Thursday, September 11, 2008

September 2008 Middle Vaal Report

When not fishing you meet interesting people photographing interesting subject - Bengt von Veh Magaliesberg

I have NOT spent any time on the river in the last two months hence the hiatus in reporting and my somewhat crappy mood. It’s an absolute disgrace! Such is life and as we evolve from single men to married with kids our disposable time diminishes. Choices we make, I’m glad I made mine.
Another choice I made is to join my uncle and friends on an upcoming 5 day raft through the Richtersveld. Part of the group is going on a two day hike, which leaves us two solid days of fishing. So I’ll get some sanity back.
For those of you with less interference in your fishing diaries get to the water. I’ve received some great reports in the last fortnight. Herman Botes has time to fish in the week and he had a magnificent day on Tuesday. All fish caught on the dry, some over 3kg, a final count of 30 plus and I must agree with the man that the Vaal is one of the best tail water fisheries in the world.
Water and Weather forecast
We’ve had steady flows in the last month – I watch the rates daily thinking that I may end up fishing the next weekend. I’ve been wrong on that. Clarity is good but with changes in temperature, wind and possible rain we may get some algae bloom, just like a pool going green round about now.
Weather is great and we’ve said goodbye to winter with some soaring 30C+ days in September.
Windguru at gives good indication of wind and weather conditions in the Vaaldam area, good enough for Parys and a fair indicator for the Potch area. Looking at this you can expect wind North and North East.
With the high pressure south of the Cape it’s keeping the frontal systems away – clear skies for the next few days – looks like a fishing weekend.

Insect Activity
Reports coming in from the first weekend in September indicated that the hatches are thick- with some mayflies but already dominated by the caddis species. The odd Vaal caddis showed themselves over the weekend. You will do well imitating the large larvae – sometimes up to #8 hook. Check the rocks in the rapids to appreciate their size and prevalence in Spring.

Pupa for colour – note eyes and antennae

Approach and Technique
The Vaal is as we all know the dumping ground for a lot of nutrients, more than the system require and can handle. This combined with some other factors creates one of the scourges of the Vaal massive spirogyra growth– fortunately limited to this period. These long strings of algae clog up the prime fishing areas especially the rapids. I have experienced it so thick it makes wading impossible.
What to do when your favourite venue suffers? You can wait for summer rains to wash it away, but that is not an option when the urge to fish is there.
I have two options:
Get away from the stuff, the fish are still cruising the pools and are not exclusively feeding in the rapids. Target them with normal open water tactics. Mayfly nymphs on a slow retrieve or the surface flies.
Try a dry and dropper approach to targeted fish, fishing the clear lanes in-between the veg. Not an easy task but at times the choice between fish and driving home early.
A mate of mine had a great day in the Dome fishing a holding pool just above and below the rapids. He got plenty of fish and some whoppers amongst them! He lost plenty, almost all of them because of rusted hooks – from a waterproof box. He lost all his flies and had a very frustrating and disappointing day. Avoid this by taking these precautions.
· Invest in a good waterproof box.
· Leave all flies outside the box or the box open to dry. Often forgotten when racing back from a long day and you still have to take the significant other out at 19:30 and it’s 18:45 with Gasmere 50 km’s to go.
· Check flies before the trip using needle nose pliers to check them. Rusted flies break off at the tail where the dubbing ends.

Bertu and Tinus teamed up to produce this one and the next

While the rain remains absent the clarity should be good. Dedicate some time to pursuing these great game fish now before the summer rains reduce visibility. Fishing has been good to excellent from Parys to Prieska actually I’m only reporting up to Nkolo Spa/Christiana.

Average size fish for these chaps

The guys in the Western Cape are relaunching the Yellowfish Working Group. You can contact them here if you are interested :
Northern Cape Bells is happening in October and there may be some slots available.
I’ve received some worrying news from the headwaters of the Vaal. Dave Weaver reported a possible new trout farming venture at Sterkfontein dam. I’m all for people earning a living but I see absolutely no reason why another person must enrich themselves buy stuffing-up (is the nice word) another pristine environment. We’ve had a lot of that in South Africa and are reading about the effects weekly – Wonderfonteinspruit, Sterkfontein caves, Loskop dam, Northern Cape diamond mining etc. etc.

FOSAF reports Yellowfish September 2008

Horrors of horrors, I see in the chronicle this week a small notice that there is a planned trout farming operation earmarked for Sterkies. I have registered myself as an interested and affected (I+A) party. At this stage I have no further information regards this proposal but I will keep you informed as and when I get more info. I sent the notice out to a number of people on my e-mailing list so hopefully the word has got around. Should you wish to be listed as an I+A party please e-mail, Mr E Hinrichsen at You can also go and view their activities at

Joy when a mate scores in Seychelles! Well done Theo

Carl & Keith

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous11:46 AM

    Hi went fishing at Elgro Lodge on Fri Sat and Sun 21 Sept. Friday hot, +- 30 degees caught Fish late afternoon in rapids. Snotgrass is a pain in the arse on the flies and lost one decent fish due to this algae. Saturday went drift boating wind picked up and temperature did not exceed 20 degrees according to thermometer in Landy. Caught fish in the rapids including one smallmouth of 3kg. Lots of spawning carp and barbel are also feeling amorous. Snot grass is a pain until first rains. Fish took all flies, were especially aggresive when hitting bloodworms. Took various colour Czech nymphs (UV tan dubbing) and emerger brassies, as well as 2 tone flashback mayfly nymphs. Will be going out this week and next when temperature rises again.

    Hope this helps

    Regards Russell