FOSAF FLYFISHING REPORTS - Yellowfish - East Free State

Date of Report: Friday, 20th December 2019
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Name: David Weaver
Phone: 083 303 4230

I am often asked;

“When is the best time to fish Sterkfontein Dam?’ 

I have a standard reply and that is;

“Whenever you can”

Well if I was really pressed to give a time and date it would be at 9am on the 25th December.  Two reasons, one, there won’t be another soul on the dam so you will be able to fish wherever you choose.  You can imagine the calamity that will ensue in any household when Dad, Mom, Son or Daughter informs the family that they won’t be available for present opening on Christmas morning. This of course is if you are of the Christian faith.  So, here’s the perfect opportunity for all our other religions to enjoy the dam to themselves. Well for those of us who won’t be on the dam on Christmas morning I hope there are lots of presents under the tree that says “From Dad to Dad, happy Christmas, happy fishing.”  I have one or two…

Dates and Christmas day plans aside, what’s happening on the dam right now in this month of December?

The good news is that there will be no water released for Gauteng, as the rains have filled all the dams.  This has huge implications on the breeding success of the yellows as the eggs need to hatch and the fry need to have sanctuary in the gravel.  If the levels drop too quickly the eggs are often left high and dry and the only benefactors are the Wagtails.

I guided out of Qwantani at the beginning of December and the Boschkloof spruit was dry, no water, not even the slightest trickle.  After the rains, Both Boschkloof and Elizabeth are now flowing.  This is great news for those populations of yellows that rely on those rivers for their annual breeding success. 

I ask people to please take a walk up those rivers when they are in the area, not to fish but to break retaining walls built by poachers to trap fish and to report any illegal fishing that they might see to Mark Roodts at Parksboard. 073 169 7144. 

The other request I have is to please pick up any litter that you see around the dam, and to please NEVER discard tippet material.  I saw a Buff-streaked Chat the other day with a tangle of nylon around its leg.  Fortunately, nylon will degrade and fall off, but fluoro is the bugger, as it doesn’t breakdown.

The fish are concentrated around the traditional spawning areas at this time of the year, so please tread lightly, fish away from the beds and do not approach these areas on foot as you will spook the fish.

My advice is to fish scum lines upwind of the spawning areas.  Once the fish have spawned, they move out and along these feeding zones in search of food.   On the spawning beds you are only going to be catching small males as they don’t move off these areas.  You are also going to be stuffing up the future breeding stock. So stay away.

With the rains, the insect life is proliferating so terrestrials are once again the flavour of the day.  There are plenty of hoppers about and the bronze beetles are flying in their numbers.

I certainly am looking forward to a quiet Christmas on the dam, I’m not going to the coast, now I’ve just got to earn enough Brownie points to be on the dam over the Christmas break.

I wish all our Christian readers a happy Christmas and I wish you all a prosperous new year.