Flyfishing report: Trout - Kwa-Zulu Natal Midlands

Date of Report: Wednesday, 22nd November 2023
Name: Andrew Fowler
Phone: 082 574 4262

Bam, and suddenly its summer. Fiercely hot. Wild storms, and where on earth can I fish without getting roasted, washed away, or torched by lightning. I know….its my job to answer that…but I am struggling!

You see a friend told me the Bushman’s was perilously low a few weeks back, and I didn’t pick up on his comment and went there anyway, and found it…..perfect.   Saturday night, after a hot day, a few storms bumbled around half-heartedly and we got no rain down here. Sunday morning, I crossed the very upper uMngeni and it was getting a bit low.  A few hundred meters away I crossed the Poort (a significant tributary) and it was roaring.

Last Monday I was shivering on the river in a rain jacket with a down fleece under it, fishing in the drizzle in clean water. Yesterday I drove past that beat, and it was the colour of …hell …I don’t know…something Moroccan. Maybe a butter chicken with too much paprika in it. Not exactly something that inspires visions of wild brown Trout is it!

What I will say is that the water is suddenly perilously warm.  I shook my thermometer several times yesterday because it was lying like a cheap watch. I mean it wasn’t 24 degrees at 1600 metres altitude was it? Surely not!

The change of season from a spring which delivered a jumble of hot AND cool days suddenly seems behind us. So I can regale you with tales of the 8 pound stillwater  brown I saw last week on someone’s phone screen, or the 15 incher I got under the poplars, or the 18 incher that took a P.O.S. Beetle just 8 days back, but somehow it seems irrelevant now.

A few bullets points though:

  • I think throwing Taddy Buggers under the banks to tempt “post spawning lunkers” is wearing a bit thin now. It’s time for a dry fly and a dense nymph behind it.
  • White tumbling pocket water in the berg is starting to feel appealing.
  • I can’t sit out on a stillwater in a tube, boat or canoe in these hot, flat conditions. Maybe I could do two hours at dawn, but that is about all.
  • Beetles until Christmas, then hoppers. Try it.
  • When your backing is all gone and you can start seeing the centre spindle of your reel, start running. (just saying)
  • The Kamberg road and the Mooi River road up to the Bushmans are both sterling examples of how not to maintain a road. I’ve been trying all year to decide which is worse. I give up.
  • I wonder what the water temperature is on the Bushmans at Bhungane beat?
  • Did you know that “Bhungane” is the isiZulu word for a beetle.
  • While on the topic of beetles…I really must show you the P.O.S. Beetle.
  • Don’t overdo the paprika

Like I said: I’m struggling.


Krantz pool on the Mooi