|Date of Report: Tuesday, 6th April 2021|
|Name: Andrew Fowler
Phone: 082 574 4262
Some ten days back, we had a cold front follow some particularly hot weather, and we all just knew that it would be the thing that signaled the turn of the seasons. We weren’t wrong. The NFFC opened its dams on a day when the water was no doubt still 22 degrees C at the surface, but within 3 days it was getting cooler, and now, less than two weeks later we are in the “sweet spot” of the season. By that I mean that both the stillwaters and the streams are open, and it is difficult to decide which you should be visiting.
I fished a Stillwater the other day for the first time since December, and I wasn’t disappointed. There was an enormous ant hatch and the Trout were going crazy. Catching them was an entirely different matter, but the less said about that the better. As far as other anglers have gone: I have seen a bunch of stillwater catch returns for the days that followed the opening of the club waters. They reflect a lot of small fish…..often the Sept/Oct stockies. It remains to be seen when the better size fish will start to make an appearance. They surely will!
I measured 19 degrees C at the surface of a high altitude lake just this week, and that was at 2 pm, so conditions certainly have improved from a temperature perspective.
Interestingly I measured just 15 degrees C on the upper Mooi a week back. On that particular day we had just come off an evening of wild storms and the rivers were all gushing and off colour again, so we had gone upstream for cleaner water, which is something you should always try in preference to going home. We found cleaner water, and we found trout too. What was pleasing was that they were “looking up”, and we did well on dries all afternoon.
A week prior I had been up at Giants Castle on business, and I stopped off at the parking lots to see if anyone was fishing. There were two vehicles that day, and the poor blokes had a slightly off colour and very big river to contend with. Chatting to them later, other problems emerged, like car guards arranged, but who didn’t pitch. That, and missing signs are amongst the problems that the NFFC does struggle with on the Bushmans River Community project, but the club soldiers on and continues to try and embrace and support the community in their project.
The other problem in question was fishing pressure. It seems that the Bushmans and the Mooi have become very popular with large groups of anglers visiting from out of town, and the one fisherman on the Bushmans that day said later that they had been met by trampled paths, and double bookings on various stretches of water in these two catchments. Balancing the healthy utilisation of our Trout streams with their popularity is a fine art. Here in KZN many of us want our streams fished so that they don’t disappear into obscurity, but at the same time we abhor crowds and trampled banks. The solution probably lies in long beats and limits on numbers of anglers, but this is likely only possible on closely held private water or well controlled club beats.
The coming weeks are likely to present perfect weather, as our wet summer presumably comes to a close. Flows in the streams should be dropping and dirty water should be a relative rarity in the next month. The dams are all overflowing and it is getting cooler. Add to that the veld is browning, the trees are getting their autumn colours, and it is simply a beautiful time to be out on some Trout water. I encourage you to come and enjoy it all with us……..in groups of two please.
The Mooi in spate