FOSAF FLYFISHING REPORTS - Trout - Western Cape

Date of Report: Tuesday, 30th January 2018
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Name: Tim Rolston
Email: rolston@iafrica.com
Phone: 083 626 0467

The talk of the town down here in Cape Town is water, grey water, save water, day zero and no water, but there is still flow in the streams, perhaps a little lower than usual but not excessively so for this time of the year. The bigger issue of late has been the heat, it has been as hot as Hades out there and this past week the temperatures topped 40°C up in the Elandspad Valley. Too hot for quality fishing and certainly too hot for a reasonably pleasant or even safe egress from the upper beats.
That the clear low water allows one to see the fish is a plus, that they are languishing for the most part in the pools and not feeding that much however limits things on the angling front. Not that one cannot catch the odd fish and it can be both demanding and exciting for precisely that reason, the fishing, one would have to say, is in general, poor.

It becomes all the more apparent that, even when casting to visibly feeding fish, presentation is about as close to impossible as you are likely to experience. The 7 or 8X tippet throws a shadow on the bottom like an anchor rope and the only moderately promising options are to find a trout in water that is moving. At least then the fish remain facing upstream and are more easily approached, and the riffle, such as it is, hides a some of the disturbance of presentation. Even then you are unlikely to have more than a cast or two before the game is ended, either by success or the spooking of the fish. Spooking fish has become the norm of late, they are hot, exposed and skittish, as twitchy as the proverbial can toasting on a tin roof.

The lower beats really cannot be worth fishing and even were one successful the chances of damaging or killing fish far too high to warrant selfish indulgence, in short one is likely to do more harm than good out there, both to you yourself and the fish. Did I mention it had been HOT!!

Perhaps now really is the time to target another species, hit the salt perhaps or go after some carp or bass. An alternative would be to explore the Holsloot again. A tailwater fishery which hasn’t produced the goods for some time, since damage from a massive flood years back from which the stream is still yet to fully recover. However, the water temperatures remain cooler than the other streams and where this used to be our back-stop water for the height of summer and indeed one that offered fishing in early and late season when the other waters were blown out by floods it may be the time to test the waters again. Chances are that you will find some fish at least and that they are likely to be a little more active in the cooler flows. One never knows, perhaps the populations are now beginning to rebuild, and if you are desperate to wet a line for trout this could be a good bet. At least one might find out what really is the situation and you don’t have a great deal of choice anyway so the day isn’t likely to be entirely wasted even if you don’t “slaughter them”.

The height of summer has rarely been the best of times to be on the water in these parts and with the drought conditions and high temperatures things are perhaps even a little less productive than normal. At least the streams are yet to reach the point of zero flows and dry river beds, and the trout are managing to survive, at least in the upper sections. Right now, though I would tend towards thinking of other waters to fish or other things to do. I would say, take the day to mow the lawn, but then the lawn is little more than crisp brown stalks and showing no sign of needing to be trimmed. I shall be heading down to Witsands in the near future, to lose a few more hairs in the pursuit of grunter, a species that has still managed to elude me. It is likely that will prove to be a frustrating experience, it usually is, but at least it will offer the chance to cast a line at something other than paranoid and half-baked trout.

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Holsloot River