September is always a time of great excitement for the stream anglers, as the 1st heralds the official opening of the river season after a long wait of 3 months closed season for winter spawning...
S'pose a 3 month wait is better than the 4 months it used to be!...anyone else remember the "Rule of R"...?...(R)ivers were only fishable in the months that had an "r" in the name (September through to April), and closed in the months that had no "r" in their name (May through to August).
New WildFly Retail staff member Graham McCall and I took to the rivers on Opening Day for my annual river inspection, and while levels were low as expected coming out of winter, it was not nearly as low as previous seasons. We threw a quick line on the upper Bushman's River inside Giant's Castle Reserve and although we managed to raise a few fish to the dry fly, we didn't manage to bring any to hand.
The upper Bushman's River on 1 September - and the perfect small stream setup : Redington glassfibre 7ft 3wt "Butter Stick" with the "Zero" click reel equipped with Rio's "LightLine" specially suited for slower action rods like glass and grass... (image by Jan Korrubel)
We also paid a visit to the Thendela Community Conservation Project on the Mooi River just outside Kamberg Nature REserve - while the flow was also low and slow, we spotted some really good fish running 16-18" (40-45cm) with Richard Khumalo, who heads up the project...but the fish were very skittish in the crystal clear water.
Richard Kumalo and Graham McCall spotting some good Thendela browns on the Mooi River.
(image by Jan Korrubel)
There was a final wag of Winter's Tail in that 1st week in September - while less than 10mm of rainfall recorded here in Nottingham Road, there were reports of some snow higher up. Every little bit helps, and while river levels are still low, there is some fishing to be had...
Steve Hughes on the upper Bushman's River (image by Peter Brigg)
Why we do what we do on the Bushman's River (image by Peter Brigg)
Since then, we have received approx. 25mm of rain, just a spit and a spot here and there spread over the last couple of weeks, which unfortunately hasn't done much for the water levels. This last weekends high temperatures - 30 plus here in the Midlands (and reports of 38 deg.C up at Cathedral Peak!) didn't help much either...
The gauge showing 38 deg.C up at Cathedral Peak...! (image by Nina Bunn)
Those anglers who have made it out in this period of changing seasons have met with some success - however, most of the stillwaters are now very low, and soon it will be decision time as to whether to close some of the waters until they receive some input.
Eben van Zyl with a solid rainbow hen from Rifle Range (image supplied)
Grant Harris with a 51cm rainbow hen, also from Rifle Range (image supplied)
Lourens Mulder with a very fine rainbow cock fish from Lochwood (image supplied)
And yet again I have to reiterate my standard moan : please submit your Catch Returns!
Our Fishing Management System and reporting is only as good as the data that goes in - you, our anglers, demand it! Along with your return, please also submit any pictures of your catches on WildFly waters and we will be happy to use them in our newsletters and extend your bragging rights...
In the news recently : well known local river fly angler, Andrew Fowler, released his first book - "Stippled Beauties : Seasons, Landscapes and Trout". Described as "Trout, and changing countryside, A celebration of all things dappled and beautiful. Images and stories of a fly-fisherman", it is sure to be a good read for the avid fly angler. For more info, and to order a copy, visit Andrews's blog site at truttablog.
And last, but not least : the WildFly Retail store will be running the following specials in the month of October :-
- a "Members Special" for those bona fide Members of the WildFly Fishing Club : spend R500.00 in the store and receive a free long sleeve vented Quick-Dry fishing shirt of your choice (stone and blue colours available) along with a free WildFly trucker cap.
The WildFly Spring Members Newsletter will be out shortly where we will have some great tackle specials to suit all your angling needs across river, stillwater and conventional!