The year has been marked by excellent rains in the beginning months of the year. Pine Grove after a good number of years ran over the top of the new spill way. The wall was raised 3 metres some 8 years ago. The bid fish survived and have been regularly caught. However this time of the year has again started with no spring rains and where pivots are working the levels are consequently down by fifty percent.
due to the unavailability of fish from Ventnor and Grahamstown we sourced fish from Giants Cup in Underberg at Easter. The journey back is a story in itself. We were able to stock our main dams with these fingerlings and they are now coming out at 30 cm and longer. However, it is quite a mission and we easily forget just how blessed we have been with local hatcheries.
Ed Truter arranged for a load of Brown trout to be brought to Gubu which had shrunk in size from 3 cm to 2 cm much to his annoyance. We took around 2000 which we were able to put into an established dam which was unstocked. So far this has not been checked but that will be done before Christmas.
The plans are for a stocking with Ventnor fry before Christmas on most dams.
All the dams have produced good sized fish during the year. The top Birds River dam at Ed Clark’s was closed over September due to pressure. Everyone visiting wants to fish that dam. The fish are now determined to stay well within the weed cover and not emerge if possible. The trophy dam at Snowdon filled well in the January rains and is fishing well.
Uncle George’s dam at Indwe is proving to be an exceptional dam. In the past this was a dam of national repute and the photos in the cottage alongside display both well-known fishermen and their catches. This is the third year of stocking and fishing. The average large fish is 58cm and a regular catch return in the twenties is quite usual. It can only continue to improve.
This year saw a new main sponsor in place who has confirmed for the next Gathering in 2019.
The weather was kind this year and great catches were recorded from all the dams. Some 20+ entrants has a great time and the income boosted our stocking funds well. There is always great discussion at the Gathering and at subsequent committee meetings around the best time of year for the Gathering. It boils down to the same time of year and the 2019 will run from Thursday 4th to Sat 6th July.
The catches in all the dams have been remarkable and two of over 4 kg from Ed Clark’s dam did not survive. They were subsequently mounted and look fantastic, a cock and a hen. All the dams are producing 65cm + fish and the stockies add fun to any days fishing.
There is now a closed period from mid-January to the end of February due to the extreme temperatures at that time of year. The survival rate of caught fish is very low.
For the second year we have had a team from Rhodes University working to harvest eggs and fertilizing them for hatching in the University hatchery. Peter Britz and his team of honours students spent a few days at George’s dam catching fish and stripping eggs. They collected a good number of eggs. The local otter had fun with the keep nets and damaged a few of the fish overnight.
Sadly issues at the hatchery saw the hatchlings die. This is as Martin says a major learning curve and we are happy to continue in the hope we will one day see a successful restocking from the harvested eggs,
The members of the committee are a hard working bunch and share most of the work which makes the role of Chair manageable and very interesting. The club is richly blessed with the dedication and experience which resides within this body.
At last year’s AGM it was resolved to pursue the idea of every member being a FOSAF member and that QFFC fully supported the concept. Now FOSAF has moved to embrace the idea, the invoices for the New Year will reflect this new way of operation. It effectively gives full FOSAF members a R 150.00 rebate on our club subscriptions. Add to that the discount of R 50.00 for paying before the end of Feb and you save R 200.00. Hence Fosaf will cost only R 100.00 !!! For most members it will mean that they will automatically become members of FOSAF on paying their annual membership fee.
We are extremely grateful to FOSAF and in particular the legal team for the continued engagement with the DEA and DAFF at all levels to ensure that trout continue to be available in our waters both running and still. It has been a hectic year and no doubt will continue to be so for quite some time.
Our grateful thanks also go to martin and Matthew and Delise Morgan for their work at Ventnor Hatchery. The journey has been very eventful ever since the dream began to become reality. We are looking forward to stocking this year with the fry and young fish they have successful bred.
Reg Morgan Chair. 4th Nov 2018