|Date of Report: Tuesday, 9th May 2017|
|Name: Tim Rolston
Phone: 083 626 0467
Well despite that the Western Cape is still firmly in the grip of a devastating drought with water levels in the municipal dams down to approximately 20% (with less than half of that actually usable) there is some hope of changes afoot. The weather has finally started to slip into autumnal if not winter mode. The morning temperatures have just started to drop enough to put a nip in the air and to have wading anglers questioning the wisdom of an inadvertent swim. Not chilly enough , as of yet, to get the glow plug warning light to turn on when starting the truck but certainly showing signs that such may not be too far in the future.
Equally then, despite the low water levels the rivers are still flowing and the fish are beginning to show a little more as the cooler weather suits them better than the dog days of what was an incredibly warm summer.
Many of the fish are still congregated in the pools, having dropped back out of the shallows where perhaps they have been feeling more than a little vulnerable, but feeding fish, even in the shallower runs are becoming a tad more common now that things have cooled down.
That said, the fishing is still tough, actually call that very tough. At the end of a long season and having been targeted by social anglers for almost nine months and then hammered by some of our best anglers in the recent National Fly Fishing Championships, the trout are about as skittish as they are ever going to get. Fish spook at the slightest error, an injudicious footfall, the flash of a rod, the shadow of a leader or a splashy cast and it is game over.
Right now many of the sighted fish will afford you one single cast, get it right and you are in with a shot, make a mistake and it is time to head upstream in search of a new quarry.
There have been some egg laying mayflies on several of the streams over the past week, tricky to imitate as the trout jump clear of the water after the bugs and a fly floating on the surface tends not to fool them. Occasionally a skated dry fly, fully hackled and able to lightly crease the surface can trick a fish.
Thundershowers a week or two back produced a memorable fall of small flying ants/termites and saw the fish go mad for an hour or two before activity ceased, one imagines based on the activity levels, simply because they became too full to keep eating. A literal windfall for both the fish and the anglers fortunate enough or brave enough to be out on the water in the midst of the storm.
Another ray of light is that the very small amounts of rain we have enjoyed so far over the past month has provided a start for the plant life to regenerate where the streamsides have been devastated by fire. What was only blackened ash and burned tree stumps is showing significant signs of regeneration and thankfully this before any major storms hit. So perhaps at least when the rains come, and we are all fervently praying that they do, the slopes should be stable enough to avoid serious landslip into the stream bed.
At this time of year we generally start to look towards Stillwater angling, which in these parts primarily means “Lakenvlei”. Of late the dam hasn’t been fishing well and it was pretty much the “dam of death” for the National championships where a single fish or a blank often made the difference between racing up the leader board or dropping down into oblivion. Perhaps with the cooler temperatures the fishing at this location will start to improve again, it never has been a particularly good summer haunt, despite the scenic beauty and tranquillity of the place.
We have a little more than two weeks of fishing left for this season on the streams, a small window of opportunity where if some rain comes and the temperatures remain low one may get in a couple of red letter days before it is all over. The season for the streams closes on the last day of May and then we will be in for a three month wait before they reopen in September (Weather permitting).
Releasing a good Smalblaar rainbow