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Chairman’s Report for 2023 for Queenstown Flyfishing Club.

This has been a year with a number of milestones which underline the stewardship the club has exercised over the past 25 or so years.


During the year Alex Junod who is presently in New Zealand joined the committee. He immediately took over the booking and catch returns portfolio. His passion for fly fishing for trout has been translated into very helpful input to the committee in a number of vital areas. He has put hard work into helping us be more focused. So, a very grateful vote of thanks to him and we look forward to many years of his work.


Annual Gathering 2023

The Gathering this year was an exciting event and was boosted by the presence of the Explora team. We as always had a wide assortment of prizes for the final evening. Local Queenstown businesses are unfailingly generous in support of the Gathering.


Discussions with the Explora team resulted in a commitment to be the main sponsor for the Gathering. Hence, we have changed the title to be the Explora Queenstown Flyfishing Club Annual Gathering. It was agreed by the committee to try to get teams of 4 signed up for the event. The aim was to accept ten teams. So, the notice went out and low and behold ten teams paid their deposit within the first week of opening bookings on Oct 1st. Then it emerged two other teams had booked well before that date. So, we now have twelve teams booked with another four on the waiting list.


Those deposits have enabled the club to book a stocking of brown trout in early January.

After five years a couple of browns over ten pounds have been caught in Pine Grove and Snowdon Trophy which confirms our waters produce outstanding fish.

A week after the Gathering Andrew Nel landed a 14.5 lb. rainbow cock in the narrow dam at Snowdon. A personal best and possibly a club record.


Stocking

This has proved to be a challenge this year because Martin Davies who had stripped a good number of eggs from Thrift fish has a double disaster. First Ventnor Hatchery lost 15000 fish due to a power failure. Then the rest succumbed to ammonia poisoning from the first loss.


Consequently, there are no fish available from Martin this year. However, we were in continuous conversation with Jack Avni from Underberg who has been extremely helpful.

He delivered a load of 15,000 fish to Dordrecht which Charles and his team then distributed to all of the dams. They even managed to stock for the first time two new dams in Molteno.

The plan is to bring another load down to stock the Steynsberg dams and another large dam in Molteno.


The committee with a lot of assistance from Alex Junod initiated a process of drawing up a written agreement with all our landowners. The landowners have all agreed to sign the agreement with one exception. Sadly, the two top dams of Birds River will soon not be available to fish except for booking The Wooly Bugger Cottage. I need to say this is not sudden or unexpected but has been coming for some time.


Hence the good news that we have access to three lovely dams in Molteno with accommodation nearby. There are also two excellent dams in Steynsberg also with accommodation close by.


We have had our waters analysed to determine the mineral content and they all look great.

We are so grateful to Gary Styles and Rudi for the provision of oxygen every time we stock. Also for very generous sponsorship of the Gathering. It is much appreciated.


Guiding

Discussions with Shaun Dickson from Explora around the idea of him guiding a couple of groups on our waters resulted in the committee agreeing that with the Explora support for the Gathering he could do that. After further discussion in the committee, it was agreed this would be the exception and would only apply to Shaun. He has led two groups back-to-back based at Aloe Grove. This will happen twice a year. The agreement requires the group to move around the waters so there is no problem when other members wish to fish.

The committee is watching the process carefully.

 

Grass Carp

Stephan arranged for a fresh delivery of Grass Carp as we considered two dams in particular were becoming difficult to fish due to over growth of weed. Charles and I added 5 to Uncle Georges and Quarry. The other fish were bought locally. Uncle Georges in particular looks like it needs probably another 10. But we will monitor the progress carefully.

It is noticeable that Snowdon Trophy which has grass carp is less weeded. However, one of the main reasons we have such healthy and large trout is the insect life the weed encourages. Therefore, it is always a balancing act especially as the climate warms up and we do not experience the weed die off due to cold in the winter.


Fosaf

The Federation of South African Fly fishermen has been very active on the legal front this year and we have seen the Dep of the environment having to rescind the list of alien and invasive species especially in relation to trout. This went to the Constitutional Court and the Dept lost the case there with costs. Our Chair, Ilan Lax and the legal team have done sterling work on our behalf.


Committee

Your committee has worked hard on behalf of the club and I am very grateful for the work done over the year.


Eric continues to handle the membership portfolio. The members are around the 80 mark

Charles handles the stocking portfolio and checking the equipment.

The other members pitch in where needed.


To all of you thanks for fun fellowship and hard work.

Reg Morgan, Chair, 23.11.23

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