Low Tide in the Karoo

June 2016

 2017-11-06 09:42 AM by

If you want to sight fish for yellowfish, you either have to get lucky in KZN or the Eastern Cape, or you could plan to fish at low tide in the Karoo.

Every winter, the tunnel that feeds water from the Gariep dam into the the Fish River is closed for maintenance.
This means that the water slows down rapidly, clears up, and the fish concentrate in pools.

The 800 km from Cape Town seems far, but the journey is not long if you stop for breakfast, coffee, coffee, lunch, and tea.
Our intrepid group settled in for the evening at the Angler and Antelope, we went through the options available to us over the next three days.
While there are some excellent trout still waters in the area, we opted to give those a miss and concentrate on the unique fishing that the area offers .

Waiting for the man, and for the sun to warm us up a little.

The first thing we opted for was to tackle yellowfish in clear water, and Alan took us on a trek into a bleak dry area that looked like it had no water at all.
But water there was, and plenty of fish. With the water being low the fish were spooky, so a stealthy approach was rewarded with a fish.

karoo yellowfish



karoo flyfishing yellowfish

My first karoo yellow, and another nice specimen by Brian Maartens, caught in the Little Fish River two days later.

The following day was a trip to a mountain stream that would have not looked out of place in the Cape or KZN. The track leading to the parking lot went through a huge old growth forest with giant olive and yellowood trees.

karoo trout fishing karoo fly fishing
A trout from the waterfall pool. A fisherman is dwarfed below the falls.

It is certainly hard to believe that you are in the middle of a desert. The trout are extraordinarly good looking, the water clear and fish abundant in the pools.

The next river on the agenda was the Great Fish River, but after spending a few hours in some good looking water, no-one had caught anything, so Alan moved us to the Little Fish River where we were able to catch a few yellows while he braaied the lunch.

angler and antelope bar whisky angler and antelope food

The pub and dining room of the Angler & Antelope which is in an old Catholic Church (The spirit still lingers). A special treat from Annabelle for a well behaved group of guys, lemon roulade.

The food is of course legendary, no matter what you order, you will be delighted.

kuduA word of advice

Don't fall asleep under a tree, if you are lucky it is just a kudu looking at you,
It could just as well be a leopard inspecting the tear in your waders.



What else to do in the area.

Somerset East has the Batiss museum which is worth a visit if you are art inclined. There are antique shops in all the little towns along the way. If you are taking family with you, they may want to spend the day at the Mountain Zebra Park looking for cheetah. There is excellent mountain biking, birding, walking and hunting. Mohair products are popular and so is the meat. Our group returned with a sheep and a warthog. If you like venison, let me know, they ship to Cape Town on a weekly basis.

This is something that should be on every fly fishers bucket list.

Expectations vs Reality

fly fishing in the karoo flyfishing in the karoo fly-fishing in the karoo

#SouthAfrica #Karoo #Flyfishing