Fly Fishing Dullstroom, South Africa

by | Nov 25, 2018 | fly fishing Dullstrom South Africa | 1 comment

flyfishing AfricaI managed to beat the jetlag the first two days here in South Africa.  That’s because we’ve been so busy.  But when Daniel Factor knocked on my door at Nooitgedacht Lodge at 4:05 AM this morning my body rebelled.  I didn’t know where I was and dang sure didn’t want to wake up.  But then I remembered, we had access to huge rainbows on private water near Dullstroom the hours of 6 AM till 9 AM.  We had to get moving!


Jonathan Boulton fly fishingWhile I don’t know the name of this water, the keeper is Jonathan Boulton, owner of Mavungana Flyfishing.  Jonathan is another of my many South African friends going back to 2007 when we met while fly fishing for Nile Perch on Lake Nasser in Egypt.  Jonathan is not in town now and we hope to catch up later this week in Johannesburg.  However, he very generously gave us access to this seldom fished dam (Dan lives here and has never gotten access before!)


trout fishing in AfricaAfter the hour drive from the Lodge to Johns store, we met his manager, John Thoabala at 5:45 AM.  Then we made the short drive to the small African reservoir.  The sun was rising and in an instant it was hot (the reason we have to be done by 9 so we don’t stress the trout in the heat).


Parachute Madam XThough a deep little dam, Jonathan requested floating lines only and I opted straight dry fly.  I put on a size 8 black Parachute Madam X on a long 12’ 1X leader.  I slowly moved my way through the tall grass along its banks hoping to see a rise or spot a cruiser.


Mavungana Fly FishingThere were very few fish rising.  Naturally, because I was on one side, I’d see a random rise on the other.  I reached a point and stationed myself there.  I had my line stripped out ready to launch.  Then it happened.  A subtle rise – nose only.  I made my cast and instantly when my fly touched the water a large trout sipped it and I was on.


Jeff Currier flyfishing AfricaThe lake has huge rainbows and this one showed himself with a quick jump.  It was easily 23 inches long and fat.  With the heat a threat to the trouts health, I fought him like he was a giant trevally and got him to hand in less than two minutes (I love 1X!).  John snapped this quick photo and I released him.  Great way to start the day!


Huge Trout AfricaDespite the big fish, fishing was slow and got slower as the temperature rose.  By 7 AM I’ll bet the temperature was 75°.  At 8 it was easily 80°.


I watched in the distance as Dan guided Jerry.  They were crawling nymphs behind the floating line.  They managed one early also and it looked big too.  It was about a half hour after my first when I saw the next rise.


Jeff Currier trout fishing DullstroomThis next fish was out of reach but like running down a permit on the flats, I ran to within range.  It was a smart move because the rainbow rose again and I got my cast off.  The trout didn’t find my fly instantly like the first but I left my PMX and waited.  Nearly a minute later came the sip.  Fish number two was the fattest, largest rainbow I’ve caught since the heydays on my secret rivers of the southwestern part of Yellowstone!


Mavungana FlyfishingJerry and I landed three fish each and all were big.  The private lake was a gem and I wished we could’ve stayed longer because 9 AM came fast.  After, we went to Jonathans fly shop and John showed us around.  If you ever make it to Dullstroom, South Africa and want to fish you can book Daniel as your guide and pay to play on the lake we fished this morning or on one of Jonathans other private waters.


flyfishing Dullstroom DamIt was only 10 AM by the time we left the Mavangana Flyfishing Shop and I felt like we’d already had a full day.  But there’s not time for rest and off we went to the Dullstroom Dam.


The Dullstroom Dam is the third venue included in the February 2019 World Masters Fly Fishing Championships.  The last couple days we did the Nooitgedacht Dam and the Spekboom River.  This is a much larger reservoir than Nooitgedacht and at a glance appeared it would take some searching for the fish.  We launched Dans raft and off we went.


flyfishing AfricaDaniel has fished here numerous times in his life and knows the lake like the back of his hand.  Nonetheless he explained that each visit he takes the first hour and plays with lines in order to find the depth the fish are at and changes flies like crazy.  Dan is big on “cracking the code”.  I used my Stillwater Intermediate and a couple buggers and pulled the first fish of Dullstroom ten minutes in from the top of a weed bed in less than a foot of water.  I brought him in so fast on my 0X leader he was still strong and he slipped away before we clicked a picture.


flyfishing DullstroomWe caught some hefty fish over the next two hours.  The fish in Dullstroom Dam are much bigger than what we saw on Nooitgedacht Dam and the Spekboom River.  By 1 PM we needed lunch and we hit a pub in town.  What’s nice about the Dullstroom Dam is that its 1 mile from downtown.


Dullstroom Dam South AfricaIn the afternoon we went back out and fished until 6 PM.  We continued to fish the shallows where the creek enters the lake.  Its so shallow up there that both Jerry and I switched to floating lines.  I kid you not, we landed nearly 20 more fish!  Here’s Jerry with his biggest of the day.


Jeff Currier Dullstroom South AfricaI don’t want to jinx our February trip but after today I can honestly say, the Dullstroom Dam is phenomenal fishing and we should catch plenty of fish during the tournament here.  If there’s any problem at all its that the rainbows are huge and take time to land.


We are staying in Dullstroom tonight.  Dan led us to his favorite restaurant and I crushed a famous steak.   It was damn good.  Tomorrow we’ll fish Belfast Dam which is the fourth of the 2019 competition waters.


beer steins with fish artChristmas is around the corner.  DON’T FORGET my Online Store has gifts for the angler that has everything!  I have painted over 60 species of fish now available on my coffee mugs and frosted beer steins.  There’re also my new Solar Flex shirts in both men’s and women’s.  AND my growing collection of fish decals can be purchased on Amazon.

Be sure to keep track of my upcoming travels around the world!

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1 Comment

  1. Matthew Norton

    Catching up! Awesome trip so far Jeff. That looks like a great place!

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I started fly fishing at age 7 in the lakes and ponds of New England cutting my teeth on various sunfish, bass, crappie and stocked trout. I went to Northland College in Ashland, Wisconsin, where I graduated with a Naturalist Degree while I discovered new fishing opportunities for pike, muskellunge, walleyes and various salmonids found in Lake Superior and its tributaries.

From there I headed west to work a few years in the Yellowstone region to simply work as much as most people fish and fish as much as most people work. I did just that, only it lasted over 20 years working at the Jack Dennis Fly Shop in Jackson, WY where I departed in 2009. Now it’s time to work for "The Man", working for myself that is.

I pursue my love to paint fish, lecture on every aspect of fly fishing you can imagine and host a few trips to some of the most exotic places you can think of. My ultimate goal is to catch as many species of fish on fly possible from freshwater to saltwater, throughout the world. I presently have taken over 440 species from over 60 countries!