Natal Fly Fishers Club Wattling about on the Upper Umgeni River

Natal Fly Fishers Club Wattling about on the Upper Umgeni River

On Saturday, 12th September 2015, about 30 volunteers, fly fishermen and chainsaw operators came together and embarked on clearing an 8km section of the Upper Umgeni not too far down from the source.

flyfishing river cleanup 3
So, what would drive a bunch fly-crazy fisher folk to spend a full day on a lovely Brown Trout River without taking any rod, line, leader, or flies? No, these people had not succumbed to a sudden bout of amnesia. We were on the river for a very important reason: to launch a serious attack on the Wattle Trees growing on the banks of the river. The question is, why do people who are pushed for time do this kind of thing? The answer is quite simple; the people in the Fly-fishing Community are environmentally conscious for many reasons.

Firstly because it is the environment which attracts us out there, secondly, it’s the right thing to do and thirdly, without sustainable waters, we won’t have sustainable fishing for ourselves and the generations to come. The impetus for this exercise came from Andrew Fowler, Vice Chair of the Natal Fly Fishers Club (NFFC ) and a long-time lover of the Upper reaches of the Umgeni River.

Flyfishing river cleanup 1 Volunteers included members and friends of the NFFC, representatives from WWF and  Penny Rees from DUCT. The tree felling crew from Don’s Tree Fellers did a sterling job in  making short work of a large number of well-established wattles. We are grateful to the  farmer who provided 3 tractors and a TLB to assist in removing all the felled trees from in  and alongside the river – without these we wouldn’t have accomplished a fraction of the  work.

Whilst a lot of work has been done in the Dargle area regarding the eradication of alien  species, and wattles in particular, the river banks themselves are still in need of work. Said  Fowler, “These wattle trees suck up water from the river at an astronomical rate and  eradicating them is imperative. Because very little grows under the trees, erosion and  silting of the river occurs, which prevents the breeding of insects and fish residing in the  water”.

The NFFC are committed to clearing this section of alien vegetation in the long term and more of these work parties are planned. The next will be on 17 October 2015 where we’ll concentrate mainly on the eradication of the bramble on the banks of the same stretch of river. Those who would like to participate can contact the writer on 0833063666.

by Dave Prentice – Natal Fly Fishers Club

Intererested to read and hear more, and keep updated?

You Tube Clips made by Andrew Fowler, showing the area and describing the background of the work and what has been done in the previous 2 initiatives in 2014 and the lead up to the action on 12 September 2015.