It is not a pristine mountain stream, but it is an interesting and promising stretch of brown trout water. It is wedged between the Kamberg Nature Reserve lower boundary and Riverside farm upper boundary. It flows through tribal land owned by the Thendela Community and the exciting part of all of this is under the leadership of community member, Richard Khumalo, a conservation endeavor, the Thendela Community Fly Fishing Project (TCFFP), has been established – with the guidance, support and assistance of members of the KZN Fly Fishing Association and Wildfly.
Richard in his office at the Community Centre.
The project involves cleaning up this section of the Mooi River that has over the years become degraded and polluted mainly with litter. And, the introduction of controls that ensures its protection as a fishery into the future for anglers to enjoy in the midst of the daily life of a friendly, welcoming, rural community. There is a daily fishing fee per angler, C&R and barbless hooks are not negotiable.
Richard and our guides for the day.
I together with my son Craig and friend Mark Pardey spent the best part of a day exploring a few of the clearly marked beats. After meeting Richard at the Community Centre where the TFFCP is based, and being given an enthusiastic run-down on the project, how it started and plans for the future, he showed us our beats and left us in the hands of 3 of his guides. His enthusiasm for the project was infectious.
Good fishing in the midst of African rural life.
The Mooi was flowing near perfectly despite being tinged with colour, but not entirely uncommon at this level and the rain preceding our trip. But, it had all the promise for an enjoyable days fishing in long slow, deep runs, in quick water at the head of mysterious looking pools and in places pebbled riffles with some inviting pocket water. It didn’t disappoint, we caught enough good conditioned brown trout tween 10 and 14 inches to keep us interested, and then we were surprised by a couple that ran in at the 18 inch class – unfortunately one managed to straighten Craig’s hook and the other got the better of me and the 7X tippet at the net but not before having my heart skip a beat or two at the sight of the spotted broad shouldered fish during the head-bashing struggle for freedom. Earlier with a wry smile, Richard had warned us of the possibility of surprises of this kind! We will be back not just for the fishing, but to follow the progress of this inspiring and worthy conservation project and hopefully in some small way, to be part of it.
A pretty brown from the Thendela waters on the Mooi River.
A happy group of local youngsters hamming it up for the camera.
If anyone is interested in finding out more, you can contact me through this post or to help in some way, or wanting to fish the Thendela waters, you can contact Richard at email@example.com All images and copy in this post are copyright Peter Brigg Photography © 2015. All rights reserved