|Date of Report: Friday, 1st December 2017|
|Name: Andrew Fowler
Phone: 082 574 4262
Midlands trout lake
Touch wood…it is turning into a wet season. We have had some hot days, as one can expect for any summer, but we have also had enough cool drizzly or downright rainy days that have helped keep the water temperatures down. The “pondlife” seems to have appreciated all the water, flooded margins, and moderate water temperatures. On two different lakes, in the last month I have witnessed dense populations of minnows right up in the grass and weeds, and trout patrolling in the adjacent margin water , where occasional bulges indicate a “kill” as they hit an errant minnow, or perhaps a tadpole. Likewise on another lake I fish, when the wind dies you can hear the incessant buzzing of….well, of buzzers…which I guess is how they got this name. There are simply millions of them hovering around in the cattails, and that gives a great big clue on fly choice at this time of the year.
Two NFFC members recently got 16 fish of 9 to 19 inches, between them on a club dam in the Kamberg. Other returns for the same dam in November showed, 1 fish, 3 fish, and a blank. It just goes to show that it is about being at the right place at the right time. And being in many places, many times surely increases the chance of you being the “lucky one”. The last month has been one in which the “YR” app on your phone changes its mind about whether it is going to rain, a great deal. I expect this will continue into December. If you take it too seriously, you will cancel a lot of fishing, and you won’t be putting yourself in the way of good luck. Writing in 1924, JW Hills had this to say in connection with flyfishing: “Not many days are bad all through. The worst usually have a period of betterment. Consequently you should never let weather keep you indoors.” With Christmas holiday fishing opportunities approaching, this is a sage piece of advice to tuck under your fishing hat.
A recent survey of the Lions River saw 40 fishermen fish the river over several hours. This was just last week. I don’t know much about this study or about the methods they used, but I did see a result. Get this: 900 smallmouth bass (all killed), 105 yellowfish and 120 trout. OK, so who has fished the Lions recently? Hands up? Anyone?
I didn’t think so. None of us, myself included, are adventurous enough!
There are streams, and sections of streams in this area of ours that no-one, and I really do mean no-one, ever fishes. At the same time the NFFC regularly has to place a weekly cap on various stretches of river, to prevent them being over-fished. News gets out that good catches are being made on a stretch, and the sound of bleating rings in the valleys of the midlands, if you know what I mean. There was a case this month where such a cap had to be placed on a stretch, while the piece 2kms downstream went completely un-booked.
With this in mind, I have decided not to tell you where the great big browns are being caught at the moment. What I can tell you is that great big Browns of up to 50cms ARE being caught. I can give you one really hot tip though: ALL OF THEM, are being caught on water that fishermen have gone out and given a try. I suspect most readers won’t realize what an incredibly hot tip this is.
My other hot tip, and I can’t decide if it is more or less useful, is to go deep. Much as we all love to fish the dry, when rivers are up and flowing strongly, the best spots are often down there in the depths in some slightly milky water, below the white bubbles, and no fish will swim up through that to take a dry. So my advice is to go with a small, tungsten laden and slim profile fly that you are able to cast on “current- cuttingly-light” tippet. The other alternative is to do the whole euro nymphing thing if you are into that…in fact I guess it would be true to say that current stream conditions are such that you WILL catch more fish that way, which is not always the case here in the KZN midlands.
Heavy flow in the Umgeni