|Date of Report: Sunday, 4th June 2017|
|Name: Andrew Fowler
Phone: 082 574 4262
Our month kicked off with a monumental event for fly fishers here in KZN, namely the NFFC Gala Dinner and auction. The event was a great success, attended by some 200 people for a sit down meal, speeches and auction. Not only was a lot of money raised, but it was an evening of great camaraderie .
Of the R230,000 raised, R60,000 has been donated to FOSAF, and the balance will be used in our ongoing river clearing on the Mooi, Umgeni and elsewhere.
On the fishing front, and firstly the rivers:
Graeme Steart presented a wrap-up of the season on the Mooi at the local pub evening near the end of May, and the statistics he presented were interesting. The river season started slow. By January the flows were up and a few of us were catching brilliant fish. It was written about in various circles, but there was zero response in the number of fishermen using the rivers.
Then in late February, some guys posted pictures on Facebook, and WHAM…people took notice and started booking the beats. In the first 6 months of the season, by way of example, Reekie Lyn on the Mooi saw 20 rod days. In the last 3 months it saw 27 rod days.
This proves 3 things to me:
Graeme’s stats also showed that the average size fish on the Mooi is squarely 12 inches, wherever you go; that very few tiny fish were caught this season (that is unusual); and that the largest fish was a whopping 22 inches! The number of 17 to 19 inch fish caught, right up until 30th May, was way above average. What a season!
During May we had surprisingly good rains (2 inches in many places). I don’t know if this influenced things, but it seems to me that although it got cold, the river fish kept coming right until the end. Just on the last day of the season a fisherman on the Mooi caught five fish (11 to 15 inches!)
Either way, I reckon the good late rains auger well for spawning. “Calling water” as it is called in hatchery parlance….good strong flows as the water cools: It is inclined to trigger spawning. And if I am right, we will return to normal rivers full of smaller fish within 2 years. Lest see if my prediction is correct.
Of course the Bushmans had a blisteringly good season too, and just last week fish of between 15 and 17 inches were caught on the Umgeni at Brigadoon.
On to the stillwaters, because dissecting a season passed is surely less meaty than knowing what to expect in the coming months:
The dams appear to be fishing well. The Kamberg Trout Festival is on as I write this, and by next month we should know how they went. I am particularly interested to see how many BIG fish come out, because many waters have been reporting only recently stocked fish, and no, or few, really big ones.
Having said that, one dam of the NFFC’s Kamberg in particular is producing enough 5 pound fish to keep me interested, as is one of the club’s Boston waters.
A recent trip with my friend Neil to a Stillwater in the Dargle brought home a few pointers to me that might be useful in the Midlands this winter:
Remember, in the clear stillwaters, stay low, move and retrieve slow, and keep imagining what your fly is doing, and where it is throughout the retrieve….That alone should bag you some trout.