Flyfishing report: Trout - Kwa-Zulu Natal Midlands

Date of Report: Sunday, 1st May 2022
Name: Andrew Fowler
Phone: 082 574 4262

Last week I fished two stillwaters and measured a water temperature of 14 degrees C at each of them. The water was clear, but both dams greeted us with the sound of rushing water, as did the one I visited in the week prior. I caught close to the edge on one of those trips On another they only took the olive dragonfly nymph in the point position and not the GRHE tied as a dropper. On the last of the three I struggled on all the imitative patterns, but eventually got one on a Woolly Bugger. My mates did better than me on fast retrieved offerings, dry flies, and all the other things which I didn’t think to employ.  This string of three Stillwater visits for an ardent river flyfisher, and when the season is still in full swing, would raise eyebrows, but as you would have seen on your TV, we have had some trouble here in KZN.   The floods were reminiscent of the 1987 deluge, and I said as much in a voice message to a friend of mine on the first day or two. The rain kept falling for a few days more, and I have since seen photos, videos and evidence of the extent to which rivers broke their banks and flowed dirty and dangerous.  After many weeks of more than generous rainfall, in which the rivers were blown out on any chosen day, we then had this severe rainfall on top of it all, and it really was an utter deluge.  But we have to remember that a single weekend of these severe conditions, while it might define the season, it does not dominate the calendar.  In the days leading up to the event, friends were catching good trout on the rivers of the greater Umkhomazi catchment, as well as the Bushmans. Sure, they were using a lot of tungsten, and bemoaning the fact that they couldn’t ply their dry flies, but they were catching fish, even if it meant putting up with some colour in the water. Bridget Stegen got a fine brown from the Chestnuts beat of the uMngeni, and visiting anglers did well on both the Bushmans and the Lotheni after the main floods.

We had a bit of rain last night (apparently there was evidence of a downpour in the catchment of the Hlatikulu), but for the most part it missed us all. That means that we have had a week or so without addition to the flows. Add to that the YR app shows little sun emblems on my screen from now until its prediction runs out. The daytime temps look to hover around the 14° to 18°C degree mark, and evenings are cool. Give it three weeks, and I can guarantee I won’t be sitting out on the porch doing some writing as I am now. That means 3 weeks of river season, and then it is all winter woollies, float tubes and fish with crimson flanks and hooked kypes from our dams.  Three weeks. No more.  I wish the season could stand still. We missed the first part of the season to a killer flood. Winter lies just ahead. This is a the window between. I don’t plan to waste it.

I met a farmer at breakfast time today who said his river is crystal clear. I will be there in the morning with a friend of mine. Another friend couldn’t make it, but he asked if I was open to a mid-week foray.

I didn’t say no.

Neither should you.

Tight lines


A brownie from the upper uMngeni