Epson Wild Trout Fly Fishing Festival – 19th to 21st March 2015

By all accounts, the annual festival was greatly enjoyed by all of the participants, most of whom have been participating for many years as well as a smattering of new faces adding lustre to the event.

Fickle weather conditions limited the fishing mainly to the Bok- and Sterkspruits where 315 and 78 trout were taken respectively. The Kraai River clocked in with a handsome 44 fish, 5 of which were Smallmouth yellowfish, all over the 350mm mark. Of the catch returns received, a total of 450 fish were caught averaging 8 per angler but the actual tally would have been substantially higher, had every participant completed their returns. Either way, a fairly poor show when festival records dating back to 2001 show an average of 938 fish caught per festival but a clear reflection on weather conditions over the past two winters where very little snow resulted in minimal spawning. In addition, severe summer floods may have also flushed the system leaving, we hope, superior survivors!

The three days of fishing were bracketed by four evenings of great meals, fishy-talk and associated consumption of beverages ranging from alcohol free beer to hard-core shooters for the over-enthusiastic. All of this culminated in the annual auction of a variety of sponsored items ranging from hand-knitted blankets produced during the Rhodes Stoepsitfees per kind favour of Saprotex International who provided the knitting wool. The 4 blankets raised R2000 that will be used to buy even more that will be given to needy residents from the neighbouring township of Zakhele.  Other sponsored items included fishing tackle, Buffs, accommodation vouchers and even an Epson photographic printer. The most unusual item was a fly-box full of flies together with a certificate of authenticity – the result of a quirky auction item sold at the 2014 festival, Dave Walker’s beard!  Collusion between Mile Divett, the beard-buyer and Jan Korrubel, the fly-tyer, paved the way for a combined total contribution of R3000 to the WTA coffers topped up to R3250 by a donation from Urban Flyfishers where Korrubel had sourced the hooks.

At the final dinner, the chairman, Dave Walker thanked all of those present for their support, the guides directed by Tony Kietzman and the sponsors, in particular Epson for the branded fleece jerseys, guidebook printing and an Epson Photographic printer. Walker also thanked the many other sponsors who kindly provided auction items, Mukheibir Sentra who donated goods for the goodie bags and most important of all, the riparian owners in the district without whose waters, there would not be a Wild Trout Association or an annual festival. The joint effort to provide a shop window on our area should not be under-estimated as a fruitful means of marketing Rhodes and the Eastern Cape Highlands. The proof or the pudding is the large number of fly fishers, first introduced to the area by the festivals, who return at other times of the year to enjoy the fishing, the company of the fine residents of the district and the magnificent scenery.

 

The booking list for 2016 is currently open and anyone interested in participating in the Epson Wild Trout Festival should send an e-mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. - and the sooner the better as there is a ceiling of 40 rods for the event.