FOSAF FLYFISHING REPORTS - Yellowfish - East Free State

Date of Report: Monday, 27th January 2020
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Name: David Weaver
Email: eff@ohs.dorea.co.za
Phone: 083 303 4230

The fish have started with their second spawn of the season.  This is always a time of great concern for me as I see fishermen congregating on the spawning beds.  This is a critical time for the fish and the future of this fishery as a successful spawn ensures a good stocking of fish for years to come. 

Rules of the spawning season:

  1. Do not walk the banks where the fish are spawning as this disrupts the process and the fish abandon the spawn.
  2. Stay away from the gravel beaches as this is where the eggs have been deposited and walking on these areas causes a disruption and destruction of the eggs.
  3. Don’t handle the large females with distended bellies as this will often cause them to drop their unfertilized eggs.

The weather over the last while as been very unstable, making the fishing conditions very tough.  We had extreme winds over this last weekend which limits the number of areas where one can fish.  Please respect other fisherman’s beats and if there is already a group at a particular spot, move on and find another area.  Sterkfontein Dam has a 105km shoreline, there is plenty of space.   There is nothing so frustrating as when you have just got into position and the fish are starting to move again, and someone walks over the crest of the hill behind you, spooking all the fish again. 

If you are drift fishing, it is fine to start your drift upwind of another boat but whatever you do don’t start drifting downwind of them, as invariably they are headed in that direction.  The general rule is “go find your own drift”.

The Good dr’s Beetles are still working, but one can see that the fish are starting to get “Beetled out”.  If you are having too many refusals on the beetle then try some of the other patterns.  We had good success with caddis patterns and hoppers took a few fish.

The Balbyter Ant pattern still accounts for a good many takes and any green nymph fished slow and even static under a buoyant foam fly also had good success.

There are thousands upon thousands of Brown-veined White (Belenois aurota) butterflies migrating over the dam at the moment and I have seen fish take them off the surface so if you have a few white butterfly patterns bring them along, might battle to cast them though.  Maybe a dapping rod would work?

It remains a magnificent fishery.  My advice is always to forget about numbers and just look up and take in your surroundings.  Enjoy the privilege of being able to fish in such a paradisiacal setting and forget about getting photos for your Facebook page of you holding huge fish.  Because if you spend your time on Sterkies chasing fish you will miss out on the essence that is Sterkies.  It is a difficult fishery, and she doesn’t yield her bounty without many hours of patient casting.

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Yellows on the gravel beds