A wild trout, tiny, maybe occasionally not so tiny, but perfect, in streams made of no more than pockets, cascading riffles and connected by ribbons of water that flow out of high mountains. These trout are the descendants of those that were originally seeded into these waters in the late 1800’s after the ova survived the 3 week journey by sea in frozen wooden crates from Scotland, across the equator to South Africa. And, through the devoted efforts of certain individuals were eventually hatched after many hardships and failures, in rudimentary wooden troughs in a small cool forested stream not far from the village of Nottingham Road in the KwaZulu Natal Midlands. I have visited these streams often over many years, the well-known ones, those less so and even discovered a few in hidden secret places. It is these little gems that when I go there I still get that magical feeling I once felt many years ago when I discovered it for the first time. These are the ones where the wilderness has remained untouched and survived human interference.
Can a sense of wonder survive if the things that elicit that wonder disappear?
Today the only holdout for many wild trout are the tiny head water streams like these, upstream of human habitation, where the water is cold and as clear as the mountain air, flowing quickly through the rough and tumble of deep gorges, around massive sandstone boulders, through the dappled light of indigenous forests and touched by bright sunshine under wide skies.
These streams, the timeless silver ribbons are home to our wild trout.
The pursuit of fly fishing has taken me along many of the paths less traveled, places of exceptional natural beauty, wild, rich in fauna and flora. In the beginning it was all about catching fish and yet even then the seeds of consciousness stirred; a rudimentary sense of connection to the big wild earth crept into my awareness, to the wonders of the surroundings. Also now, the context within which my fly fishing takes place has become increasingly important and enriching the experience, imbuing it with that extra little shine in the memory – a journey from the unconscious to the conscious.
Please note that all written and photographic material contained in this blog and its posts are the sole ownership of the author/photographer and may not be copied or used for any purpose whatsoever without the prior consent of the author/photographer having been obtained – Peter Brigg.