|Date of Report: Tuesday, 25th April 2017|
|Name: Andrew Fowler
Phone: 082 574 4262
From about the 18th or so of April, we suddenly started to feel that autumnal coolness, that I for one so enjoy. As I write this, on the 24th, I am not aware of any frost yet, but temps will have dropped to 5 or 6 degrees overnight, and while we have had some hot days, the humidity has gone.
During this transition, one does well to fish your heart out!
In early April it is still warm, but the fish are on-the-prod. Then the trees start to turn almost overnight, and it is refreshing to step into a stream. After Easter the threat of heavy rain and dirty water abates. As it cools you have just a few short week-ends and then it is all over . Bang…gone. Just like that. And then it is winter, and a whole arena of dry grass, frost and deeply coloured Stillwater fish opens up for several months.
So get out there.
Here is what has happened so far this year in this transition time in which we now find ourselves. The NFFC dams have been producing lots of stockies, from the healthy dose of stocking done in October last year. Only one of the club waters that I know of has been producing some hogs.
On the private water I know of two private syndicates that are also reporting numerous stockies and no or VERY few bigger fish. So lots of tugs on the end of the line, but nothing to write home about.
The rivers have continued to be something to write home about, but to be honest, by the time you read this, it will pretty much be over as the Browns go into spawning mode. There have been fantastic fish from both the Bushmans and the Mooi. A friend and I went up to the Bushmans to try catch the tail end of it on Saturday, but we found cold water (8.5 degrees to be exact), and not much action until late afternoon by which time the water was around 13 degrees. It was looking beautiful I will tell you: Full and clean, and I could just picture the nineteen inch fish that were caught in the preceding weeks. We managed a few fish considerably smaller than this, but it was a great day out in beautiful surrounds.
The Mooi looked great when I crossed in on Easter Sunday too. There have been roadworks opposite Riverside that conspired to dirty the water a few times in April. This together with the cooling water resulted in more cancelled trips and blank days than in March, but all told the Mooi had a splendid season.
Few people have taken up my prompts to fish the Umgeni, but I was up there a few days adding the last bolts to the last fencing stile, and I regretted not taking a fly-rod. It looked magnificent. The landowner of the two farms that have been cleared over the last 3 years says he will be burning the banks and all the trash this winter, so I really look forward to the easy going in September when the rivers re-open.
Attention now turns to stillwaters. We ended up with a fairly good rainy season for the most part, with some healthy late season rain in April, so the dams are largely full, and we enter winter with the unbridled optimism that lives in the hearty of flyfishermen and farmers alike. This despite SOME dams reporting thin fish, for reasons that still have us scratching our heads. As is the nature of fishermen , we will of course dream up some intricate theories as to why this is the case, but that won’t help us catch any more fish.
There will be the Boston Festival on the 16th June week-end, the Kamberg Trout festival on the weekend of 3rd June, and outside of that a whole bunch of guys going off quietly with their float tubes and their five weights, doing what we do on stillwaters.
On the 5, 6 and 7th May the NFFC opens its waters to those who buy tickets to its Gala dinner in Maritzburg on the evening of the 6th May. At the dinner itself there are something like R40,000 worth of give-aways, great speakers, and for those who are tempted, some seriously valuable stuff on auction. As I write this it is filling up splendidly, but there are still tickets available. I look forward to connecting to a great many friends over that week-end. Perhaps I will see you there?