November 16th 2015

The Cape Town Fishing Report                                     Monday, November 16, 2015

A while since I put Pen to Paper, or fingers to keyboard to report back on the fishing in the Western Cape Streams. Not that I haven’t been out on the water; more that I have been too much and that as a result the normal commitments of the daily grind have rather got in the way of reporting back.

Equally a good deal of time has been used up trying to push for change and action in terms of the ongoing pollution emanating from the Malopong Fish Farm on the Smalblaar River.

For those that haven’t seen the somewhat controversial video about the pollution on this river it is embedded below:

Whilst agreements were made with the owners about changing the feed used (this seems to have been at least part of the problem) and removal of fish from the settling pond area (which wasn’t done as per our agreements) things are moving slowly. At the time of writing I have been unable to check up on whether the fish have been removed from the settling ponds so am still unsure as to the position on that front other than that it wasn’t done at the time agreed.

I have also been in touch with BOCMA (Breede River Catchment Management Agency) now name changed to BGMCA (Breede Gouritz Catchment Management Agency). They have been rather slow in responding, but after requests for a formal complaint in writing and then the addition of GPS reference points I am assured that the matter will receive their attention and that they will be having a site meeting before the end of the year. At least that is what is in the emails. We live in hope because as things stand the lack of settlement or filtration on this intensive farm will only lead to additional pollution in the long term if action isn’t taken

On the plus side there does seem to be some evidence on the river that the water clarity has improved, most likely the result of the combined effects of lack of rain and the change in feed used on the farm. So at least for the present the fishing isn’t being as badly affected as it was. That said I haven’t personally been on the Smalblaar of late, most of the trips have been guided work and I don’t wish to introduce visiting anglers to the muddy and turbid waters that were the Smalblaar a matter of weeks back.

On to more enjoyable and heartening topics, myself and some colleagues were able to visit the Jan Du Toit’s River recently. The water was a delight, crystal clear (as of course all of our mountain streams should be), unsullied by any form of human activity but for the occasional errant drift of a dry fly over the smooth surface of a pool. We had wonderful fishing and it was most heartening to see a good number of fish in the lower reaches of the river as well as higher up. Not only that but a number or relatively junior trout which suggests that breeding on the stream is returning to some level of success.

The Cape Piscatorial Society River Festival went off pretty much without a hitch and I was privileged to guide some wonderfully enthusiastic clients who greatly enjoyed the day on the water. Feedback was the same from all the participants, a good vibe, lots of fish caught, and of course released. A great amount of knowledge transfer from the old hands to the neophytes and the pleasure of watching the Aussies get thumped by the All Blacks during the World Rugby Cub final on our return from the stream. About as close as you could get to a perfect weekend I would think.

On top of that a pressing cold front swung in over the peninsula on the Sunday, making my return trip to Cape Town rather fraught, with heavy rain and howling winds reducing visibility to a matter of metres on the freeway. The inconvenience however well worth it as it seems that some of that rain managed to reach he mountains and freshen up the streams. After some days in the 40°C range things have cooled down a little, the water is a tad fresher and the day time temps have been more manageable over the past week. From the activity on the water it seems that the trout have appreciated that change and they have been quite active.

The latest trip on the Elandspad showed lots of the common and minute micro tan caddis flies on the rocks, as well as some egg laying Choroterpes Mayflies getting the trout feeding. We equally witnessed a number of quite large trout flinging themselves after marauding dragonflies and taking them successfully out of the air. We weren’t able to tempt the fish though quite possibly because flying dragonflies are not easily imitated and also because even the largest flies in my stream box are woefully inadequate in terms of representing such large insects. But it was fun to watch.

Although the fishing has been good, up on the Elandspad at least, the fish were especially spooky when the sun came out yesterday afternoon, they are undoubtedly wising up to the angler’s machinations as the season progresses and the water levels fall.

Weather for the coming week courtesy of


Just a note about the weather forecast. using the De Poort Van Du Toit’s Kloof location has been remarkably accurate. Yesterday it predicted the clouds would clear at 11.00 and that was pretty much the case. The long term forecast tends for obvious reasons to change over time so best to check nearer to your fishing date if you want more precise information.

A final word, do take care out in the mountains, we had a close encounter with not one but two Cape Cobras out in the mountains recently and both within feet of one another. The first was spotted and quietly slipped away, two steps further along the river bed another reared up right in front of me resulting in my beating a pretty inelegant and hasty retreat. I don’t think that in all my time out there I have encountered two snakes so close to one another. Thankfully cobras generally do bring attention to their presence and aren’t aggressive but it certainly got the pulse going.


Enjoy the fishing and “Be Careful Out There”..


The Cape Town Flyfishing report is brought to you in the public interest by Inkwazi Flyfishing, the Capes only dedicated full service fly fishing guiding operation.





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October 2nd 2015

The Cape Town Flyfishing report                                                              October 2, 2015

Well here we are a month into the new river season and so far I haven’t really “hit it”.. well I can’t lay claim to having tried too hard, I have only been on the streams a couple of times and those sessions have failed to see the rivers really come on song.

Our excursion to the north to target yellowfish on the Orange River turned out to be a good move, we hammered fish up there whilst I suspect for the most part angling on the Cape Streams remained below par.

Posts from other anglers suggests that they have experienced much the same with the occasional “red letter” day in the mix when the flows and barometric pressure, hatches and such all came together for a time, but on average it seems that things just haven’t really switched on just yet.

Late season spring cold fronts are hampering quality fishing, the water levels have thankfully been pushed up as those fronts have dumped water on the mountains and the temperatures in the hills are still kicking off in single digits until the sun, if there is any sun, comes out. Yesterday on the Elandspad things were very quiet for most of the day with the water sitting at around 14°C, not too cold to wet wade but certainly chilly enough that one wasn’t planning to take a dip if it could be avoided.

Mike3US Visitor Mike Hams wades the Elandspad on a chill and overcast day.

There were quite a few micro tan caddis on the rocks, but very tiny, 22’s 24’s perhaps and later in the day when the sun came out for a spell some very tiny midges. The fish for the most part were not on the move and although we found the odd riser they were picky and not fully committed to feeding as best one could tell

Most fish ignored the larger dries which experience says should work in the early season and those fish that were taken mistook small CDC soft hackles for food. Even early season the fish targeted were not up to giving second chances so missing a take was a fatal error.

When the sun warmed the stream a little and brightened the day some more fish came on the feed for a while but then the clouds rolled in and I suspect the pressure dropped resulting in a slowing down of activity once again.

Mike1The fish did feed sporadically when the sun shone.

Still, water levels are looking good and the streams clear if quite distinctly peat stained as one expects in the early season. Sometime about now one can expect to really hit it, with a climbing barometer, some sunshine and good hatches but for the present it is still very much a case of heading out there and hoping that you hit it right. No doubt things will settle soon, warm summer breezes, sunshine and feeding fish, it’s just that we aren’t quite there yet.

Mike and Nathaniel Hams, walking through the flowers on the hike out.

One thing to note, the Elandspad was extremely slippery, I can recall much the same in the early part of the previous season but take care, some of the boulders are absolutely treacherous to walk on.

The weekend weather seems to be improving, perhaps with a bit more wind than one would like on Sunday but at least the sun is due to be out.

WeatherOctober2 2015Weather information supplied by

For now it is simply a case of going fishing when you get the chance and trusting that at some point the conditions will favour you, but it still seems a little bit unpredictable. You can’t safely leave home without a selection of both nymphs and dries because you could find yourself requiring any of them depending on what is happening. Yesterday the top producer was a small dark gray CDC soft hackle of simple construction, the fish for the most part ignoring dry flies and certainly not taking any notice of the larger ones which I had expected to work in the high water.

Western Province and Boland youngsters head for the National Championships

Best wishes and good luck to the youngsters heading up to Rhodes for the Junior National Championships this weekend. I am sure that they will have a ball and particularly Angus Kerr who has just been given a clean bill of health after battling Leukaemia since 2013.(How fantastic is that?) You may well have heard of Angus, he founded “Angus Warriors”( a youth support organization assisting youngsters fighting cancer), was a “Lead SA Youth Hero” and has been a leading light in motivating the junior fly fishers and organizing all manner of assistance to help the lads get together much needed tackle so that they might compete. A very big “Best Wishes” to all the youngsters and a HUGE thank you to a fly fishing community which stepped up to the plate to assist. The boys have received help from fly anglers from all over the country, people who don’t know them but are bound together by a mutual love of flyfishing. I have always thought that most fly anglers were great people, but I think that this proves it beyond doubt.

AngusKerrImage courtesy of Erica Haywood (Facebook)

Angus has just been given a clean bill of health and requires no further chemotherapy. He will be captaining the WP junior side at the forthcoming National Championships in Rhodes..

The Cape Town Fly Fishing Report is brought to you in the public interest by Inkwazi Flyfishing. Cape Town’s premier full service fly fishing guiding service.




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September 18th 2015

The Cape Town Fly Fishing Report. September 18th 2015

The only real problem with fishing is that life seems to conspire to get in the way of it. I had been hoping to get to the Cape Piscatorial Society for a social evening tonight, with presentations on distant and exotic fishing locations. Something of an exercise in frustration I suppose, given that there is little chance that I would ever visit such places but it doesn’t make the viewing of such any less appealing. In the end, short of not actually getting to visit the “Nubian Flats” I didn’t even get the chance to visit the CPS offices. I am off to Durban tomorrow to run some casting workshops for those wishing to go through the IFFF casting instructors exam in November and I have been busy all day trying to sort out things for that and for the planned trip to the Orange River which starts almost immediately upon my return to Cape Town.

I had, at least at the beginning of the week, some weak notions that I might just sneak a visit to the streams too, after all, apart from needing to know what is going on for the benefit of my clients, I have some level of moral responsibility to inform the readers of this blog. Alas once more, commitments to neighbourhood watch duties and other pressing if rather boring concerns kept that hope at bay and I haven’t so much as wet a line since the first week of the season. All of which amounts to a pretty long winded explanation as to why I am not able to provide much by way of up to date information.

Sure we have had a little bit of rain, not enough, I shouldn’t think, to materially affect the state of the streams in any way, but the wayward and unpredictable weather has left me with little in terms of concrete advice when it comes to the fishing. What I can tell you is that reports from other anglers suggest something of a mixed bag. Some reporting hatches and rising fish and others suggesting dour conditions, few moving fish, and concerns that the trout have all been consumed over winter by aliens. Well I made that last bit up, but there is nothing to make one wonder more than a few fishless hours on a beautiful and clear river. Truth be told, it is still a little unpredictable out there. The overnight temperatures are still low, the wind tends to blow or not from whatever point on the compass it feels, cold fronts swing in from the South in a last ditch effort to preserve the winter chill and all in all a visit to the water is something of a crap shoot. In the past week we have seen everything from humid ‘Berg Winds’ and thunder showers to chill evening breezes and rain. You just don’t know what to expect next

No doubt the fishing is going to settle down soon, probably about the same time as the weather does, but for now what I can say is that water levels are good to perfect and if you hit it right you are likely in for a high ol’ time.

September 17 DePoortWeather

Weather information for De Poort provided courtesy of

All that said, things have yet to reach their peak when it comes to the local trout fishing which offers me more than enough excuse to head north in favour of targeting some yellowfish on the Orange. The peak temperature in Springbok one day last week was 30°C, so summer appears to have arrived up there at least. The local trout will have to wait until my return and I do hope that by then things will have settled down because I have some guiding work to deal with immediately upon my return.

I did manage a few hours at the vice this past week , preparations for the season all too late to be honest and my focus was on tying up some midges. The net winged ones should be putting in an appearance sometime soon and it pays to be ready. Not that simple soft hackles won’t produce the goods for much of the season if correctly presented they have become something of a mainstay of my arsenal.

Hopefully I still have enough weighted nymphs to provide some ammunition on the Orange, all tied as a backup from my previous trip to Lesotho where one hopes, but cannot be guaranteed, dry fly action. I intend to revisit the Bokong River with Tourette fishing in February and there are still a few places available on that trip. February should be prime time for dry fly action on the Bokong, just right to provide an escape from what will no doubt be low and tricky water on the local trout streams. If you would like to enquire about this Cape onslaught on the yellows of the Bokong River please drop me a line on

The Bokong River does offer something very special and for us Cape Anglers, who really like clear water and dry fly fishing the venue opens up another entire universe in terms of targeting larger fish than we normally see in our home waters.

So whilst I am enjoying the sunshine in the desert and hopefully screaming reels and large yellowfish, I trust that the rivers will come on song. I figure they are due to sometime about now. Tight Lines.


This report is brought to you in the public interest by Inkwazi Flyfishing, Cape Town’s only full service fly fishing guiding operation.


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September 9th 2015

The Cape Town Fly Fishing Report                                            September 9, 2015

So here we are, over week into the season the first genuine river fishing weekend behind us and what to report?

Well I was on the lower Molenaars section of the Smalblaar River last week on what looked like a perfect day, blue sky, upstream breeze clear water and good flows.. But the fishing wasn’t matching the conditions and I worked very hard for a few fish.

The first came after just 15 minutes, a smaller than average trout for this water and actually I took a few more of similar size in the course of the day, so some fish I am sure have migrated downwards over the winter. In general the rule is the lower you go the bigger the fish and the less of them.

I did hook up with a lovely fish and they are strong as oxen after the winter and with the advantages of oxygen rich cold water to play in. This one guestimated at 18” or more managed to pull off a reverse double somersault that would have made Olga Korbut proud and in the process tangled the leader and the dropper around her body. Trying to land a strong fish in cold water pulling her in backwards is a mission and sadly at the lip of the net the line parted after simply too much abuse. I was disappointed with that, firstly because I like to let the fish go clean and unencumbered and secondly because after a very slow morning it would have been nice to actually measure her.

1stofSeason2015For me the season didn’t get off to a flying start but some nice fish in great condition anyway.

Later I did manage a large but not quite so large fish in the tail of a run, just above a rapid and did the “River Runs through it” bit following downstream for a good seventy metres or more before getting this one safely in the net. The fishing was poor and I don’t know why but those fish taken were incredibly strong as is often the case in early season. This time last year a quick check of previous blogs showed the streams to be really on fire so perhaps I just got the wrong day.

Other anglers have reported good fishing on the river and Darryl Lampert mentioned hatches throughout the day when he was on the stream. I never saw an insect on my trip so I suppose I shall just have to get out there again and make my own luck.

One concern is that although high the rivers are totally fishable and I think with the future in mind we all might rather that they were just a little less manageable for the present. If we don’t get more rain it seems that the rivers could be down on their bones perhaps even before the end of the year.

There are signs of some small amount of rain in the next forecast period and you should take note of the minimum temps if you are heading out there. It is still chilly in the mountains..

Weather information supplied courtesy of

Lakenvlei is still fishing well by all accounts although of course the focus is on the rivers for most anglers from now on. That said, if it rains, or you can’t get a beat or fancy something a bit different our premier lake is fishing exceptionally well with strong silver fish coming to the net on a pretty frequent basis.

A point raised on the CPS Facebook page recently is however worthy of mention. Although there is the concession that anglers may take two trout per day it appears that there has been some bending or even breaking of those rules so you are reminded that the limit is two fish (over 35 cm) per angler per day. If you are there for more than a day it still means two per day and not 4 on the second day.. Bookings for Lakenvlei as with the streams must be made through the CPS offices. CPS members can pay day or annual rates, visitors can obtain temporary membership to allow short term fishing of this venue. The CPS office are open from 10.00 to 16.00 on weekdays: Tel: 021 4247725

You can expect it to be at least as chilly up in the Bokkeveld as DePoort but according to the forecast no rain up there.

September 9 Lakenvlei Weather
Weather information supplied courtesy of

That wasn’t entirely the end of my fishing for the period though as I was out in the Kouebokkeveld assisting with the coaching of the WP junior teams heading for the Nationals in Rhodes at the beginning of next month. These are tremendously enthusiastic youngsters with very little experience and they have been well looked after and tutored by Douglas Romanes.

Get the boys to RhodesMany of the boys attend school at Tafelberg where Douglas is a teacher. You may have seen on the Trout Talk pages on Facebook that these lads are rather up against it in that they don’t all have the requisite tackle and funds for this competition, but they aren’t going to let that stop them. Please have a look at the Trout Talk page and see if you are able to supply any of the needs of these young men, be it unwanted or unused tackle or financial assistance. The Trout Talk members have really pulled together on this and already made a fantastic difference for these lads but some more I am sure would be very very welcome. To read the post on Facebook click here

Still more fishing to come:

What with the temptations of the Cap e Streams and Lakenvlei still on song I am going to find it a little difficult to be away. However shortly I shall be heading to a favoured spot on the Orange River for a few days targeting the indigenous yellowfish up there. This time of year can be particularly productive whilst flows are still low and visibility probably the best it will get. More on that on my return, hopefully with images of massive yellows and wonderful scenery.

Yellowfish, no matter where they are found make for some spectacular sport.

On one level though it is also a bit of practice for a planned trip back to Lesotho in February; I fished the Bokong River early this year with Tourettes and have been aching to return. So I shall be hosting a trip up there in February 22nd to 28th (excluding travel time). This really is one of the best fisheries in the world in my opinion, large fish, clear water and dry fly action. All combined with remoteness, friendly locals, gorgeous scenery and near total isolation. Anyone interesting in joining us on this trip can make contact with me on I am sure that you will be hearing more about it in future newsletters but then again the early bird catches the worm and there will be limited places, the camp will only accommodate six anglers at a time.


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September 1st 2015

The Cape Town Flyfishing Report:                                           September 1, 2015

I have to admit that I have been lax of late with the posting of flyfishing information from the Southern Tip of Africa. Not least because, to be honest, I haven’t had any fly fishing information to share. I am not sure that I have fished less over such a long period since the age of eleven , life has just sort of “got in the way”. This no doubt accounts for both the lack of writing and the imminent sense of mild desperation and depression that has afflicted my household.

I did manage a family orientated trip to the UK in the early part of the winter which offered up some fishing opportunities. Not that I was able to make too much of those on a tight schedule and tighter budget but I did manage to pass the IFFF casting instructor’s exam. Making me a bone fide “certified casting instructor”. I also hooked a gray mullet on fly, although failed to land it and added a new species. A sea bass taken off the breakwater of my home town, fishing with a very rough and hastily manufactured sand eel fly. Not a big bass but a new species, so something to smile about. I lost a larger specimen, mostly due to the hastily arranged outfit which meant tippet of far lower breaking strain than was sensible to be chucking into the surf. But sometimes one simply has to make a plan and hope for the best.


A “schoolie” sea bass, not massive but a new species taken off the North Cornish Coast.

Still brighter times are afoot, the river season opens today and one suspects that at least a few hardy souls will be out there braving the elements and testing the waters. A lovely euphemism which in this case isn’t euphemistic.. Testing the waters is indeed what it will all be about. The streams have been untouched for a long while, the fish have endured high water, cold weather and hopefully for them a bit of nookie on the side. If we are fortunate that will mean that they have, for a while at least, grown a little less wary and a tad more inclined to be more tolerant of our wayward casts, visible tippets and clumsy wading. As they say in the classics “Gentlemen, start your engines”.

The weather Gods, as has been their want over many seasons, seem to view the official start of spring as the very best of times to send forth a precipitative deluge our way and it rained and rained over the latter part of the weekend. Rain which I have to admit is much needed, we didn’t have much of a wet winter to date, and gardeners and fishermen both are more than a little concerned that we need more, even if it keeps us off the rivers for a few more weeks.

More rain now might delay the actual, as opposed to the official, start of the fishing season but then it may well assist in keeping the rivers in better condition for longer into the summer. That is at least the hope.

Apparently hanging out the washing, going camping, having a public holiday and opening the trout season are all at least as effective as any Quapaw rain dance in bringing on a cold front. But hopes are high that the season will get off to a decent start, if only because what rain we have had should have flushed out some of the sediment from the ongoing pollution problems stemming from the DuKloof Lodge complex. We hope that this season we shall have seen the back of those ongoing issues, here’s living in hope.

So the rivers remain something of a mystery right at the moment, but chances are that the water will be “up” if not indeed unfishable. Which means that you will want to be taking along some of those lovingly fashioned, and underused, nymphs with you despite the fact, that if you are like me, you are going to be hankering to throw a dry over moving water again. There comes a point where I will fish a dry, even in high water, just for the sheer pleasure of watching it float downstream on a long fine tippet, unsullied by the vagaries of the twisting currents. Small pleasures perhaps but no less important for that.

September 1 DePoort Weather

The weather forecast, courtesy of suggests that things could be very pleasant on the streams for the first week, no rain predicted and not unpleasant temperatures, although you are going to find that the overnight minimums are still pretty chill up there in the mountains, well down in single figures for the most part. Cool water and sunshine, if the water is at reasonable level some good fishing can be expected.


Of course in these parts stillwaters basically means Lakenvlei out near Ceres and although I have only fished it the once, this past weekend, at the kind invitation of Craig Thom at Stream X, but word has it that the lake has been fishing very well. It was stocked again this past month with fingerlings and those should grow on to start providing further good sport over the coming seasons.

Thanks to Garnet Prince, Graham Avery and the rest of the crew from the CPS who undertook the stocking, without this sort of contribution of time and effort none of us would be able to enjoy the fishing that we do.

The water is absolutely crystal clear and the lake full to the brim. I am talking clear enough to watch a white fly sink into the depths for over twenty seconds and still be able to make it out. Alas no quite so clear as to allow me to retrieve the net I lost overboard, so if you hook a net opposite Bob’s house please consider notifying me.  The dam remains something of a challenge though in that the fish do tend to be found in concentrations. Wonderful if you locate them and less so if you don’t. Our trip revolved mostly around fishing fishing fishing until we found some fish and then catching, catching catching, until we lost them once more in the expanse of water.

Personally I think that many of the fish congregate around concentrations of food (as would be expected) and that for the most part that food is in the form of daphnia clouds. So there seems to be a lot of water without many fish in it and some spots with plenty. Over the course of the weekend it was obvious that one would catch several fish or none. Drifting in a boat the action would switch on and off as fish were located, which once again brings back the old adage “First find the fish”.

Those fish caught by various anglers showed virtually no particular predilection for any specific fly or even colour. Black, orange, hare’s ear, Daiwl Backs, Buzzers and other flies all took fish.

On the Sunday Craig and myself, fishing in the same boat caught fish at pretty much the same time, me with Orange Boobies and Hare’s ears and Craig with Black marabou streamers. More evidence, if it is needed, that in a relatively food poor environment like this you are far better off changing locations and or lines than you are spending your afternoon working your way through the fly box, endlessly throwing different concoctions into what is piscatorially speaking barren water.

Without multiple visits over the winter months it is difficult to form any sort of pattern but Craig, an experimental and thoughtful angler does keep record and it seems that the water temperatures in the lake have jumped considerably already, something in the region of 5°C over the course of the month. Chances are that whilst the dull and wet conditions continue the fishing up there will remain good and if you have, like me, neglected this location you are still in with a good chance of some really interesting fishing. Particularly useful to know if the rivers really are not quite yet ready.

Once again thanks to Craig, Errol and Nico for being consummate hosts, and organised caterers and for inviting me to join them for the weekend. It was lovely to be on the water again and to spend some time in likeminded company.

September 1 Lakenvlei Weather

Weather for Lakenvlei, again courtesy of Temperatures look a lot more balmy than they were over the past weekend although as with the streams, you can expect some chill overnight, which will indeed assist in keeping water temperatures down for a while yet.

Over this past weekend on the brighter days we thought to expect fish deeper than we found them, so if you are up on the lake don’t be afraid to search at different levels to find them. Changing lines is one of the most important and most neglected aspects of finding fish for those in boats. Float tubers will generally be fishing much shallower than they think due to the constant kicking, either as a defined tactic of trolling or even inadvertently simply as a by-product of trying to stay stable.

Bank anglers will find the going a little tough as the water is high making movement around the dam tricky for those on foot. That said, one can have great sport from the bank, particularly in those areas where the slope is gradual enough to allow you to wade out sufficiently to provide a decent back cast.

Tight lines



The Cape Town Fly Fishing Report is brought to you in the public interest by Inkwazi Flyfishing Safaris, Cape Town’s premier full service fly fishing guiding operation. You can find out more from our website at

You can also contact Tim on to discuss guiding, fishing and arrange casting instruction.




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15th May 2015

The Cape Town Flyfishing report              Friday, May 15, 2015

Sadly there has been something of a gap in the reports, mostly because I have been too busy to be on the river and give anyone an update. Too busy or not busy enough I suppose depending on one’s point of view.

The SAFFA Senior Nationals fly fishing championships were held on the Cape waters over this previous week. By all accounts some of the anglers struggled in the low water conditions although at least the temperatures have dropped which meant that fishing proved perhaps tricky but not impossible.

Well done to Western Province who brought home the team gold medal with Gauteng North and Free State taking silver and bronze respectively. In the individual standings Ronald Smith took Gold, Luke Baker Silver and Dan Factor Bronze. Sadly those results took a bit of finding, they didn’t appear as best I could tell on any of the SAFFA website or Facebook pages which I tried. I had to work on a grainy photograph from the Boland Flyfishing page so I trust that they are correct.

Visiting angler Rob Campbell makes some carefully measured presentations to a rising fish on the Smalblaar River.

So what’s up on the rivers? It seems to me that the water has cooled and the overnight temps in the mountains are now down to single figures on many nights. Yesterday on the Smalblaar the water temperature was down to around 17 at midday, with cloudy conditions and the odd bit of sun breaking through. A recent trip out with Able Nel saw the fishing very very poor in a location where we knew there should be a lot more fish. A check of the barometer when home showed that there had been a significant falling of pressure throughout the day. We saw three fish for the day and caught all three so I figure it wasn’t our technique or flies that were out of whack.

Over the past two days with a very pleasant and affable client on the Smalblaar things were again tough. Early morning on both days saw fish moving on the top and catchable, then it would go dead as the proverbial doornail until perhaps some fish would start to show again later. The interesting part was that this would happen in “patches” such that one would fish hundreds of yards of stream without a sight of a fish and then catch three in a row. I suspect that the weather was playing a large part and certainly yesterday it seemed that when the sun broke through and the conditions seemed stable the fish would tend to “come on the bite”.

RobCampbellSmOne of Rob’s Smalblaar fish, in perfect condition despite enduring very hot conditions and low water over the past several months.

 What I can tell you is that after months of very very warm conditions, conditions far too hot to seriously consider fishing the lower beats the trout we caught were in exceptional condition. Lord knows how they manage that but they were picture perfect and fought like Trojans in the now cooler stream. In fact we were smoked by a couple of fish that took off like torpedoes..

So whilst the weather may be a bit variable and whilst that might mean a somewhat patchy day out there on the river it equally means that you are in for a high ol’ time if you can find some feeding fish.

Fly patterns didn’t seem to be overly important; we caught on small brassie style nymphs and caddis larvae, on #16 CDC and Elk patterns and #16 and #18 Olive parachutes. As is frequently the case it seemed mostly down to PRESENTATION.

The stream is still showing signs of the pollution and siltation from the hotel/fish farm complex. Not dirty but I think a tad more cloudy than it really should be and notably there is a good deal of silt in the larger and calmer pools where it has settled out leaving the bottom of the stream very dark and making spotting fish tricky. Hopefully this will resolve itself to some degree during winter floods and even more hopefully the people involved will finally stop making excuses and curtail this ongoing problem before the new season comes into effect.

The season is all but at an end with only a couple of weeks left before the rivers close down for three months. That said we are fortunate to a degree that there have yet to be any serious rains and until the flooding starts the prospects of some good angling remain excellent. If you can spare a day before now and the end of the month you are well advised to make the most of the opportunity.


Tudor’s initiatives of slide night and the “Vice Squad” meetings continue to grow and draw good numbers of people to the CPS club-rooms on social evenings. Unfortunately I had to miss out on the slide night yesterday due to guiding commitments but there will be a Vice Squad meeting in a couple of weeks. I am due to be one of the tier’s for that event so keep your eye on the CPS Facebook page and plan to drop in for one of what have proven to be very popular and dynamic get togethers of like minded anglers.

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18th April 2015

The Cape Town Flyfishing Report:   April 18th

The closing of the river season looms large on the horizon now, with little more than a month of angling left before official closure. Mind you nature frequently has the final say in these matters and it would take but a couple of serious frontal systems to sweep in from the Southern Ocean and that would be the end of things until September.

Hopefully the first rains will be gentle, not only for the fishing but because the mountains around the Cape that have been denuded as a result of the recent wild fires need time to regenerate some greenery if landslides are to be avoided. The little rain we have received to date seems to be helping and there are signs of new growth with grass shoots appearing out of the ashes and hopefully beginning to bind the soil. But we are sitting on the cusp of winter and at any point the heavens could open up and the streams transformed from lazy trickles to raging torrents.

FirstofthedayThe goal and in this case the first fish of the day.

In the first week of so of May the rivers here will play host to the South African National Flyfishing Championships and competitors must we wondering if they should prepare for low water, fine tippets and tiny flies or tungsten nymphs and Euro-tight line tactics, it is in the hands of the weather Gods and something of a crap shoot as things stand.

I was on the river on Friday, a late start and a short session. Commitments at home required that I couldn’t get away until after the commuter traffic had died down and the weather was a little unsettled with clouds scudding across the sky, variable winds and a bit of a chill in the air. Winter is on its way after all.

GoodByeSafely returned..Good Bye Fish…

I fished the lowest beat of Smalblaar River on the Molenaars section, a piece of water unvisited for months because the water temperatures would have been far too high to expect reasonable fishing. In fact any success under summer conditions would likely kill the trout in the oxygen depleted and overly hot flows so I have left them be until now.

This section is always something of a gamble, it can produce some of the best fishing and certainly the largest fish when things are good but it can equally be something of a struggle. Yesterday’s outing was more a cast of the latter than the former.

The water looked pretty clear but it is possible to see that the continuing issues of sediment release from the various ponds upstream at the hotel have coloured the water slightly, even this far down. Reports on the higher beats closers to the source of the pollution recently showed considerable discolouration.

There was a team of “working for water” guys on the banks when I arrived, they do strike me as spectacularly inefficient and as best I could tell they hadn’t managed to fell a single alien tree in the time they were in sight of me, a period of well over twenty minutes. That said they have left a tangle of felled branches along the river bank higher up, with cut trees hanging into the water in a number of previously fishable spots. One predicts a log jam downstream come the first serious winter rains.

I put the lack of activity of the fish early on to possible disturbance from these workers, but as the afternoon progressed things remained slow. There was a troublesome breeze that just wouldn’t settle such that one cast would be a forceful affair punching the fly into a nasty downstream gust and the next a soft and open loop as the now reversed gale sailed the leader too straight upstream and encouraged drag on the fly. For all that I felt that I was fishing reasonably well, actually many times that I manage to steal some personal time on the stream I don’t fish well and struggle to get back into the groove after too much guiding and not enough fishing. This time around though I wasn’t unhappy and but for the odd adjustment of the leader felt confident that if there were fish to be taken I would manage just fine.

I never saw a rise, (except to my fly), not the whole day and having covered a good number of previously productive spots and stared fruitlessly for signs of fish I finally rose one at the top of a long run. A beautifully languid and deliberate response to the small Elk Hair caddis. I managed not to overreact after so much time without interest and set the hook, landing a beautifully marked rainbow of about 14 inches with a well healed scar on its left flank, most likely the result of a close encounter with a cormorant in its youth.

Rainbow MolenaarsThe fish still seem to be in good condition despite enduring a torrid summer of very hot weather.

 It was obvious by now that this wasn’t going to be a red letter day, the sun occasionally peaked out from behind the clouds to brighten things up and I searched the water diligently with the dry fly. I really didn’t wish to fish nymphs unless I had to or I had a refusal on the dry which didn’t happen.

The next fish was a remarkably small one for this water, the fish down here tend to be larger than average and I suspect that the babies that find their way into these lower sections fall prey to the ever present small mouth bass that inhabit particularly these lower reaches of the river. He came out of a small pocket in a wide and shallow run that over the past two seasons has just started to dig out nice holding lies having been flattened during a flood a couple of winters back.

 EnergeticThe few fish caught were pretty energetic, probably a sign that the water is cooling nicely.

Then finally having fished numerous runs and pockets without so much as a sign of a fish I hooked into the best fish of the day. Probably around 16 inches, a rainbow which equally engulfed the caddis with a slow and deliberate take, the sort of take which has us anglers believing at least that the presentation was perfect and that the fish took the morsel with absolute confidence.

So that was it, three fish for the afternoon, at least I didn’t miss any and only spooked one fish which didn’t see tucked in a remarkably shallow pocket amongst the boulders. It was enjoyable, and I wasn’t unhappy with the way I had fished but the river was a long way from being on fire. Whether the numbers of trout have dropped after a very warm summer or whether it was just “one of those days” is hard to tell. However, the fish taken seemed in perfectly good condition and one suspects that the others just didn’t feel like coming out to play.

A bit of settled weather and some sunshine, perhaps a late season hatch of insects and things could change considerably. Often the last weeks, when the flows cool and the water levels rise can produce some exceptional angling. For now at least the temperatures down on the Molenaars section were running at 18°C, which is a lot cooler than things have been and with chilly nighttime temps in the mountains, dropping into single figures for the most part, the waters should continue to cool and the fishing continue to improve.

The Weather:


Weather 18th April 2015Looking up at the chart above, courtesy of, it looks like near perfect fishing conditions for trout. Alas no sign of any rain but other than that the temperatures have dropped nicely and the sunshine should allow for plenty of sight fishing opportunities.

Other news:


VICE SQUAD: Tudor Caradoc-Davies has done a tremendous job with his “vice squad initiative”. What started out as an informal get together of a few interested anglers has now revitalized the CPS clubroom’s activities. This past Thursday saw I would guestimate around thirty anglers enjoying the relaxed atmosphere of fishing talk and fly-tying demonstrations from some of the most innovative tyers and anglers in the country.

The event is a sort of hybrid between serious fly tying demonstration, informal chit chat on piscatorial matters and “Trance Party” energy as video clips of massive trout in New Zealand Rivers and the wild exploits of the Fly Bru Crew flash silently on overhead projectors. A dreamscape of fly fishing pornography flitting over the walls as the tyers pontificate on the finer points of their chosen patterns.
This time around we enjoyed Ed Herbst’s dogmatic attention to detail with his dragon fly pattern, Gordon van der Spuy’s comedic (and highly thought out) opinions on why damselflies are on the Banting Diet, Jimmy “The Haai Guy” Eagleton’s innovative sand shark pattern, A Permit Clouser from Chris Bladen, surely one of the World’s Best fish Sculptors, and a shoot-out between Nick van Rensburg and Matt Gorlei tying a squirmy wormy and a blob. Alas the youngsters were up last and I missed their demo, us old folk need our rest, particularly when planning a fishing trip the next morning but the event was a huge success and if you have yet to attend one you are well advised to do so. Keep any eye out on the Cape Piscatorial Society’s Facebook Page for details and remember that you don’t even have to be a CPS member to come along and enjoy the vibe.

Forthcoming National Fly Fishing Championships:

Please do note that the above tournament will be taking place on our rivers and at Lakenvlei from 6th to 9th May inclusive. Therefore some of the waters will not be available for fishing during that period. I just take this opportunity to wish all the anglers well and a productive, exciting competition fished in good spirit. I hope that you will enjoy the waters of the Western Cape and even should you not return home with medals and trophies I trust that you will take back fond memories of these special waters.

 Expresso Morning Show:

EwanExpressoDon’t forget that there should be a piece on fly fishing on Expresso on SABC3. I did a session with them a week or so back and the program is currently scheduled to air on April 28th..


This report is brought to you in the public interest by Tim Rolston and Inkwazi Flyfishing Cape Town’s only dedicated full service fly fishing guiding operation. You can find more information on fishing and guiding in the Cape as well as informative fly tying and fly casting books on our webpage at





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