Herewith the news for this month:
Proposed coal mine inside the Mabola Protected Environment
We have covered this subject in previous newsletters. The Mabola PE is situated in a high rainfall area and wetland rich-grassland highland in the Volksrust/Wakkerstroom/Piet Retief triangle. As such it is a major water source for three major rivers- the Vaal, Phongola and Tugela. A coalition of eight civil society and community organisations are challenging this decision and the matter will eventually end up in court. The DEA which were party to this decision placed a statement on its website to try and justify its position and the Minister herself also issued a statement in a similar vein in a recent issue of the Sunday Times.
As a result the coalition responded on 07/03/2017 with a joint media release which you can read if you click here .
The annual SASAqS conference is at the Birchwood Hotel, ORT Airport during the weekend of 23 to 25 June and is followed by the World Aquaculture Conference will be held in Cape Town from June 26 to 30, 2017. More information regarding the latter at the website – www.was.org.
Sterkfontein Dam: David Weaver tells us that since water was released to feed Vaal Dam it is back to about 82% full and looking beautiful again. With winter approaching the season is coming to an end but fishing during the last summer has been pretty tough with low water for much of the period and increased fishing pressure.
Northern KZN/SE Mpumalanga: Unlike the scaly rivers further south the small scale and large scale yellowfishing in the Phongola and Assegai comes into its own in late autumn/winter. Although flows are quite good at the moment the levels could drop quickly if there is no further rain.
Southern KZN: Karl Adensgaard reports that the Umkomaas was clearing nicely and then a storm at the headwaters turned the water murky again. With no further rain in the catchment it should be fine for fishing again within a week but with a strong flow. March/April are considered prime months.
Middle Vaal: Ian Couryer reports that the release of water from Vaal Dam is down to 16 cumecs which is the normal flow but as this is very muddy still the Vaal below the Barrage will need another 3 weeks to clear. From then on with no further storms conditions should be perfect from Easter through to Mid-May in fast water. Often there are good hatches of blue wing olives and some caddis. From mid-May the largemouth season commences.
Lower Vaal/Orange/Riet. The Orange below VDK is clearing nicely with a reasonable flow and good fishing conditions. The Riet is also fishing well but is challenging as it is very clear with low flow. The Vaal at Barkly West is back to normal flow but is discoloured with green scum.
Eastern Cape: It is generally known that there is good angling in the Kraai system in the NE Cape especially in summer when smallmouth migrate upstream into the trout sections while downstream from Barkly East you have a good chance of taking largemouth yellows.
What many do not know is there is plenty of potential for smallmouth yellows in the rivers flowing into the Indian Ocean. Apparently, the fishing was good in all these rivers such as the Great Kei, Kubusie, Thomas River, and Klipplaat and Waterdown Dam in early summer up to late November when the rains arrived and discoloured the water.
Western Cape: The Olifants system has been hard hit by the drought but the Cape Piscatorial Society organises trips to the Calitzdorp Dam for smallmouth fishing in its clear waters and elsewhere in the Gourits system fishing can be good in the warmer months when the water is clear. Smallmouth yellows are actually extra-limital having been introduced by Nature Conservation in the seventies.
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