|Date of Report: Monday, 11th February 2019|
|Name: Andrew Fowler
Phone: 082 574 4262
Decent summer rains have finally arrived here in the KZN midlands. Until now, our summer rain has been patchy, and generally low, and in some places very low. Being an eternal optimist, I think I went through the latter part of spring and into summer, in denial that we were in a green drought, but we most certainly were.
I am awaiting news on many of the dams towards the lower end of the Kamberg Valley that were really low and warm in January, but I suspect they are filling as of this week. The rivers certainly are looking better. The Umgeni was in spate last week, as was the Mlambonjwa at Cathedral Peak, and the Mooi was chocolate brown too. Now that doesn’t auger well for a days fishing, but for the good of the season, its all very healthy. And as far as the day’s fishing goes, there have been windows of opportunity between storm events. I spoke to Gary Glen-Young, who got in some good fishing on the upper Mooi this last week-end, and just yesterday a number of us had pleasant fishing on the Bushmans. It was flowing strongly, and you had to watch your footing when wading. It has been a while since that was the case!
My friend Tony and I took a drive up to the bridge on the Ncibidwana to have a look, and although a little off colour, it was looking great.
With the NFFC having closed many of its dams, it has pushed members to try the rivers, and I think they have been pleasantly surprised. I suspect a few people who previously limited themselves to Stillwater, are enjoying new horizons now.
Some dams that were left open, were the ones on a timber estate up near Giants Castle. Being a bit further out, the club reckoned fewer people would make the drive up there, and so the pressure of failed trout releases in warm water would be felt less in terms of overall fish population in the dams. That seems to make sense. I can tell you that the handful of members who have made the trip have done quite well. With all this cooling rain around, I suspect the club’s waters committee will start opening some more waters in coming weeks.
In the rivers of course, yesterday’s hot water is quickly swept away to the sea, and todays cold mountain storm water is in the river. River temps are therefore quicker to change, and generally low temp relief is fairly frequent, provided you are getting some rain, which we now are. Anton Smith and I were on the upper Mooi in early Feb, and we measured 16 degrees C. A week later I was on the Nzinga, and we measured 18 degrees. Those are good cool temperatures for mid summer!
With the rivers now running strong, the chances are that in all but the slow pools, you won’t be using a dry fly. The current is simply too strong to warrant a trip by a trout, up through the strong water to the surface. Of course, there are slow spots and eddies where this does not hold true, and you will get fish on dries, but for the rest of it, expect to be nymphing. The standard thing now is a sleek, slim nymph with little air-trapping fluff, and lots of tungsten. You want this thing bouncing along the bottom of the stream, so go for something on a jig hook if you can, and put it a long way below your indicator so that it is not suspended in mid water. Deliver it with a tuck cast, to a spot just a few yards ahead of you, and repeat numerous times. There are plenty of trout in our streams at the moment, and if you follow this in broken water, you will be getting fish.
A berg stream in strong flow. You need tungsten here!