Surviving the drought

Posted on Mon May 1, 2023 in Fly fishing and Fly Fishing for trout.

The majority of South Africa, and specifically the Eastern Cape, has just survived quite a severe drought. When your business is fishing, it has quite an impact!

We hesitate to say that we are completely out of the woods when it comes to rain, but it should be noted that we are in the Karoo, an arid part of South Africa, and rain is very unpredictable.  Having said that, the last major drought broke in about February 2022, with some stunning rains, and dams that we hadn't stocked since 2014 becoming viable again.  It was incredible to be able to stock the trout again in May 2022, and this year we went on an exploratory trip to see how they were doing.

Several of the Bankberg Trout Fisher's Club dams and river sections produced some exciting results, with both Rainbow and Brown trout doing exceptionally well.  Some of them were only around 38cm long (around 1 kg), but we managed to land one of 64cm long, a whopping 3.4kg!  The average is around 50cm long.  These fish were stocked at 9cm, a year ago.  Yes, one year ago!

But that is not what this story is about.  This story, is about the beauty that managed to survive the drought.  She was a staggering 69cm, weighing in at 4kg!  This beauty was not stocked in May 2022.  She must have survived the drought, in a little pool in the river, which makes her an absolute super hero.  Can you imagine, with no water running into the pools, that she managed to survive, and continue to grow to this beautiful specimen? Alan really does not like using a glove to hold a trout as he has found that it removes slime from the fish, but she was so strong that he couldn't hold onto her without it.  He wet the glove thoroughly before holding the fish.

The photos really don't do her justice.  She must be one of the most beautiful Rainbow trout that we have ever seen, with deep red, and stunning pink colouring in her fins.  What a privilege to have seen this amazing fish, and even more so, to release her to fight another day.

We will be back, and hopefully, we'll catch a glimpse of her again.