Says Jan, fly fishing guide and WildFly assistant, Nottingham Road:
Here's my report from the opening day spent on the Bushman’s River in Giant’s Castle on Thursday last week, and a follow up, fishing the Mooi River up at Game Pass on Saturday.
I don’t think there is a greater anticipation in fly fishing than a seasonal Opening Day – in this case, the 1 September opening of the river and stream season and the hunt for wild spawned brown trout here in the KZN Midlands.
Trevor Sithole wrapping Para-RABs
Click in images to enlarge them
The anticipation was heightened by a visit from local angler Trevor Sithole from the Thendela Community outside of Kamberg Nature Reserve, which – as it usually does – ended up in a tying session with some Para-RAB’s rolling off the vice for the following day’s outing.
Luminous post Para-RABs
The sign that says it all
After their winter sojourn, my boots were so dry that I nearly poured my morning coffee into them to help them regain pliability. The agonising decision on which rod to open the season with – 1wt / 3wt, 7’9” / 8’ / 9’ / 10’, graphite/glass – was made easier by having the loan of Terry Andrews’ Tiger Fly Fisher 7’6” bamboo 4wt...so grass it was, loaded with a Para-RAB tied the day before.
My boots were so dry...
'Tiger Fly Fisher' 7’6” bamboo 4wt
On the path down to the river the view was of a pleasantly burbling stream. A welcome sight after the long wait through winter. The snowfalls and unseasonal rains have lifted the river to normal post-winter levels after our debilitating drought. It was apparent that the snowmelt had pushed a lot of water through, as the riverbed was clean of any algae and sediment, and running crystal clear.
Opening day Bushman's River
I was accompanied by long-time stream angler Quentin Austin, and although we managed to incite a fair amount of interest in the dry fly from the Bushman’s brownies, we struggled to get on to stick. Quentin had a decent 9-10” fish on the line early in the game, but it came unstuck before getting it to hand. I eventually managed to hook into a 10” on a Klinkhåmer emerger, and landed it to save the day.
Opening day Bushman's (Quentin Austin)
Hungry Brown trout Bushman's
On Saturday 3 September, I collected Trevor Sithole on my way through to Kamberg and we joined up with a crowd of anglers who had gathered for a 'Throw on the Mooi' opening weekend celebration. We split up across the Mooi and Bushman’s Rivers, Trevor and I heading up Game Pass to the Mooi headwaters. Like the Bushman’s, the Mooi is sparkling clean and running crystal clear after the melt. We saw very little in the way of fish however, the sum total between us being two small fish spooked, three splashy rises to the dry from wee ‘uns, and an on/off by Trevor on a GRHE dropper.
Trevor Sithole points out the bGame Pass valley
Trevor fishing the upper Mooi on Game Pass in both images below
The Bushman’s and the Mooi are currently running at 10.5 and 11 deg. C respectively, up from the 6 deg. C I measured a 3 weeks ago in the middle of the snowmelt runoff. I am (very) pleased to report that while the rivers are currently running at normal post-winter levels, as is the usually case for this time of the year, we do need more rain to bolster conditions.
Andrew Fowler and Graeme Steart's reports
Andrew Fowler reports that the Umngeni River is also running at normal post-winter levels, while Graeme Steart reports that the Lotheni River is currently flowing nicely. Reports are not so good from the Underberg area - the Underberg-Himeville Trout Fishing Club (UHTFC) says it will be keeping rivers closed until they've had some rain.