Fly Fishing For The Kwazulu Natal Yellowfish In South Africa

How To catch the Kwazulu natal Yellowfish (Scaly Yellowfish) On Fly?

Kwazulu Natal Yellowfish (Scaly Yellowfish)

Kwazulu Natal Yellowfish Illustration

The Kwazulu Natal Yellowfish (Labeobarbus natalensis) is known affectionately as the Scaly or Scaly Yellowfish. They are endemic to the Kwazulu Natal Province of South Africa, hence their name. The Kwazulu natal Yellowfish is well known in the Mooi river area and it’s tributaries and is a strong fighting Yellowfish species. They occur throughout the province from the Mkuze river to the Umtamvuna River.

This freshwater fish species is known to attain lengths of up to 65 centimeters and weigh well over 4.5 kilograms… They are one of the most widespread freshwater fishes that occur in Kwazulu Natal, and can be found from the coast all the way up into the escarpment and into well above 1000 meters above sea level.

How To Fly Fish For Kwazulu Natal Yellowfish (Scaly Yellowfish)

Catching Kwazulu Natal Yellowfish, also known as the Scaly, is one of the most exciting forms of fly fishing you can do. There are a variety of different techniques for catching them on fly. You need a 5 to 6 weight fly rod and reel, paired with floating line. You can go to a 4 weight on streams that hold lots of smaller Scalies. Tippet of about 8 lbs is the strength we would recommend. You can catch these Yellowfish on dry flies, in rapids, and in the calmer pools and areas of rivers and streams. They often rise, and catching any Yellowfish on dry fly is truly exhilarating. They will take big dry flies, and sight fishing for them is amazing.

Methods For Catching Kwazulu Natal Yellowfish On Fly

The most common methods of catching Kwazulu Natal Yellowfish are on nymphs, with nymphing techniques such as Czech Nymphing, Short Line Nymphing and the New Zealand Nymphing methods. Short line nymphing is our personal favourite, where you use two nymphs. A heavy nymph (Such as a Brassie), which is the control fly, and then a smaller nymph (Such as a Zak) tied to the base of the control fly. This is called the point fly. You can fish this method under a strike indicator, or you can watch the tip of your line. It is called short line nymphing simply because you barely cast the fly. You cast a tiny bit of line out in front of you, and let it drift, and then cast again and so forth. You are in complete control of the line, and it is best fished behind and adjacent to rocks in the shallows or rapids and white water in deeper areas. You can use a slit shot or two to get the fly down to the bottom quicker. There are a variety of great Yellowfish flies you can use, we have written an article on the top 10 Yellowfish flies to use in South Africa.

It is best to keep a bit of slack line out while you drifting your nymphs for these fish, as they often take your fly without warning, and go on fast runs… This helps to prevent your tippet from snapping, and gives you a bit of extra shock absorption too.

The best flies in which to catch the Kwazulu Natal Yellowfish on fly can be seen listed below:

Dry Flies


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