Sunday, February 17, 2008

February 2008 Middle Vaal Report

For those of you who believe bad things only happen in Africa. Here is an account of Trout on the menu that turned out well. I suppose what we lack is a well funded and staffed Fish and Game department outside of the game reserves.
The last two months has not been great on the fishing side. It seems as though the rain arrives on a Thursday to push the flows up for the weekend. Have you been lucky enough to get onto the river? I do get reports of guys catching during the week or even in the high flows. That is a bit of a gamble, but not much more than the daily challenges facing the citizens of South Africa.
I remember those days when I still went fishing come hell or high water. Now a sense of balance has returned and family take precedence over a below par day on the river.

Water and Weather forecast

Well I can say that the weather guys did get a decent prediction in for last month’s report – lots of rain. If they are correct again March is going to be testy in terms of flows and weather.

Model forecasts are favouring the central parts for above-normal rainfall totals. The remainder of the country seems more likely to be dry. The entire country is expected to experience above normal temperatures, excluding the far southern and south-eastern parts.

There has been some bad press recently covering the pollution in the Vaal. It obviously raises the question of:”How safe is it to wade in the river?” I cannot give any assurance but the Randwater website does publish accurate reports like these.

Also consider chatting with your GP about the benefits of a Hepatitis shot.

Insect Activity

The hatches are thick this time of the year, usually towards late afternoon when the day visitors who arrived at 5:30 are knackered and heading home. It’s really worthwhile booking an overnight stay once in a while and getting into the early evening action.
Partaking in international forums (like gives you exposure to a multitude of styles of fly tying and design. How about this for a super buoyant caddis-mayfly imitation? It looks easy to tie and incorporates CDC, nice clear hook gape for good hook-up on smallies. Thanks Per-Anders Nilsson for allowing me to use it. You can find his and many other designs on Sexyloops.

Approach and Technique

The approach would be to find the days when the flows are within fishing range 35 cumecs max and go fish. There are exceptions but that would depend on your urge to fish. If you do end up with time on your hands have look at this great popper. In smaller sizes it will work well for Largemouth and even the odd smallmouth. Popper!

When I see a fly like this
CDC Comparadun I can’t wait for autumn to roll on. It is such a special time of the year and if the weather and flows play along the Vaal is transformed into one of the best fisheries in the World. Fishing is not easy but becomes technically challenging with all the aspects I enjoy about it.


The database is growing, albeit slowly (would help if I contribute). 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 came across this interesting article on the lifestyle changes in the US
Great Outdoors .I immediately thought that there’s some benefit in this. Peaceful days on the Vaal with not another person in sightJ. But reading the article highlights the dangers of such a selfish assumption. There is actually strength in numbers and if all the users of the Vaal (and other water resources) can pull together we can put pressure on the governmental agencies to manage the resource properly.

We are all affected by the electricity crisis at the moment and suddenly there is emphasis on saving and not wasting. What worries me is that we (us and the Government) do not have the same attitude towards water. This year has seen good rainfall over most parts of the country, especially over the Vaal catchment. But when are we going to wake up to the fact that South Africa is an arid country with limited water resources. Will it be when they drain the last bit of water from a strategic resource like Sterkies and the subsistence guys move in to scoop up what was once a world class fishery?

Do your bit to save and conserve for our children’s children.

I would love some feed back from everyone out there on new items or points of interest you want to see on the blog. Tackle reviews comes to mind – that way I get to test new tackle for free – Patagonia, Sage etc.


Carl & Keith