FOSAF FLYFISHING REPORTS - Yellowfish - East Free State

Date of Report: Thursday, 15th March 2018
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Name: David Weaver
Phone: 083 303 4230

Tough, tough, tough, but that’s how we like it.  She doesn’t yield her prizes without some serious effort from the angler. Bring you’re A game as anything less is going to result in no fish.  I always relate the story of the five stages of a fisherman’s life when taking out ‘Sterkies virgins’, fly fishers new to Sterkies.

  • Stage 1.  You want to catch a fish
  • Stage 2.  You want to catch lots of fish
  • Stage 3.  You want to catch the biggest fish
  • Stage 4.  You want to catch the biggest fish on the lightest tackle
  • Stage 5.  You just want to go fishing.

I tell my clients that if you are in stage 5 of your fishing career you are going to love a Sterkies outing, but any of the other stages and you might end up being a bit grumpy.  Let’s face it, there are few bodies of water that are as beautiful, harsh, awe inspiring, thrilling… and we can add a number of other expletives to the list, as Sterkies. That said, if I had a week left to fish I would choose Sterkies.

The large termites are starting to fly so this makes it just that little bit tougher.  I believe that the fish gorge themselves on this fantastic food source in the late afternoon and then don’t need to feed again until late the following day. We have been having very slow starts to our days.  You present the perfect fly in the perfect place and the fish don’t even give your offering a second glance.

Weather also plays a huge factor in your catch rate.  Falling barometer, go home and watch the cricket, far more exciting and much quicker (5 days) than trying to entice a yellow to accept your offering.  “Suns out-guns out” is my new motto, they certainly are fair weather fish.

There are still good numbers of fish in and around the quarry area, stay off the spawning beds, as there are along the East bank from the Shortwall to Bird Island.  The two feeder streams at Elizabeth and Boschkloof are flowing so most of the fish that were on tap in these areas have moved up the rivers.  North Point and Three Anchor Bay are doing their usual late season flourish and good fishing can be expected in the areas surrounding these two landmarks.

The fish seem to be “beetled-out” this late in the season so we are resorting to Balbyters (an ant pattern), hoppers and termites.  We have also been going to the ‘Dark side’ and a few nymph patterns have found themselves attached to the tips of our cast.  Here the stock-usuals, like Orange Hotspots, Flashbacks, Zaks and PTN’s have all been working.  Don’t neglect the old favourites, in the Caddis corner, as there are goodly numbers of Caddis alates taking place.

The water is still in the low twenties, so it should remain good fishing for a while.  Sterkies remains an epic destination to all you Stage Fivers out there. 

In Stage 6 you take other people fishing and share in their frustrations.


Photo courtesy of Carl Nicholson