Waters & words : a celebration of flyfishing

Current flyfishing conditions

Check in: 3 January 2021

The uMngeni, and probably every other river in the region, is blown out after all the week-end rain.uMngeni River

Check in: 29 December 2020

The upper Mooi, Bushmans and uMngeni are all running clear. Ncibidwane and Furth are introducing a little colour to the Bushmans and uMngeni respectively, below the confluences. Water temps (rivers) 19.5 or thereabouts. Air temps: HEATWAVE!

A small trout stream

Check in: 26 December 2020

The Inzinga was running full and clear and storms seemed more isolated than in the week prior….clean water in the streams seems likely. But it is HOT!

Update as at 24th December 2020.

Talk is that the upper Mooi had whopper storms around 18th 19th…two days in a row, and was to all intents, flooded. There has been rain about since, so while it might have cleared, the river is fast and full. The Bushmans is apparently the same, and a friend who went up high caught fish (on nymphs, not dries), but he said it was really full.

I was on the uMngeni at the bridge below Chestnuts on 23rd Dec, and it wasn’t really fishable….not quite anyway. The Furth stream was cleaner, and arguably fishable, and the very upper river (uMngeni) near New Forest was clean as a whistle, but like the Poort Stream, going like a steam-train.

Grantchester dam (NFFC…in the Kamberg) is, unbelievably, still not full. It seems that valley has been in a rain-shadow, which is so hard to believe if you know how much rain we have had of late. Every other dam I know of is overflowing strongly, from Underberg all the way up to Breezie Brae.

The stream temps have been around 18 to 20 degrees, but unlike the stillwaters (which have surface temps hovering around 20/21 degrees), they can drop quickly after a cool day or two. In early December I measured 15 degrees on the upper uMngeni!

As far as fishing results go: I had some really slow days between the 16th and 21st on a stillwater in the Dargle, and I have heard of plenty of blank days around, both on streams and stillwater. But amongst those are some good days. At the moment it seems to be about the weather and hitting it right. And the right weather might not be what you expect. For me on that stillwater, it was the hottest morning of the trip that the fish chose to go dilly!

Flies: Heavy stuff on the rivers to get down…Copper Johns and Troglodytes and the like. On the stillwaters: amazing hatches of dragonflies this last week, tons on those little copper beetles on the water, and winged ants hatching if you are lucky. Also, when the wind dies down, and if its humid and warm, the minnows move out of the shallows and it can be exciting.

This time of the year is highly variable, in terms of rain and temperature. It is probably best just to wing it. If you stay home waiting for conditions to be right, you may never get out, and remember, conditions up there on the trout water are often VERY different from even 20kms away, let alone Durban or Maritzburg.

The Weather:

Below are several key links regarding recent weather conditions. These give you an idea of what water levels and temperatures may be if you are planning a trip. These are all from the Kobus Botha website, which I encourage you to explore for amazing insights on weather, both past and predicted, short term and long term.

Last complete 6 months: % of long term rainfall

https://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/analysis_monitoring/regional_monitoring/3cpnp11.png

The last week’s rainfall:

https://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/analysis_monitoring/regional_monitoring/wcpcp11.png

Current rainfall over KZN: Updated every 15 minutes:

http://www.weatherphotos.co.za/rain-hourly-freestate-natal.html

And for wind and temperatures, check this out:

https://www.windy.com/-Temperature-temp?gfs,temp,-29.917,23.862,6,a:FqFF3