Flyfishing report: Yellowfish - East Free State

Date of Report: Tuesday, 14th November 2023
Name: David Weaver
Phone: 083 303 4230

Sterkfontein Dam is currently a patchwork of pockets of warm water.  Find these pockets and you will find fish, but you won’t be able to catch them….

I spent Saturday scouting the dam looking for fish, in preparation for the arrival of my first clients.  The open water is at 16° with some sections as cold as 15°.  And then I found areas where the water was as high as 19°C.  What I did find interesting was that although there were fish in the warm water areas, they were not feeding and seem to be just drifting around in a semi-comatose state.  The only fish that we managed to interest in a fly were in the colder water away from the warm-water-resting areas.

The head of every bay that we went into, held small shoals of fish, and the only mass sign of large groups of fish was up towards Driekloof.  The water at the top end (southern section) of the dam is generally warmer than down at the wall area, so this is where the first spawning is likely to be, and where you should concentrate your early season fishing.

The Carp are spawning, and the Yellows were actively feeding on Carp eggs, so think Orange Hotspot PTN’s and other egg-type patterns.  There are large swarms of Mayflies in the afternoons and the Caddis are active throughout the day.  There are good numbers of Predacious Diving Beetles around and the current crop of Hoppers are brown in sizes 8-12.  The Sprite (Damselflies) are starting to show but I have seen very few Dragons, which means that all those juicy nymphs are getting ready to emerge.  The Copper Christmas Beetles are around in small numbers but till now, I have seen very few larger Chafers, in black and yellow.  No sign of the Maize Beetles and I have yet to see any Ant hatches or Termite alates.

So, if you are that way inclined, stick to nymphing, I personally would rather catch nothing on a dry fly than go to the Dark-side.

Below are some images from a recent trip.