Greetings to all our members,
Spring has truly arrived in the Queenstown area with some rain and a few storms. Not much to show in dam levels though the ground is now primed for big rains. Also, the temperatures are varied from freezing to 30+ as the weeks go by. Water temperatures are still below 10 which seems to keep the fish off the bite and the water is clear enough to watch the large trout sail by without even a blink at the flies so temptingly offered.
Our dam levels are low where pivots have been plumbed in (this applies to four dams) and the trophy dam at Snowden has not had a decent inflow in the last since 2010, However, 62+ cm fish are regularly caught in the remaining 1/3 of the water. At the same time, the two bottom dams of Birds River are full and are clear of weed to a large extent. However, regular members are having a hard time to even get a knock, this when the fish are clearly visible. Hopefully, there will be a change when October arrives.
The Committee has negotiated to take on three more dams to extend our available waters. George Smith’s dam a little way past Pine Grove has been overflowing all year, as it is furrow fed. It is 8.5 hectares in surface area. In the past, this dam has provided excellent fishing and drew people from afar who were looking for the big fish. It has been stocked with yearlings, which were rising and leaping as we left on the first evening. This dam should also provide yellow Fish for the discerning among us. It is planned to open the dam for members mid-year 2017. There is also excellent accommodation available right on the edge of the dam. There is space for up to 7 people.
The next dam which has been stocked is Snowden 1 on Table View Farm. Kevin & Carl Miles are very excited at the stocking of this dam. It is the first of the Snowden dams, set in the veldt with the mountain side as a catchment. The surface area is 6.5 hectares. There is no erosion and the water is consequently clear. This is the first stocking of this particular dam and should see fast growth in the fish. The Miles family are keen to develop the accommodation alongside their large second dam which contains Bass. We will keep you informed as to when this is ready.
The third dam is Modderbult 76, 26 Ks outside Molteno and has been stocked this month. It is about 8 hectares and up to 8 metres deep. This is a virgin dam of long standing and should develop into a major asset. There is an old farmhouse just round the corner which the van Zyl’s are keen to renovate. This has three bedrooms and will be choice accommodation for parties of fishermen and families.
Each of the new dams should be producing 1 to 1.5 kg fish by midyear 2017. Within five years they should be producing trophy fish of note.
Special thanks to the stocking team who have twice in September, left Queenstown at 5 am for the Rhodes University Hatchery and returned 7pm in the evening. Spur Burgers fresh from the stove and extra ice were very welcome as we passed through Queenstown on the way to the dams. A new 500-litre tank will be arriving for future stockings. Together with the existing 1000 litre tank we are well set up for future action.
The 2016 Gathering
The conditions for the Gathering were varied as on the first day the wind pumped. Then the second day dawned clear and calm resulting in some excellent fishing. Entrants from Joburg and Port Elizabeth and some local members had a most enjoyable three days with a braai to end the first day’s fishing and then the Prize Giving Dinner at Aloe Grove to complete the experience. As usual local businesses were very generous with prizes and everyone won on the evening. Tom Ditmer won the Trophy for the longest fish at 64 cm and also the longest bag at 3.38 metres with 6 fish.
At the Dinner, we drank a toast to Roy Stewart who died a week or so before the Gathering. He and his wife had attended every Gathering since they started.
Rhodes University and the Winterberg Hatchery are showing a dramatic percentage hatch of Thrift and Ventnor fish spawn as the photo shows. This promises a good supply of prime fry and fingerlings later in the year when the rains arrive.
We have dropped in membership this year and that is quite understandable. However, the subscriptions are our main source of income for stocking. The database of membership records around 100 members. Paid-up membership is around 60. The non-paid membership is a concern, and although we would love to keep communication open with all on the database, your committee will have to start trimming non-paid members soon. Please feel free to let me know what your thoughts are.
One of our very keen members Darren Boucher has launched a junior section with 8 members at Queens College Junior. They have had their first outing and managed to catch a couple of respectable fish.
Please take this as notice that the AGM will take place on Wednesday 23rd of November at the Queenstown Golf Club at 6.30 pm Sharp.
It is always good to welcome members at the AGM and to encourage new members. Apologies can be sent to me via Whatsapp or email.
This is set as a two-day event running from 29th June until 1st July. There was a wide-ranging discussion of the possible dates and the consensus was Winter and out of the main school holiday. Schools break up that week. Please book the date for next year. The Gathering this year saw a small group of dedicated fishermen having a wonderful time on the waters.
Many of you know Martin and all the work he has put into producing fish which are renown worldwide for their fighting spirit. The stockies which went into our new dams were rising and leaping within five minutes of being in their new environment. They had also fanned out over 100 metres in half an hour.
We need to compliment Martin and Quintus Hahndiek who runs the Grahamstown office of Deaet for their constructive assistance on the stocking of our new dams. With some very helpful local assistance ( Jenny Hansen at the survey office) all the needed details of map references and GPS and surface area etc were duly collated.
The legal team of FOSAF have continued the fight to keep trout as one of the fish available for flyfishers. This has been a long and drawn out battle with some determined resistance within the DEAET. Membership of FOSAF gives the organisation more clout and power. Please consider joining as a member. fosaf.org.za is the website which is full of helpful information.
Tight Lines for the new season, Reg.