Dullstroom guide Nathan Pahl gives us a handful of useful tips for flyfishing stillwaters in warm weather.

Mornings are for margins
Early, low light conditions call for a floating line and careful work in the margins. Start with a long (12-16ft) leader with a dry-and-dropper setup or (what often does the trick around Dullstroom) a skinny damsel imitation.

Middle of the day = mid waters

As the sun gets higher change to an intermediate line and, depending on how long you want to be out there, later change to a di3. Remember, with warm temperatures the rip-n-strip isn’t necessarily the best retrieve. If fish are lethargic they’re not going to readily chase prey, burning up the few calories they have left.

Brown Trout Dullstroom


Fly choice

Make sure you’re stocked up on damsels, red eyed damsels, papa roaches in olive and brown, philoplume dragons in brown, olive and black, Zonkers in black, olive and grey and a few good old woolly buggers – all of the above in at least two sizes each. Apart from your wets, be sure to include a selection of nymphs. Beaded, non-beaded, brass beads and tungsten beads. Sizes 14-18.

Indicator or bust

A good selection of dries can serve a dual purpose. Use some bigger more buoyant dries to act as an indicator for your dropper, and some emerger patterns in sizes 14-18. Always make sure your leader is about 12ft for this rig. And remember, the clearer the water the smaller the fly. Follow that advice and you’re sure to catch something!

angler holding a rainbow trout caught in Dullstroom

Rest and release
When you’ve finally hooked that fish, fight it as hard and as quickly as possible. Once in the net, let that fish rest for a minute before lifting her out of the water for a photo, this allows any lactic acid build up to settle – helping the fish swim off strong and ready to fight another day.