Tuesday, October 02, 2007

October 2007 Middle Vaal Update

October 2007 Middle Vaal Report

I’m doing a presentation at the Northern Cape Bells, on the threats facing our yellowfish. A quick bit of research on the internet revealed a multitude of major threats facing trout and therefore by deduction yellowfish. There are loads of information available on US rivers and lakes – the typical problems we experience are not limited to South Africa.

Water and Weather forecast

Summer has come and gone, we have spring and a normal season again. The rain was very welcome especially for the farmers, but I’m sure a good flush of the river will help the fishing. Although these days we’re not so sure what is flushing into the river.

The flow data available here http://www.reservoir.co.za/flow.htm would assist when planning a trip but watch the rainfall figures for the Barrage catchment area. That is everything south of the mountains you drive through on the N1. Water clarity has dropped due to the rain to about 30-50 cm.

With respect to temperatures during the week in question, it seems likely that somewhat elevated temperatures should continue to persist in the northern interior but maximum temperatures over the remainder of the country more or less normal for this time of the year.
In terms of rainfall, several upper troughs moves across the country during this outlook period an rainfall probability remain good for the central and eastern parts of the country. www.weathersa.co.za

Insect Activity

I spent the long weekend fishing the Parys area and managed to get a few photos of the food items on the Vaal menu. Apologies for the quality but macro photography doesn’t work from a bobbing boat. Email me if you want the better quality photo’s.

2 stages of Hydropsychidae

The same pupa removed from the larval shuck

Note the key triggers – black eyes, long antennae and gills

Adult Hydropsychidae – those wings are almost 2/3 of the body.

Brown damsel nymph

There are a lot of the Vaal caddis about. I have watched the adults, they certainly don’t present an easy meal when in flight touching the water occasionally. I believe a reasonable imitation of the emerging pupa above and of course the larva will be your best bet. That said I did get 2 good fish over 5lb on the now famous Hydrolater. There are also hatches of small 16-18 chocolate and black caddis.

The summer mayfly hatches will be interspersed with the caddis, size and colour of the adults should be covered by generic patterns – nymphs are predominately brown to black and adults cream to black.

Approach and Technique

As already mentioned I got two fish on the dry. I’m at that stage of my fishing where 2 fish on a dry makes my day and I’m a content fisherman – and I didn’t get anything else on the upstream nymphing or CZ nymphing. The latter 2 methods will certainly be your bread and butter techniques for the rest of summer. You will only rarely be afforded the opportunity to fish dry or dry & dropper.

Heres some advice for those of you looking for something different to lobbing heavy control flies around. The guys at Midcurrent has this interesting extract from Ed’s book. “This week we offer Ed's advice on freestyle nymphing with small flies that is, nymphing without split shot or indicators. As Ed notes, choosing your casting position, fishing a short, drag-free line, and having a keen eye for potential takes are all essential ingredients. http://www.midcurrent.com/articles/books/engle_smallflies.aspx
ED ENGLE'S home water is the South Platte River in Colorado, where he guides and instructs fly fishers on the finer points of fishing tiny flies to overstuffed and finicky rainbows and browns. Not surprisingly, he is a recognized expert on the subject, and in the past three years he's penned two books on the subject of small flies and trout.”
There certainly is a case for fishing small nymphs especially if you have a look at the naturals underneath a rock in the river.


To date we have not received any reports of largemouth caught – I assume you are all bum fly fishers who cannot catch any. If any of you catch a largemouth please send us a brief email with the following details:
· Fly, size, colour.
· Date, time.
· Area, general, no need to divulge secret spots.
· Tactics, line, depth, retrieve.

This should benefit fellow anglers and could also provide valuable information to the conservation and research people.


I walked past this critter. Please be on the look out for snakes when walking outside the river. This night adder (identified by the black V on the head) is poisonous but you are unlikely to die from the bite.

Carl & Keith