Saturday, 2 June 2012

Stonecutters Lodge

Saturday, 2 June 2012

Early on Saturday morning we departed from Johannesburg towards Dullstroom for a relaxing weekend at Stonecutter Lodge. On our arrival we where greeted by Margi Butler, one of the owner, and soon afterwards we joined her at the Stone Manor for a scrumptious breakfast.

After breakfast we decided to walk around and explore all the waters while we waited for a cottage to come available. The river looked promising and I could not wait to get cracking. We passed by the small dam and spotted quite a few fish hanging out in the shallows. This got us excited and I told my girlfriend that we will start at the small dam just to open the account for the weekend. We headed to the bigger dam and spotted a fish under the jetty and a few cruising in the lanes between the grass. Quite a few rises where also taking place in the middle of the dam, not surprise as people where fishing from the bank and probably spooking the fish.

We headed back to our car and the staff said we can occupy one of the Cobbles units. After unpacking we quickly got our rods ready two for my girlfriend for the dam and my 3 weight set-up for the river. Arriving at the small dam I spotted a small Rainbow in the corner of the dam and directed my girlfriend where to cast. The fish was not interested in her offering and she headed down to the bigger dam. I presented a Puterbaugh Caddis to the same fish and after a few twitches got him to take it!

I joined my girlfriend at the dam and explained to her how to fish a Papa Roach. During this process I spotted a Rainbow cruising towards us and luckily the fly was still in the water. I gave the fly one quick twitch and the fish jumped on it! This opened my account for the dam and I decided to leave my girlfriend to fish the river.

The cruiser caught on a Papa Roach

The close-up

Nice pink cheek!
I spent quite a while on the river with no luck. I tried various techniques from dry fly, dry and dropper and nymphing. I eventually spotted a small fish in a slow riffle, but only manage to spook it.

My girlfriend phoned me and she is joining me on the river as she was struggling to hook fish in the dam. I switched to a Spietkop (black woolly bugger with blue flash) and decided to fish the deeper pools on a long leader. I must admit this is not my favourite technique to use in a river, but I was quite desperate! When I got to the pool at the two umbrellas I got an energetic take on the fly! After a very frantic fight I landed the fish in the end of the pool. My girlfriend was just in time to take a photo and decided to give her a try on the pools on the way back to the dams!

First fish in the river safely in the net!

The strong little fighter
Interesting colouration on this fish!

We fished our way back towards the dams with no success until we reached the pool at the access gate. I showed my girlfriend a spot where is saw some fish rising earlier and on her third cast she quite her first fish in the river. A managed to stuff up the photo where after the fish wriggled out her hands straight into the river.

A good example of  how to stuff up a photo!

On our arrival at the dam there where a few people fishing the dam with no success. I reckon they where just causing to much commotion with all the bad casting that most fish where holding to towards the middle of the dam. As the sun was setting people where leaving the dam until it was only me and the local guide on the dam. I noticed that fish where striking short on my Papa Roach and decided to trail a San Juan Worm behind it. On the next cast I hooked into a feisty little fish that gave a good acrobatic display.

Fish on a San Juan worm
As sun set I realised that it was full moon and this would allow me to fish until quite late. Frogs where calling loudly all around me and I remembered that I recently tied a nice fly imitating a tadpole. I made a cast across the right corner of the dam and got a strong take from another feisty little fighter! I decided to make a last cast at the inlet of the dam and got a very subtle take on the tadpole fly. This fish gave a slow powerful fight and I knew straight away it was a bigger fish! 

First fish on the tadpole!

Second fish on the tadpole!
After this fish I head back to the Stone Manor where we had a perfect meal with the fire place flickering in the background!

Perfect ending to the day!

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Early the Sunday morning I decided to fish the large dam before breakfast. With it being the perfect time of day to take photos I decided to take some of the large dam. 

Left side of the dam at inlet
Middel section of the dam where most fish where holding!
Right hand side of the dam
Full view of the dam at sunrise
After my photos session I decided to fish a White Death with a fat retrieve under the surface and soon afterwards had my first fish before sunrise.This was followed with another few fish in quick succession.

First fish of the day!
Another average one before breakfast
The close-up
Another fish that fell to a White Death
The close-up
My girlfriend joined me and I gave her a go, which resulted in another fish with her first few casts. We decided to take a break and went up to the Stone Manor for another great breakfast!
My girlfriend's first fish on the dam
After breakfast I headed down to the river for a quick session before our trip back to the city. I managed to catch a fish straight away on an olive woolly bugger at the same spot where my girlfriend caught her fish the previous day! I headed down stream and switched to a small epoxy baitfish. I noticed a fish rising behind a log in a slow flow and made a cast towards it. The fish hit the fly very hard and headed down stream. It turned around and wrapped itself around a log where after the leader parted. I was so disappointed as it looked like a very nice fish!

Nice fish out the river
After loosing the bigger fish I headed upstream to the pool at the two umbrellas. This proved to be a good decision as there where quite a few fish chasing my fly. I caught  two fish in quick succession on a woolly bugger and a small olive zonker.

Another on at the two umbrellas
The third fish at the two umbrellas 
After these fish I headed back to our chalet. I met up with my girlfriend and to my delight she told me that she caught a fish on a White Salty Bugger. I found this very funny and unusual, but at least it gave her a great result! Two fish in the river and one fish in the dam!

A feisty river fish on a Salty Bugger...
The close-up

A map of the weekend events:

View Stonecutters Lodge in a larger map

Please also see my review of Stonecutters Lodge at:

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