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Saturday, 29 October 2011

Trout at last!!

When I started this blog in February it was going to be all about fly fishing for trout and other species of fish here in the Drakensberg foothills of KwaZuluNatal. Well apart from one or two bass, some which were not caught on a fly, not a trout to be seen, I started to doubt that I had ever caught a trout. I'm not the worlds greatest fly fisher, but every outing in the past I have usually manage to land a couple of trout. 

Most of my trout fishing until lately has been in still waters and takes place mostly in the winter months. During the summer still water fishing for trout is not practical if you are thinking catch and release. Water temperatures are too high and the chances are that any trout you might catch will die. Trout also become very lethargic in very warm water.

Since April this year, as the weather started to cool, I have been trying to catch trout on fly. Apart from several snapped tippets, nothing not one fish, (bought a whole bunch of new leaders and tippet material)  until today that is. This morning before sunrise I headed out to the Mooi River to try my luck in catching brown trout. The morning was cool and overcast and the river flow much reduced since I was there 3 weeks ago.

On my second cast I was into a fish, not big but a fish, counted my chickens too soon and it managed to shake my fly, a small size 16 elk hair caddis. Lost two more before the fish went off the bite. Decided to walk downstream and try again, changed to a size 14, long shank, stimulator. Tried several pools with one missed for being too quick and actually pulling the fly out of it's mouth. Came to a small pool with a very fast current on the far side, cast right up against the far bank and let the fly drift across the current. In the fastest part of the current a brown trout rose and swallowed my fly, and virtually hooked itself. My first brown trout and my first stream caught trout!! Not big, just a shade under 10", but perfect in every way, a perfect wild, river trout.  This is about the average for this river, but fish of 2lbs and up are often caught. The colouring was amazing, with bright red rosettes down it's flanks, and a creamy yellow belly. 

Click on photos to enlarge.

The photo does not do the fish justice, I was in a hurry to get it back in the water and didn't spend much time thinking about how the photo will come out. The tape measure hides a lot of the fish's colouring and you can't read the figures any way.

This photo gives a slightly better view of the trout's colouring. This fish is something like the 120th generation of the original Loch Levins brown trout that were seeded in the Mooi River in the 1890. A little while after catching this fish the wind started blowing a gale and I decided to leave.

This tree, an Australian eucalyptus, always catches my eye on the way to Reekielynn. This morning I stopped and photographed it. To me the epitome of a perfect tree.

Don't know what it's called but worth a photo.

A red hot poker, that's it's name, growing next to the river. A common flower in SA gardens.

The banks of the river is just covered with wild flowers.


Jo said...

Well done Phil, on your first brown trout caught in a stream. Amazing colouring and patterns with the rosettes down the fish' body. Where were you? I cannot make it out? BTW the article only appears in next week's FW so I hope you didn't buy one today. Love Jo

e.m.b. said...

Always interesting to think about the generations, isn't it...and that's a beautiful example of it. Spring is coming for you - and just in time - so now I will vicariously live through your adventures during my winter.

Kay L. Davies said...

Congratulations on the long-awaited trout, Phillip, I'm so pleased for you.
But I have to say the photo of the tree is spectacular. The sky behind it is wonderful. I love this picture.

Kay, Alberta, Canada
An Unfittie’s Guide to Adventurous Travel

John said...

202 posts without a trout. It was worth the wait Philip. Nicely done.

Shoreman said...

Hey Phillip. Way to go. A very nice looking brown.


Joyful said...

You must be very excited! Congratulations.

Gorges Smythe said...

Congratulations on the trout. Despite having grown up with a spinning rod in my hands, I rarely read fishing blogs. It's the other stuff that most interests me.