At the moment my bucket list of South African fishing destinations is not that long, but inevitably as you tick one off, another is added. All but one of my fishing bucket list places revolve around catching trout. This week I ticked one of them off my list, and for once it was not trout I was after. It was Scalies in a seldom fished and remote river.
My current fishing bucket list is as follows:
1: Hlolohatsi River in northern Lesotho. This is the last Lesotho river that rises on the top of the Drakenbsberg that I have not yet fished. There are several tributaries to fish and this would require at least a week to fish properly. I have good reason to believe that this may be one of the best of them all.
2: The Ketane River in South Western Lesotho. Judging by Google Earth, this looks a truly spectacular gorge to explore.
3. The Gairezi and Pungwe Rivers in the in the Eastern Highlands of Zimbabwe. These are legendary trout rivers that are seldom fished these days. They have some extremely remote sections of river that are calling my name.
4. The Wolkberg Nature Reserve. I have reason to believe that there may be a trout or two in this remote and spectacular wilderness area. I have only driven through the area, but the mountains on the northern and Easter side look amazing. The altitude of some of the small forested streams is high enough for trout. I heard from someone who heard from someone that there may be trout up there. At least it would be an epic hike to get there.
All of the above destinations are to catch trout. The final on on my list was the lower Mtamvuna gorge to catch Scalies. What attracted me to this location was it’s relatively inaccessibility and beauty. Scalies are great fun to catch on fly, and I have not paid them enough attention in my fishing.
Meg (my sister), Rob and Eva have been staying for a week on the farm. Rob has been on many a fishing adventure with me and he insisted we head into Lesotho for a night out. While drinking coffee at 5 am before hitting the road, Rob realized he had forgotten his passport. I took this as a reason to head towards warmer climes and try catch a scaly.
I took this opportunity to head towards the coast and explore the lower Mtamvuna Gorge. The Mtamvuna River is the southern limit of the Scalies range. I have heard of good scalies being caught much higher up, but the section of the river in the Mtamvuna Nature Reserve is where I wanted to fish.
The valley is every bit as spectacular as I imagined it to be, it’s just unfortunate that the bigger fish didn’t seem to be present. Aside from the fishing, this gorge has to have huge potential for the adventurous white water kayaker. I have a few mates who do this sort of thing, maybe I need to get them on to it.
I will let the pictures tell the rest of the story.