|Date of Report: Monday, 2nd October 2017|
|Name: Tim Rolston
Phone: 083 626 0467
The start to the season on the streams of the Western Cape has been less than auspicious.
Certainly, there is some good news, a battery of cold fronts has boosted water flows to the point of high but fishable water in the rivers.
However, with those fronts and the accompanying rain, cold and barometric pressure drops, have come some less positive consequences.
The vegetation surrounding the upper sections of the Smalblaar River, was badly damaged by fire in the summer past resulting in a decrease in stability of the mountainsides. This in combination with winter and spring rains have produced a level of discolouration of the water that is virtually never seen on these waters.
In addition the fishing has been for the most part very poor to disastrously poor on many if not all of the rivers and beats. Even the usually stable and productive Elandspad River has produced some dreadfully poor fishing of late with very few fish caught or even seen. A lack of surface activity is frequently the case early season but one still generally expects to be able to “drum up” some fish on the shallower runs or dig down after them with nymphing tactics and meet some modicum of success.
A few of the younger anglers , au fait with modern Euro Nymphing tactics have produced the occasional good day on the Smalblaar according to reports, but the jury is still out as to whether the poor fishing is simply a function of some very unstable weather or something more sinister. Only time and some nice stable weather days will show the true picture.
Of course, there is still the question of the effects of aquaculture activities along the Smalblaar River, and the CPS recently started some detailed studies of both the chemical composition of the water as well as investigations of the insect biodiversity within the system. Such studies can be used to provide a highly sensitive indicator as to on-going pollution issues. An early snap shot of those findings suggest that there is evidence of negative impact on the health of the stream with changes to the biodiversity and population concentrations of various insects and larvae particularly in sections in close proximity to aquaculture operations and their outlets. The CPS is awaiting the results of the chemical samples which have been sent off for independent analysis. Hopefully more on that front shortly.
For now it would seem that anglers are best to watch the weather patterns, try to pick out more stable conditions and give themselves the best opportunity for success until we get a better picture of what is really going on on the rivers. I have personally halted guiding operations until such time as we have clearer picture as the last couple of outings with competent anglers have produced results well below expectations.
The CPS River Festival will take place at the beginning of November and by that time there should have been enough angling days on the water to have a better picture of the state of the fishery.
On a personal note I have recently returned from a “Fly Fishers International” event in Sweden where I am pleased to say I passed my exam as a “Master Casting Instructor”, and am not the first and currently only certified MCI on the African Continent..