including fishing the Tees, wild rainbows at Injisuthi in the Drakensberg, an Orvis Helios fly rod on offer, fishing a remote stream in Victoria Australia and an equally remote stream in Western Australia, the opening of the South African Fly Fishing Exhibition at the Catskill Fly Fishing Centre and Museum, fly fishing in the Sudan and Dubai harbour and more….
Fishing the early season Tees from my friend Gerald Penkler…
The UK trout season has started and the chilly air is gradually retreating with the arrival of spring. Apart from some early season ventures onto Grafham reservoir and strong overwintered fish, severe winds and weather have made for a slow start to the season.
Last weekend, despite another adverse weather forecast, we headed to the upper Tees in the Yorkshire Dales. I love this piece of water which is peat stained, fast flowing and packed to the brim with pretty little brownies. My waders and rain gear were almost bursting with all the underlying layers, but I was determined to be toasty-warm even if it turned into the North Pole.
Click in images to enlarge
Two friends had joined for the day and for one of them, this was his first time fly fishing. For the other, this particular river had started his fly fishing addiction in similar adverse conditions a year prior.
The fast flow and calf to waste-deep water yields itself well to a variety of nymphing techniques and for the cold we set up a Czech nymph duo and some of my winter fly tying finally paid off.
Fishing started slowly, but after a brief snow storm which left the hills white, everyone started picking up fish and getting plenty of takes. Time flew by, the sun came out, and we had a thoroughly enjoyable day. The season had finally started! Also, I believe, we have another fly fishing addict in the making.
Next I plan to visit a little urban chalk stream down south that I came across while exploring the countryside. With crystal clear water and fish visibly feeding everywhere it promises to be a special stream.
Four mates and wild rainbow trout
Ettienne Van Vuuren writes:
We were four mates who camped at Injisuthi in the Drakensberg over the weekend of 25-27 April and for two of us it was the first opportunity to hunt wild rainbow trout. What a brilliant weekend. I was bowled over by the beauty of the area and to be able to fish these pristine streams. Here is a photo of the area and my first wild river trout on dry fly. We had a great time.
Flies of the day were RAB, Hoppers and Parachute Adams. We took out two fish as a starter for supper one evening and found snails in the stomachs. This seems to be the staple diet and when a dry fly is presented, they would shoot up from their hides and attack. Some fish would jump out of the water in attempt to land on top of the fly.
Rob Walker offers an Orvis Helios
Orvis Helios 2 9’ 5wt Tip-flex 4pce. Used for 3 days on New Zealand trip. Caught 11 fish! Rod tube and bag.
Leon Schoots writes on fly fishing in a remote stream in Victoria Australia
The photos were taken on the Aire River, which flows through a 100 year old Californian Redwoods plantation on the South coast of Victoria. It’s a very popular area as it is not far off the Great Ocean Road, but it does not get fished very often as it isn’t a well know trout river. The river contains mainly wild brown trout and I was fishing with a small stimulator and a trailing nymph. In total I caught four browns in about an hour of fishing, coming mainly from the nymphs. During the summer months when the air temperature increases and the insect activity heats up dry flies are eagerly taken.
(Leon is a professional photographer and leather craftsman who has just opened a studio in the town of Bendigo in Victoria. See below. TS)
Pete Brigg writes on the South African Fly Fishing Exhibition at the Catskill Fly Fishing Centre and Museum.
The South African Fly Fishing Exhibition at the Catskill Fly Fishing Centre and Museum is finally up and running. According to MD Jim Krull the display is receiving a lot of interest from local and visiting flyfishers from around the world. The CFFCM attracts thousands of visitors annually who come to see the exhibitions like ours and to see the historical displays, visit the Hall of Fame, attend the many workshops held annually on various aspects of fly fishing. Apart from the static display forming the basis of our exhibition that includes maps, individual profiles, a set of some 50 local flies, books, magazines, High Flies stamp collection, a J Vice and more, the DVD being shown on a large screen television of images kindly supplied by a number of local flyfishers, has drawn crowds of interested visitors. It all combines to showcase what we have to offer the flyfisher in South Africa and the magnificent areas in which the various species can be targeted. It also advertises the likes of craftsmen, guides, artists, clubs and organizations that make up our fly fishing community.
I would like to express my thanks to all, too many to mention individually, who answered the call to participate, for the support and contributions made. However, there are a handful in particular that were of great assistance in helping in put together some of the specific elements of the exhibition as well as making generous donations of items for display - Tim Rolston, Gordon van der Spuy, Sheena Carnie, Tom Sutcliffe, Warren Prior, Jay Smit and Barry Kent. A special thanks to Sydney Dwebe who helped with facilitating KZN Tourisms funding of the not insignificant courier costs.
It is rewarding to know that our fly fishing is represented in such a world renowned centre and will continue to do so into the future when the books, magazines and other items are eventually moved into the library and museum.
Riaan Heyns and Piet Beyers write about a fly fishing trip to the Sudan and Dubai they have just done…
This was not my trip for triggers, which I was particularly after. Despite the gale force conditions we had a heap of fun in the surf casting big brush flies. My bad luck continued as my old faithful 12 wt T & T got popped just above the hand grip by a bus of a Bohar snapper.
Bohar snapper and my sudden ‘3-piece’ Thomas & Thomas fly rod
Dubai was the unexpected surprise with queenfish busting baitfish all around us in the manmade Dubai canals - by default, man in his greed, has created something special - a world class fishery.
Dubai – a world class fishery
Our guide (an awesome guy by the name of Nick Bowles) suggested we throw small (size 2) Clousers at them as they were feeding on small sprats. We did that for a little while without success and (as a sequel to your previous newsletter), I switched to what we know best for queenies. Yes you guessed it, a size 4/0 Thin Lizzy! The proof is attached to the mouth of the pictures!
The Thin Lizzie
Despite gale force winds for most of our time in Sudan, we enjoyed our trip as it is very different to anything we’ve experienced before.
I ‘lucked’ two triggers – a small Titan (above) and a good Yellow margin (below).
Riaan presented his crab patterns superbly on a number of occasions, but for some reason the triggers wouldn’t eat his flies.
After Sudan we had lots of fun in Dubai with two queenfish each on fly literally in the shadow of the skyscrapers.
Jan Malan says:
Ended up on the Elandspad today (Beat 2), in the rain. Started slow, but things picked up after lunch and we ended the day with perhaps a dozen fish up to 14 inches on dry fly and plenty missed or spooked. The river in need of a cleaning and fish are quite thin as well. Nonetheless, it was a decent day’s sight-fishing in low, clear water, so things up there are not totally dire. Also experienced something of a large flying ant hatch after the rain, which we unfortunately could not imitate effectively.
Alan Meyburgh returns to his beloved Lefroy Brook in Western Australia
On Tuesday I decided that I needed a break, so going fishing obviously was my choice. Having just been through the Easter weekend I anticipated that the fish would have been harassed by many a fisherman.
As expected I found the water quite thin (although we have had recent rain), but still very fishable. On my third upstream cast the small Stimulator proved to be the right choice. So that 12 incher was an early settler and signified the coming together of my time on the Lefroy and the anticipation of my new bamboo rod.
My new bamboo rod ‘The Delegate’ made by Nick Taransky
The rest of the day would prove more challenging. A lot of bush-bashing thought black berry (thorny bramble) on a reasonably remote section, where the pickings were thin. Judging from previous visits in the season, it was obvious that the meat-fisherman had been there! I still don't understand how the global movement of trout conservation, especially in small streams, hasn't yet reached us.
As the day progressed I started to slow my pace and found a few more fish. One in particular was memorable - I had spooked it on my way downstream. So naturally, as I fished upstream, I was prepared. Its lie was directly under a mid-sized partially-submerged log.
After a couple of ignored presentations I went back to my low-riding, slack-water success fly, the Caribou Spider. I dropped my fly an inch behind the log and a little to the right.
It drifted through the up-welling coming out from under the log. The fish lazily turned back towards me and rose to the fly without hesitation. After setting the hook and feeling that amazing pulse, I was pleasantly surprised to find the fish larger than I originally estimated. It fought hard and I quickly beached the fish before it could gain any ground in this snaggy terrain. After a few pictures and a moment of appreciative ogling, I released the well-conditioned 14 inch rainbow.
Jan Korrubel’s KZN report
Malcolm Draper reports on catching (and releasing) “a piece of history” on Friday last week : a silvery brown trout on the Umngeni River, descended from the Scottish Loch Leven browns. See below. Quite distinct from the fiery red-spotted European brown trout that we are more familiar with in the Mooi and Bushman’s Rivers.
I had a very busy month over April with guide bookings, and it was a pleasure to end the month off this week with Wilhelm Stemmet (who I met at the Wild Trout Festival in Rhodes last year) who came to The Midlands in search of brown trout. Wilhelm and Analie were staying at a guest cottage on The Mooi River, and Wilhelm took advantage of the evening rise to land his first brown trout the evening before our day on the Bushman’s River up in Giant’s Castle. While waters levels are dropping the fish were fish willing and we were close to double figures of fish brought to hand by the end of the day. All of good size in the 9-11” / 22-28cm range, and all on dry fly. The Rubber-leg Stimulator was yet again the big producer on the day – with little interest in other staples like the Royal Wulff and Elk-hair Caddis which we also tried.
It was a fantastic day out with perfect weather, even the local Eland troop came to greet the visitors on the river .
Andrew Fowler also has a “Small Lakes and Streams : KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa” report on the Fly Dreamers website at : https://www.flydreamers.com/en/fishingreports/fr-495?report=fishing-report-small-lakes-and-streams-kwazulu-natal-south-africa.
Image of the week
Autumn’s shades in morning light on the Bell River near Rhodes. Photo by Gavin Urquhart.
I posted Part 1 of a series on tying tips with CDC by Gordon Van der Spuy this week. See http://www.tomsutcliffe.co.za/fly-fishing/fly-tying/item/1027-the-basics-of-tying-with-cdc-by-gordon-van-der-spuy-%E2%80%93-part-1.html