Before the arrival of a trip away, Fly-fisherman – like any other fisherman- become fixated to the weather channel. Fly-fishing at high altitude is packaged with inherent risk. Regardless of the time of year, Lesotho is notorious for throwing all manner of weather at you in one day. However, if one fishes long and hard enough, every now and again the balance of good fortune tips in your favour. Fresh memories of relentless downpours, impassable rivers and treacherous conditions dissolved away as lady luck paid us a memorable visit.
Yes, Lesotho treated us well this year and conditions up in Kubelu valley were as near as perfect can be. Autumn is my favourite season and the drive up to Lesotho’s Kubelu valley at this time of year is as pretty as it gets. Brightly coloured cosmos lines the road side framed by kaleidoscope of autumnal reds, oranges and
yellows in the background. There is keen activity wherever one looks. Throughout the cavernous slopes vast herds of sheep and goats make their way down towards the more forgiving valley floors. Country folk are gathering firewood and farmers are bringing in the last of the seasons harvest. This hive of activity filters right down to the smallest birds and mammals. Trout are no different, feasting on the last hatches before the bleakness of winter. In my books this is river fishing at its best!
Autumn is my favourite time of year for many reasons. Roaring log fires and the mosaic of autumnal colours certainly rank high but fly fishing for mountain trout remains hard to beat! Quite frankly given the choice, I’d probably go missing somewhere around the beginning of March and reappear somewhere before the onset of May.
Last year’s journal of the Kubelu season made for interesting reading; however bear little resemblance to this season’s input and illustrate just how much two consecutive seasons can vary. Our records show that last season – a high water year – Trout were well distributed throughout most runs, riffles and glides with pools playing 2nd fiddle to the fast water. Turn everything on its head and you’d get something close to what we found up there this year. The Kubelu – although a tad on the thin side – remained very fishable indeed. It was a case of changing our approach and slowing things down a bit. If last year was all about the ‘voss’ water (cascading runs, rapids and the faster white water), this year was all about the pools. We took a number of nice fish up to 12” amongst the deepest runs; however concentrating on the deepest pools produced some serious fish up to 18” (46 cm). Sightfishing conditions were as good as they are going to get up there but approaching within casting distance remained a challenging process. Even the daftest trout can prove tricky in thin water. However, the Kubelu’s strain of rainbow trout have survived and evolved in the most hostile mountain environs over several decades making these fish genetically predisposed to being hellishly skittish!
14 ft leaders whittled down to fine points, coupled with stealth and good team work remained the order of the day. For the dredger and streamer brigade the deep pools offered plenty of action with some serious fish to boot! Of pattern choice, small brightly coloured orange stimulators did well on
top with sparsely tied Zak’s taking most of the accolades below.
With a very healthy number of larger than average trout encountered, next year is bound to be an exciting one!
For more details on the Lesotho Trout Trekking options please email: email@example.com or call 033 343 2182