Winter Lowveld Yellows

01 June 2016
Author: Shaun Fredriksson

Late autumn through winter and into spring are some of the best times of the year to fish for yellows. The rivers are at their lowest and as a result, the fish are more concentrated. Low water levels make wading upriver much easier, giving access to areas which are normally unreachable in the rainy season. What really makes this time of year special is the beauty of the warm winter colours reflecting in the crystal clear waters and the joy of watching the fish swimming around!

Stalking the fish

The clear water at this time of year means one has to sneak up on the fish.  It is very important to stalk

upstream as the fish sit facing into the current and won’t see you coming from behind.   When wading upstream it is important to keep a low profile and to make as little noise and disturbance as possible.

Fish holding areas

The fish will be holding up in their usual spots above or below rapids, in any dips in the river bed as well as behind any obstacles in the river like boulders or sunken trees. The larger fish tend to prefer the deeper sections of the river with some sort of shady bankside vegetation to hide under.


It is very important to use a light outfit with a line in the region of .25mm. This makes it hard for the fish to see the line but also gives one the ability to cast far enough upstream to surprise the fish. This can make the difference between a good day’s catch and a blank. It is of no use to go too light because you will end up losing lures and fish.

Lures and technique

When choosing a lure, keep casting distance in mind. A smallish lure with some weight to it works well. Preferably a lure without a rattle as the fish rely mostly on sight when hunting in clear water and can be spooked by a rattle. The whole Salmo Hornet range and especially the 3S is a perfect lure and they are available in a variety of great colours.  When it comes to the retrieve –  slow, slow, slow is the answer! The lure needs to be retrieved as slow as possible without losing its action. This can be hard to do when casting directly upstream but, if one casts slightly across current the lure can be slowly retrieved as it gently washes downstream.

When everything comes together there is nothing more rewarding than enticing a fish to engulf your lure,  watching it dart through the clear waters on the end of your line and then finally –  the joy of lifting the glistening golden yellow out of the water before safely returning the fish to fight another day!