The country as a whole has not experienced rains like this in many years. With the Vaal and Orange in flood, dams overflowing across the land, this past month we’ve seen some serious water; but how has this affected trout country?
Areas around Dullstroom have received upwards of 400ml of rain, which is crazy to say the least, but long overdue. The question is however, has it made a difference to the fishing?

The last few months have been rather hot, too hot in fact, and, as you may know, trout do well in waters up to 18 degrees Celsius, however the last couple months have been pushing 20 plus. Despite the rain we’ve had, most dams are still very warm as they don’t have a proper inflow, such as a stream (which is the biggest factor in cooling down a dam).
That is all changing however and temperatures (both the air and the water) are cooling, waking up the trout from their heat-induced stupor.

All of that being said, make no mistake about it, fish are still coming out – by those who adapt to the conditions. It was by no means difficult or complicated and hinged on two basic strategies:

Low and slow 

This is a typical technique associated with Summer fishing but let me explain why. As the waters warm up, they begin to lose oxygen. The less oxygen, the more lethargic the trout become, forcing them to conserve energy. They obviously look for the coolest water which is typically closer to the bottom of the dam and they will NOT be willing to chase after a Woolly Bugger stripped at pace. So, slow everything down. Fish naturals such as damsels, dragons and minnow or tadpole patterns. The advantage of warmer water is more food, so take advantage if this. Look in the margins and shallows and try match what you see in colour and size.

Flyfishing for trout in Dullstroom, South Africa

Static but windy
The other effective option is to fish a floating line with a team of nymphs. But, in order for this to be effective you only want to be fishing this way when its windy, as the wind will aid your line in drifting and therefore adding movement to you flies. Number one, your flies will look more natural and more importantly, you’ll cover plenty water like this.

The idea is as follows:
Add 1m of tippet to your 9ft leader. Once you’ve attached your tippet, leave one of the tags, this will be your dropper. On your dropper you’re going to fish either a smaller or lighter fly such as an Epoxy Buzzer or unweighted GRHE. On point, you’ll fish your heavier fly such as a Tungsten PTN or Hare and Copper. This fly will pull your rig down to the bottom. Once you’re rigged up, you want to be casting up and across, in other words, if the wind is blowing left to right, cast at a 45% angle into the wind, this will set you up for a drift.

Flies to use for trout fishing in South Africa

While fishing deep and slow is the norm, super early or late sessions could see some surface action, never go without your Dry Fly box.

To detect a take, you can either fish an indicator such as a yarn indicator or Thingamabobber, or you can simply use a slow figure of eight retrieve the whole time, watching the end of your line closely. But experiment to see which one works best for you.

fly fishing for rainbow trout

Beautifully-conditioned rainbow trout

As the temperatures cool, fish will become more active, get in touch to find out what is working on our private waters or, book for one of our up-coming trout clinics, here.