Flyfishing report: Yellowfish - East Free State

Date of Report: Monday, 16th January 2023
Name: David Weaver
Phone: 083 303 4230

It’s been a tough season.  Weather wise and fishing pressure wise.  This last weekend the weather was perfect but still the fish were slow to take a dry-fly, and the term “Lockjaw” was being used all over the slipway at the end of the day. 

The fish are in full spawning mode, so their minds are otherwise occupied.  Best to go find cruising, feeding fish away from the spawning areas.  The fish around the spawning beds are just not on the prod, you’ll be wasting your time and you will get very frustrated, because even though you will be seeing plenty fish they’re just not feeding. 

We had good success this last weekend on nymphs, Zac, GRHE, PTN, FFlies and Hopper patterns.  At this stage in the season, the fish become “Beetled out” and refuse the Beetle more often than they take it.  We had plenty of refusals (swirls under the fly but no commitment) over the weekend.  Our most successful dry fly was a parachute hopper pattern in brown.  Our best method was good old “walk and stalk” or finding a concealed perch and casting to cruising fish as they swam by.  With the fish turning away from the dry flies we attached a nymph dropper, and this was taken more often than the dry.

First stop, Caddis Corner, Dog’s Head, Dog’s Leg, Dog’s Chest and the Quarry were the areas where we saw the most fish.  Arrarat produced some larger fish, and a Largie was caught at Three-Anchor Bay. 

Please collect all rubbish that you see around the dam, I normally take a rubbish bag on the boat with me, and we collect all foreign material that we see.  We are the people walking those banks and I have no doubt in my mind that we are not the litterers, but it’s so good to walk on rubbish free banks.  It’s our beats, let’s keep them litter free.

During this spawning period, I implore you not to walk the banks where fish are spawning, as this is very disruptive to the process.  The fish only come onto the banks when the female is ready to drop her eggs.  If we spook them and chase them off the banks, those eggs are dropped in deep water, they aren’t fertilized by the males and the future of our fishery is doomed.  Play your part by staying away from spawning fish, they aren’t feeding anyway.




Yellows on the spawning beds.