FOSAF FLYFISHING REPORTS - Trout - East Free State & Lesotho

Date of Report: Sunday, 18th February 2018
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Name: Andre Burger
Phone: 083 632 8729

Since mid -January the Midlands has been blessed with good rains, which, while patchy at times, have now reached pretty much everywhere. Unfortunately, but predictably, the heat has been as stifling as it always is at this time of year.

 So dams have gone from hot weedy and low, to full overflowing, sometimes a bit off colour, but still warm.  The streams are on average just a degree or two cooler, but of course with the benefit of oxygenation, they are the place to go.

Many of the private syndicates have closed off fishing for January and February, a trend which seems to be emerging as a wise management strategy for Trout in this warm country of ours.  The NFFC has closed more popular stillwaters, and put more restrictive weekly limits on the rest of their dams, and plans to keep it that way until the end of February, if not a week or two longer.  All their river beats remain open however.

As a result, I have seen just a scattering of reports from the stillwaters. The reports from the rivers are also just as likely to come in with a comment of “cancelled, river in spate”.  So, it is lean times for Trout in the midlands. Having said that, the tenacious who have braved the summer storms and heat have caught some fish. Dams that have recently filled have in fact produced days where the Rainbows in particular can be quite excitable. There is however consensus that when a summer day seems to be turning into a red-letter one, it is best to give it up and go home, because there is little doubt that the majority of fish returned in warm water turn belly-up.

 Guys who have fished the rivers have asked me for advice, and I have told them all the same things:  a heavy nymph on 4X tippet. Get it deep down below the strong flow, and into that cushion zone on the bottom. And if it is off-colour:  don’t be shy to use a big wooly bugger, again, with lots of weight.

 So, for now most of us are in the pool, or tying flies, for what we hope will be a stunning autumn.


A Bushman’s brownie