|Date of Report: Thursday, 29th October 2020|
|Name: Andrew Fowler
Phone: 082 574 4262
The midlands has had what I suppose is a typical spring. That means lots of drizzle and cloud, interspersed with some dry sunny days, the temperature of which have increased steeply as we enter high summer. The net effect is lots of green grass, and enough water to germinate crops, or at least give farmers the confidence to plant things, but little runoff for the rivers.
I say that, but in a foray last week to the south of me, and crossing the Trout rivers that flow in the greater Umkhomazi basin, we ran into a storm. I suppose perhaps more the fringes of a storm, which broke I am told, more over Underberg than anywhere else, and I imagine our correspondent from the “land of NUD” (as I call it) will be writing about that soon. The rivers we crossed were still low, but by no means unfishable, and at the last one we crossed, there were horrible brown plumes of water entering the river from the road drains. Yesterday, on a high tributary of the uMngeni I witnessed trickles of water flowing through the forest into the streams, in runnels that were dry when I was there the week before.
In the last week there has been a lot of thunder, and a lot of humidity, and while it is nearing 30 degrees today, I see rainfall in excess of 20mm forecast for the week-end. I think you could say that summer has arrived.
As far as catches go, I have to be honest and declare that I have seen catch returns for an inordinate number of blank days on our stillwaters. Some on the rivers too, but more river returns showing a few fish, and a comment saying “wow, it’s a bit thin, think I will give it a break until we have had some rain”, or words to that effect.
And then on the stillwaters, the odd stonker gets caught that somehow wipes all memory of those blank returns, and has you champing at the bit to get out. Lyndall Blaikie got a whopper from an NFFC dam, and a farmer in the Kamberg reported a 3.8 Kg fish from his dam last week. (I looked it up for you old timers…that is 8 pounds, 6 ounces…which makes a lot more sense to me too).
Some of the dams are low from all the irrigating that is going on, and one or two big fish pictures show ugly mud banks in the background, so I guess the lesson from that is to ignore the compromised aesthetics of it all for a while and just focus on the fish. I suppose you could say that this holds true of the rivers as well. With aesthetics being as important as the fish in my book, I have been holed up at home, or out doing some work, and my fishing has taken a knock while I await those proper rains. As a result, I am a poor source of info for suggestions on flies and the like but, at the risk of being repetitive, I can say that you should fish something buggy and stay out of sight. If you can, arrange your itinerary to sit by the pool with a cold beer on the hot days and fish on the cloudy ones.
With a week-end of rain forecast, I fully intend to sit out in my canoe on a stillwater with cold rainwater running down the back of my neck, just enjoying the reprieve from the heat, and maybe landing a trout or two. I will probably throw damsels, minnows, snails and corixae patterns, on a long leader and a floating line.
Hopefully thereafter the runoff will be in the rivers, and I will be out there with a dry fly quicker than you can say “puff adder”.
Brown from a Midlands river