As temperatures drop in the Highlands area of Dullstroom and Lydenburg, so the excitement levels of anglers rise! As mentioned in the Fosaf Guide to Flyfishing there are five rivers in this area that have traditionally been earmarked for trout, - the Klip, Waterval, Spekboom, Sterkspruit and the Dorps. There are numerous trout lodges in the area that offer both dam and river fishing, ranging from rustic to luxurious and now is the time for the fly-fisherman from Gauteng to head for the Mpumalanga Highlands to hone his skills in ideal conditions.
In still water the warmer summer months have seen sluggish feeding as trout head for the comfort of the cooler depths but lower Autumn water temperatures cause a resurgence of feeding activity as trout endeavour to pack on weight for the coming winter months.
Whereas in summer, fishing at first light produces the best chance of a catch, in the cooler Autumn weather trout will feed throughout the day, especially in overcast conditions. Even the enthusiastic angler may take advantage of the opportunity of rising a little later while still enjoying a productive day’s fishing! Aquatic plants will be dying back and insects will be less plentiful, but there are enough bugs around to stimulate activity and the muddy river conditions of summer are now giving way to gin-clear water.
In many dams in this area trout go through an abortive spawning ritual just at the onset of winter. The fish are in magnificent breeding colour but for a period of about three weeks are more interested in the mating game than in feeding, but may take egg-pattern flies or take flies with a flash of red simply out of aggression.
During the colder winter months the water temperature is still mild enough for some insect activity and particularly on sunny winter days fish may be enticed into feeding. Floating and intermediate lines are the order of the day.
Read a recent fishing report by Louis Munnick on fishing the Dorps River.
Suggested reading: Fosaf Guide to Flyfishing Destinations in Southern Africa.
This beautifully illustrated book is a ‘must have’ for the South African flyfisherman and is much more than a venue guide, with comprehensive chapters on types of fish, techniques and tackle.