Graeme Steart fishing the Bushmans

Andrew Fowler’s KZN Midlands report

The river fishing petered out at the end of the season. As the hills got browner, the browns got scarcer. I guess that is what happens at the end of the season. It is however a little surprising, because it has been remarkably warm. I measured water temperatures on the Bushman’s of 16 degrees C after lunch a week or two back!
We were fishing a stretch that I usually drive past. It was great water to explore, and I have put a mental marker on that piece for next season, but the fishing was downright slow. In one pool we had some action (i.e. we failed!) and that was it!
As far as rivers go, someone must have shot their mouth off about the Umgeni, because a whole bunch of people fished this particular river at the end of the season. It produced some nice fish too. At least one of them went to two pounds! I hope you all have short memories and that when the season re-opens in September you will leave me in peace there! 

The Natal Fly Fishers Club results for the month of May showed an average of some 2.2 trout per 5 hrs of fishing, well up on the 1.8 or so from the preceding, hotter months. It is interesting though, how members all flock to the same waters. I guess they see or hear that they are being fished, see fish being caught, and go there in the hopes of experiencing the same.
Some of the more adventurous guys head out to all the waters, and give them a bash. I applaud that more adventurous spirit. My friend Anton did that last year. I forget if it was this season or last, but either way, he went off to a far flung dam that the club members have all but forgotten about, and guess what: he had an absolute field day. (No: I am not telling where!) I forget how many he and his fishing buddy got. Seven or seventeen. Something like that.
Either way, it was a cracker of a day. Whether it is a club water or a private or public one, I would suggest you go and give the less popular ones a go. What you sometimes find, is Trout as innocent as a mermaid, but a lot easier to catch. OK, so statistically this isn’t saying much, but I think you get the drift.

At those waters, at this time of the year, I would be prowling the banks, taking your time to get through the bankside vegetation as quietly as you can, and placing a few well-placed casts just as you would on a stream. On a stream we tend to creep into position, and cast carefully and deliberately. I don’t know why, but on a stillwater, we suddenly transform into “chuck and chance it” guys. Try fishing the stillwater as you would a stream.
Peter Brigg did an interview with Roxanne Stegen in the latest flyfishing mag, and that bankside approach came through strongly. Roxanne catches fish (Did you see the pictures in my last report?). Take from that what you will, but I say leave the tube in the shade of a tree for a while and go throw a delicate fly in the margins before you go nautical.
What fly would that be on a stillwater at this time of year? I don’t know. I cant decide. Egg patterns will surely start being important in June. Big fierce Mienkies and woolly buggers too. But I am finding that picture difficult to conjure up in my mind, because the weather has been so warm of late.

They tell me a big cold front is coming at the end of this week. I am looking forward to that. I have stocked up on firewood, bought a thicker fleece, and cleaned the canoe. It’s time for KZN’s winter trout season on stillwaters. I can’t wait.

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