After a few attempts, it finally seems that the weather is into a settling pattern — there has been some light rain, but nothing to mess with the waters of the Midlands. Up top of The ‘Berg however, that means cold and there is a light snow forecast for the Sani top area this weekend … the first and hopefully a sign that we will get a “proper” winter this year with some good snow, Jan from The Kingfisher in Pietermaritzburg reports.
“By all accounts, the rivers are firing at present. Don’t be in too much of a hurry to get to the water early, water temperatures are right down (near single figures) till mid-late morning and the fish are still in “Club Duvet” and couldn’t be less interested!
“As the water warms however, it’s a different story and Game On! Crystal clear waters and fish rising to the dry fly … you can’t ask for better.
“Please note that we are pretty much in spawning time, and if you see a pool with a number of fish swimming about erratically, please avoid it as they undergo their nuptials to provide us with the next generation. Be mindful of these areas and don’t wade through them as these redds — areas of gravel and good flow-through of water (usually towards the tail of a pool) are where a female trout will cut her nest and deposit eggs — she then waits for a male trout to fertilise them, then she covers the eggs with loose gravel, and they both swim away leaving the eggs sheltered, he says.
“Stillwater temperatures are dropping nicely as well — reports are in the mid-to lower teens — perfect for the fish to be feeding up for the coming cold water of winter. As mentioned, you will start finding fish in the shallows as they look for shale/gravel, and the clear waters will provide some exciting sight fishing to cruising fish … Larger flies are still currently on the menu at present : woolly buggers in black and olive, dragon and damselfly patterns – fished in tandem with an attractor (e.g. White Death or “Egg Pattern”) or a nymph (e.g. Zak, GRHE, PTN) will provide the goods …
“As the waters cool, the bass season will start to wind up – no reports from Albert Falls or Midmar at present,” says Jan.
“Ditto for the yellowfish, but there have been some surprising (late!) reports from the lower Bushman’s River, and closer to home, Michael Dickason of the Kingfisher-PMB reported that he got taken to the cleaners by a “proper” scaly on the Umgeni last weekend. Getting late for them to be around however.
“As we now head into the dry winter season, dam levels are the best they have been for a while; Midmar is still at 100%, but the overflow is slowing down, Albert Falls at 55%, Spring Grove 97% (Inchbrakie Falls are inundated at present), Mearns Dam now under FSL at 92%, and Wagondrift Dam on The Bushman’s River still at 100%.” Thanks Jan.
In other freshwater news, the specimen carp season is almost here so it is a good time to stock up on baits and tackle to avoid being left in the lurch. Particle preparations and trace tying are the two most important pre-season activities that you need to be doing. The KZN dams are all fishing well for the specimen and conventional anglers. The fish have been on the smaller side but there have been plenty of fish to make up for the size deficit. Albert Falls has been the pick of the dams for those doing either or both facets.
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Fruity flavours are still producing the bites but as the colder weather comes in, the stronger flavours such as garlic and gumtree will be a better bet as they last longer and the scent spreads further.
Please remember to leave the areas that you fish in a better condition than when you got there. Take a few moments to pick up some litter and take it to the nearest bin.