Flyfishing report: Yellowfish - East Free State

Date of Report: Tuesday, 13th February 2024
Name: David Weaver
Phone: 083 303 4230

Fishing on Sterkfontein in February is a bit like the Knysna Lagoon over Christmas and New Year.  There’s a boat in every bay and a fisherman on every bank.  There are very few secrets left on Sterkies and at this time of the year, the fish are concentrated in very limited areas.  Hence you always feel crowded out. When you do find fish, they are so “beetled-out” and harassed that they don’t even look at your perfectly placed, size 14 Balbyter tied on 7x tippet.  Move off your drift for a snack and boats move in on your spot.   Just recently my clients remained resolute and refused to stop for breakfast, preferring to hold our drift and maximise our catching opportunities.  They became light-headed at about 12h30, so we had to eat. 

Anybody coming down at this time of the year, expect it to be hard.  The fishing will be great, the catching, super challenging but the scenic splendour and the honour of casting a fly over crystal clear water at cruising fish, will make it all worthwhile.  Oh, and pack easy to grab snacks, so you don’t have to Beach for Breakfast.

As you might have picked up from my opening paragraph, I can’t really recommend what flies are working.  The last two weekends, I have seen very little insect activity on the water, but always be prepared for ants.   Balbyters and small termites.  The larger Termite alates only happen in late March.  In the last two weeks, I saw soooo many refusals on the Purple Beetle, it was like having a kooksister stall at an EFF rally. 

Best spots are anywhere you can.  As I said, the fish are on the spawning beds so that’s where the crowds are, we are seeing very few cruising fish away from these areas. 

The fish come on the prod very late in the day, so as The Good Dr says: “they are Gentlemen fish that like to sleep in.” “ensuring that the whiskey hangover is cleared before taking on the day!”

And Finally: “Ignore the Forecast”. Doom and gloom predictions on Windguru, Windy, YR often turn out to be beautiful days.  Prepare for the worst and enjoy the best…Stillwater, dry-fly, sight-fishing on our planet.

See you on the water, and I wish you perfect loops and purposefully porpoising pisces.


Photo courtesy of Mike Newby.