A fishy tale....
By Neil Prior
Some of the fondest memories of my dad hark back to what felt like the previous century when we lived in Malawi. Once a year, normally at Christmas time, Dad would pack Mom and I into the old Wolseley and we would head to the Nyika Plateau up north for a week or two of trout fishing. Beautiful days, and nights around the roaring fire was the order of the day, and there was normally a fresh trout to chuck in the pan for supper.
Fast forward to the 21st Century, and Underberg evokes those same kind of emotions. Underberg sits at 1500m above sea level, slightly lower than the Nyika (which is mostly above 2000m), but is none the less beautiful with it's pristine mountain streams and a plethora of stillwater trout fishing opportunities.
The UHTFC (Underberg Himeville Trout Fishing Club) controls 20 still waters and 14 river beats with over 60km of the Umzimkulu and Polela Rivers. Stocking takes place regularly but the equilibrium in the rivers and dams has been maintained so essentially one would be hunting wild spawned trout. The river is closed from 31 May to 31 August, (which can change subject to river water levels). Dams are open throughout the year. Some very decent fish have been caught this year (catch and release) thus far, with biggest still water fish being 57cm and the largest river fish weighing in at 1.5 lbs. These are predominantly Rainbow Trout with about 10% Browns's coming out of the dams. Many of the dams have boats available at no extra cost. Details for booking dams or a river beat can be found on the clubs website www.uhtfc.co.za.
Spring is imminent so why not start planning a fishing trip in the mountains? Great for family time... and Underberg has some super accommodation options #goxhilltroutlodge.co.za, #house@the stables or even some "glamping" at #ngunimoontepees.co.za. The biggest plus is that, as far as i'm aware, no one has got around to installing smart phone holders on trout rods, so an escape from technology will be as welcome as an evening rise. Those fishy stories at the end of the day are the best.
A couple of pointers on the fishing etiquette: leave gates as you found them, no fires, no pets, leave only your gumboot prints!
For the non-fisher people there is ample to do, whether it be sporting, shopping, hiking or just being. Let www.underbergatttractions.co.za guide you on the way.
Find your accommodation here
Places to see
What to do