As I mentioned in my previous blog I live very close to some great fly fishing water. As a member the Natal Fly Fishers Club (www.nffc.co.za) I have access to+- 30 still waters and several stretches of streams and rivers. All these venues are on private land but the owners have allowed the club access. Still waters are stocked by the club with small trout on a yearly basis. These still waters are man made farm dams, some almost large enough to almost qualify as lakes. Most of the still waters are trout waters, some have trout and bass, others just bass. Bass don't need stocking as they breed very well in dams.
Rivers and streams are self stocking and no additional stocking is necessary. Trout breed quite well in high altitude streams in South Africa. Some of the streams have trout, bass and Natal yellow fish also known as scaleys. The higher the stream altitude the more prevalent trout become. Other streams are trout only. Both rainbow and brown trout occur but hardly ever in the same stream.
The best time for trout fishing is autumn and spring, winter fishing for trout is also quite good as our water does not get quite as cold as in Europe or the US. Our club streams are closed from May to September to allow the trout to breed undisturbed. During the summer, our rainy season, fishing in streams can be problematic due the streams coming down in spate. At higher altitudes the water will remain clear but crossing or wading in streams can be very dangerous, even in small streams. Lower down the silt load discolours the water and makes fly fishing impossible.
To fish any of the venues booking is necessary which is possible 24/7. The number of rods at each venue is strictly controlled, some venues only two rods, others four and a few might have more. The chances of you meeting another fly fisher at a venue is quite remote, when you do it's like a bonus. Unless you go with a fishing buddy you find yourself with acres of still water or miles of river all to yourself. I had the opportunity of fishing for trout in England last year and was amazed at the crowds of fly fishers jostling for a space.
My club dues allows me unlimited fishing with no extra cost except the cost of getting there. Membership dues are R480 per annum, this is about US $70. A bargain in any language.
The farm I live on has two dams, one the size of three or four tennis courts, the other several acres. These dams, or ponds, are stocked with large mouth black bass. So virtually every summer evening my dogs and I walk to one or the other of the dams and fly fish. When it comes to fishing certain waters daily "familiarity does not breed contempt", to paraphrase a well known saying. But more about this next time