Fly Fishing For The Clanwilliam Yellowfish In South Africa
Catching The Clanwilliam Yellowfish On Fly
The Clanwilliam Yellowfish (Labeobarbus capensis) is also sometimes referred to as the Cape Yellowfish is a beautiful member of the group of South African Yellowfish, of which we have 6 species. This freshwater fish species is vulnerable due to the damming of rivers, water abstraction and predation from Smallmouth Bass, Largemouth Bass, Spotted Bass and Bluegill (On the juveniles). The largest Clanwilliam Yellowfish recorded is close to a meter in length, weighing in at over 10 kilograms. This makes it one of the largest species of Yellowfish we have in South African waters.
The adult Clanwilliam Yellowfish are gold in colour, and are a very pretty fish to look at. The juvenile fish are silver in colouration, with occasional blotches on their exterior. The Clanwilliam Yellowfish, like many other species from the Labeobarbus family, prefers running water. They like to hang out in deeper pools and fast flowing runs close to rapids, and have also adapted to dams, although they need to spawn in shallow fast flowing water over beds of gravel. Spawning happens between October and January, when the water reaches a temperature of 20 degrees Celsius. Read more about Yellowfish spawning here… And find out about the Yellowfish season here…
The Clanwilliam Yellowfish is found in the Western Cape, to which it is endemic. This fish can be found in the Clanwilliam and Olifants river systems as well as smaller rivers and tributaries, such as: the Doring River, Biedou River, Boskloof River, Driehoeks, Groot, Jan Dissels, Kobee, Noordhoeks, Ratels, Rondegat, and around the Cederberg region and the Twee River.
More Information On The Clanwilliam Yellowfish
The Clanwilliam Yellowfish is closely related to the Bushveld Smallscale Yellowfish, and is an omnivorous fish species feeding on a variety of items from plankton and algae, to insects and crabs, to fish and frogs. The larger specimens are found in long deep pools of the rivers they occur in (Mentioned above), and they are strong fighting fish, and a prize in any fly angler’s mind. A lot of conservation is being done in order to help the Clanwilliam Yellowfish survive. A lot of fish are being bred in hatcheries and released into river systems, as many of the juvenile fish rarely make it to adulthood due to the predation of the invasive and introduced species.
The best time to fish for these species is Spring and Autumn, this os often the time when the water is at it clearest and sight fly fishing techniques can be used. This is the best way to catch the Cape Yellowfish. Prepare to do a lot of walking and hiking to find your target species.
How To Fly Fish For The Clanwilliam Yellowfish?
The Clanwilliam Yellowfish is a highly sought after fish on fly, and there are a variety of techniques you can use to catch these fish. A 9-10 foot 6 weight set up is best for targeting this Yellowfish. One can use a sinking line with nymphing techniques in faster flowing water, and an intermediate and sinking line can be used with streamers in deep pools. The Clanwilliam Yellowfish is very shy, and on occasions can be spooked by false casts and your line. A long leader of 10 foot or more is advised with the lightest tippet possible. Generally 8-10lb fluorocarbon tippet will suffice, but you can go slightly heavier for the larger specimens, although your catch rate will drop significantly.
If you can get away with it, try using 6lb tippet. These fish have very strange habits, and fishing for them can vary from day to day. They can be very aggressive on one day, an extremely shy on another. Sight fishing is key here, as blind casting will often leave you with a blank next to your name. If you can see the fish cast the fly a few meters in front of them. Watch their reaction, if they get spooked, scale down on your fly tackle. Fly choice can vary on how you are fishing for them, but the best flies for Clanwilliam Yellowfish can be seen listed below (Have a look at the best flies for Yellowfish here):
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