Ongoing conservation, fishing reports, killer flies and winter goodies


Having run trips on the Lowest reaches of the Orange River since 2018, we’ve come to know the resource and fishery better than most. Seeing the increase of illegal gill netting over the past couple of years was a call to action, an issue that couldn’t be ignored both from a conservation and safety point of view. Over the past 5 months the SAN Park rangers in the Ai-Ais/Richtersveld Transfrontier Park, that we have equipped have been hard at work in patrolling, and actively removing and burning any illegal nets in the park. This however leaves an 80km stretch of river exposed to netting outside of the park, because of this we’ve been working to help drive a collective buy in from landowners and operators in the area to contribute to a structured budget to fund Zizabona Security, a Namibian based company that has been tasked with cleaning up this section of the river.
Strategically breaking the stretch into different sections, their team have been scouting the river for illegal nets. Having recently run an operation, numerous nets were removed and burnt by the Zizabona team. Along with a handful of operators we have contributed funds for lengthy on river operations, as well as donating polaroid eyewear, multitools and SPF clothing to make their work easier. Now covering more than 150km of river with various teams, we have no doubt this effort will have a massive positive impact on the Orange River moving forward. A chance for the resource to once again thrive.


Our tagging project on Pongola is constantly providing us with data and information that further aids with the research we’ve been doing on our South African population of tigerfish, however, sometimes one just needs to take a closer look. Two seasons ago we came across what is most likely the largest recorded tigerfish in South Africa, weighing in at 19.8lbs and measuring a total length of 80cm with a girth of 59cm, this old girl was an amazing find, despite the unfortunate condition we found her in. She had succumbed to a ruptured egg sack leading to septicaemia and ultimately death. We kept her to do an autopsy which would later reveal her age. By preserving and analysing her otolith (inner ear bone) the researchers from Rivers of Life were able to determine that she was roughly 16 years old, a great discovery and one of many moving forward.


With winter knocking on our doorstep, both Dullstroom and Clarens are looking at a great season ahead. With water temperatures rapidly dropping, the cold, wet weather has been a welcome change to the dry, hot summer we’ve had.
Our Clarens season, which includes our Trophy Mountain Lake over and above the Ash River, kicked off strong this month. The Ash has produced fantastic days on the water both in terms of numbers and size of fish, as well as many a craft gin drunk!
Our Bird of Prey Trophy dam will open on the 24th of May and Long Meadow Farms on the 1st of May, with the recent fishing reports from our other waters in Dullstroom, this could be the best season we’ve had in a long time. Not having seen a fisherman in months, we are expecting many a personal best to be broken on our trophy dam come May, and that goes without saying on the Long Meadow Farms. Tested recently after Easter, without fail, possibly some of the best quality trout in Dullstroom consistently come to the net on these waters. Managed by Mavungana Flyfishing, always guided and only open in the cooler months; these properties offer the best stillwater fishing experience in the province. 
DullstroomOrange riverPongolaTigerfishTroutYellowfish