|Date of Report: Tuesday, 3rd December 2019|
|Name: Andrew Fowler
Phone: 082 574 4262
It’s not going well I’m afraid. I always seem to write with unjustified enthusiasm about spring rains, and perhaps I jinx it, because another dismal spring has unfolded here in the KZN Mildlands. Rain wise that is. The rivers are really low. Air temperatures have been abominable, so waters temps are up too. It’s not great.
Surprising the trout fishing, if we were to measure it in terms of number and size of fish, has not been half bad. Somehow guys have eked out days and half-days between scorching hot sun and dry winds , and have been on the stillwaters, and their results have been rather good. All the chatter I have heard is about how low the dams are and how they are choked with weed, but then you get the pictures of great big rainbows. They are mostly pictured against the backdrop of bare clay banks of course, but there have been a lot of good fish. On NFFC waters there have been a lot of 3 to 4 pound fish, and some going towards 6 pounds.
Having said that, we got a water temperature reading of 23 degrees C this week. But here’s a thing. When stocking a few weeks back, the guys found similar temperatures on the downwind side of the lake, where the warm surface water was being blown, and when they went upwind, to the other side, they found the water was just 16 degrees. That was a lesson for me. So check it out if you find yourself on a warm dam.
And if you do find yourself at such a warm, weed infested dam, I want to suggest some strong string. 3X perhaps. Because with weed and warm water, you need to be sure you can horse a fish in to give it a chance of success when you release it.
As for the rivers….we are having to wait. Of course there is water, and stretches like the lower Bushmans are worth a throw, but they just aren’t their sparkly tumbling selves, and if the truth be told, have stayed away. By that I mean that I have not fished a stream yet this season! Yes. I am feeling deprived. Very deprived. But all the rain has been at the coast, and up in the berg people have had very little. Here’s an example: a farmer in Underberg reported this morning that he has had 14mm since April. I would call that horrific! Kamberg and the Bushmans and Umgeni have been better, for sure, but it’s not good.
Last month’s pub evening saw a talk by our “women in waders” who had a trip to Lesotho recently. It was a fun evening, as these always are, but goodness they encountered dry conditions there too!
As I write, the storm clouds are rolling in. We live in hope. Hope for us fishermen, but for our farmers, and their livestock and the game as well of course.
Ian Cox on the Bushmans in a year with good rainfall