Andre shows off a well conditioned Lesotho Mountain Trout
With the first major cold fronts of the season making their way across the “mountain kingdom” the Tourette Fishing guests and guides have sadly said goodbye to the rivers and big skies of Lesotho for the time being. We are looking forward to getting back in November.
As is the norm with fishing high altitude rivers for wild trout, no two seasons are the same, and 2013 bought its own set of challenges and rewards. The first trip of the season had the crew arriving on the river in high spirits. Water levels were up slightly, but water clarity and temperature was good, giving close to ideal conditions. The four anglers on the week from the
Picture perfect conditions great anglers to the mountain kingdom
Jacaranda Fly Fishing Club in Pretoria; Renier, Wayne, Brom and Butch were all eager to get started and fished the first evening around the base camp.
Heading into the first morning and the start of the pony trek, it was apparent that few fish were holding in the pocket water, and the fish that were around were holding deeper than expected. This forced a change of tactic as some nymphs were added to the arsenal. The norm being sight fishing, or fishing to actively rising fish with dry flies. Guests fished combination dry and dropper rigs in the faster glides and pockets, and changed over to tandem nymphs under indicator to target the bigger fish holding deep at the heads of the pools. Some of the glides over solid bed rock
stealth and accurate casting are crucial when targeting trout in Lesotho clear and skinny mountain streams
substrate held good numbers of fish that were eager to come up to the dry fly. And in these situation guests took full advantage taking multiple fish from a run all on dry flies. Theses sets of conditions persisted for the week with roughly 60% of the 90 fish landed coming up to a dry, with the rest being taken on nymphs under indicator or swung attractor flies.
Apart from the great company, super weather and fantastic fishing, this trip was also a memorable one in that it was the first time in 4 seasons we have had guests purchasing a sheep from local herds man, have it butchered local style, and cooked over the coals! Fresh free range lamb, as organic as it gets
Mid season the weather threw a bit of a curve ball in the form of unstable and rainy conditions leading up to
Wayne from Jacaranda Fly Fishing Club getting in on the dry fly action
the trips. This caused difficult fluctuations in water levels for the guests all the way from America; Brian, Phil and Juan, and guides to deal with. Late March and early April traditionally being the most stable part of the season, this was disappointing, but thanks to the upbeat spirit of the group, and some hard work from fisherman and guides the trip ran smoothly and some good fish were landed. The last two full days in particular produced some great fishing as the water conditions improved significantly and the team were able to sight fish some of the better pools. The beauty of fishing high altitude streams is they drop and clear quickly after rains, which would otherwise cause lower altitude streams to cloud over for a couple of days.
Early morning camp life, rising with the sun and waiting for the kettle to boil and fish to start feeding..
The last trip of the season saw conditions very similar to the early season trips, with high pressure, clear skies and great water clarity, plus the added bonus/challenge of very skinny water. Reports from Andy were the conditions were as close to perfect as you could imagine. The conditions stayed like this for the duration of the trip offering Andre, Leda, Scott and Platon from Cape Town a truly exceptional Lesotho Trout Trekking experience. The skinny clear water made careful stalking and delicate presentations a prerequisite to converting sighted fish into netted fish! There were more fish in the pocket water this week than there had been for the season, but the bigger fish were all taken in the deeper runs and pools. Dry flies and sight fishing was the name of the game as the
Leda in on the action with a solid Trout
guides and guests enjoyed Lesotho trout fishing in all her splendor.
A quick note on flies that did the job over the season. On the dry fly front, terrestrial and attractor patters such as hoppers, stimulators and yellow DDD’s were always hot on the menu, though at times less obtrusive patterns such as rabs, parachute admas and klinkhammer variations had their place. Pheasant tail nymphs and Zak nymphs, with gold and hot orange tungsten beads in size 14 and 16 where top of the nymph list. These fished under heavy squirrel and GRHE nymphs in a New Zealand rig. When conditions dictated (higher water in the mid and early season) attractors swung down and across accounted for some good fish.
Ala “Hank Patterson” this could well be a Lesothobow trout, and a well conditioned one at that
The average size fish of the season was up from previous season, with most fish in the 8 – 11 Inch range. As per previous seasons a couple of fish in the 15 – 20plus inch were hooked and landed with some brutes that we could only guess the size of getting away. Interestingly there were very few fish in the 6 Inch and below class. This suggests a poor spawn last winter, and simultaneously hints towards better growth rates for current fish and a very healthy trout population. This was evident in the excellent condition of the fish, all being fat and well shaped like little rugby balls! Next year should produce a good range of fish in the 13 – 16inch range.
On a separate note, we have some really exciting developments coming up for the 2013/14 season, so keep an eye out on the FB page and our newsletters, you don’t want to miss this if you are after unique world class sight fishing venues!
Cheers for now
Keith, Andy, Bongi and the TF Lesotho Crew
What some of the season guests had to say:
Just wanted to say a massive thank to Keith Clover, and Andrew Danckwerts at Tourette for an incredible Lesotho Trout Trekking trip… tough to describe what an incredible trip we had, and words or pictures, even those as fantastic as Scott Newman’s pics, just can’t do it all justice… pure magic and I know for a fact
Lesotho Trout Trekking Night Life
myself and Leda will be back, hopefully with Platon and Scott again too… Many thanks! Andre from CT