of its staff were there for the weekend, while there was also support from Southern Forests Freshwater Angling Club and the WA Trout and Freshwater Angling Association.
It was great to catch up with some familiar faces at Big Brook Dam on the Sunday morning, having personally fished there ever since it was first flooded back in the late eighties.
Glenn Edwards and I spent a couple of afternoons fishing the tail end of the dam from our kayaks, catching a couple of nice browns, a handful of rainbows and a few redfin perch.
I had one huge brown chase my fly right to the kayak, which had to be at least 2.5-3kg, and with more big fish released into the dam on the Sunday there are definitely some trophy trout on offer in Big Brook.
We enjoyed three nights in Pemberton and spent most of our days deep in the forest, exploring the small streams of the area such as the Lefroy, Treen and East brooks.
I love this sort of small stream fishing for trout, even if access seems to get harder each year (damn blackberries!) and there is a heap of bush bashing involved.
It’s very satisfying when you do get a nice fish, and we caught a number of yearling-sized trout, as well as seeing many more.
Bigger fish were hard to find, but I picked up one nice rainbow in the lower Lefroy, and we saw or spooked a handful of better specimens, as well as some impressive redfin.
We also noticed a lot of marron, which was encouraging.
The water levels were almost perfect for this style of fishing and it was a delight to wade the cool, clear water in several stretches, where we usually fly fished and occasionally brought out spin gear.
In one section Glenn and I found three fish holding in a shallow run, easily spotted from our raised vantage point on the bank.
Sitting in the middle of the run was easily the biggest of the trio and I clambered down the bank and was able to put a Woolly Bugger more or less in front of it.
The fish swung aggressively in the current to track the fly and picked up speed to chase it down.
It was the best fish I had hooked in a Pemberton stream in a while, and I was elated … for the few seconds before the hook pulled and the fish scurried out of sight, never to be seen again.
While that was a disappointing result, it was nonetheless pleasing to see some good fish in the streams and I might try to get back to Pemby for another fish when the trout hatchery celebrates its 50th anniversary later this month.