Results 1 to 3 of 3

Thread: Dunkeld Country Estate

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
    Location
    Gauteng
    Posts
    14

    Default Dunkeld Country Estate

    Dunkeld – Mpumalanga
    19/03/2018 – 23/03/2018

    1: Weather

    The weather for this trip was fairly miserable with lots of wind, cold, wet and misty and prone to sudden changes. We had very little sunshine and pleasant weather and it made fishing rather challenging. That being said it did not prevent you from fishing as long as you were willing to brave the elements, and there was never really lighting and thunder around during the day so fishing was possible.

    2: Venue and Accommodation
    Dunkeld is a beautiful venue and the accommodation is really good. You can happily take the family and kids here as it offers loads for everyone to do outside of fishing. We go here at least once every year with my point system and although the fishing of late has not been great, we are never really disappointed with the stay. The grounds are normally kept quite well and the units are serviced daily. You will find what you need for a holiday and nothing major is missing.
    One can always find fault with accommodation and venues, but we have found that our travel crate with odds and ends that go with us everywhere covers any gaps at most place. We have extra matches, bug spray, plastic zip lock bags, black bags, tin foil etc. packed in here and this comes in useful pretty much at all locations. So from an accommodation point of view I will give Dunkeld 4 stars. To us it is a bit like coming home when we arrive at Dunkeld. Some basics which I think they are missing in the units are things like rod holders and slightly better lighting for setting up rods and for those that want to tie some flies. Getting to Dunkeld is very simple and you can get there with any vehicle as it is tar roads all the way, except for a couple of 100 metres on the last stretch of road which has deteriorated to mostly gravel.

    3 Fishing:
    To be honest I was not expecting great fishing as we chatted to the guys in Mavungana before going to Dunkeld and although they were not downright negative in their feedback they certainly were not waxing lyrical about it either. My personal view over the last 10+ years I have been going there is that the fishing is more and more disappointing every year. I have been giving them this feedback every year as well.
    However I had an open mind about the fishing anyway and decided I would make up my mind based on the actual fishing experience. Sadly it was rather disappointing. We did catch fish during this stay, but none of the fish we caught was over 400g. This seems to be the norm for Dunkeld over the last couple of years. It might simply be that due to the popularity of this venue and the high fishing pressure on the waters that they can’t afford to stock bigger than that, but this is still disappointing if you consider that they started out as a fishing venue. We also saw at least 4 Otters in the one dam and they move from dam to dam rather rapidly at this venue and seem to have a tremendous impact on the fish population. If you have been to Dunkeld then you will know that there are some smaller waters which is simply fun to fish and very nice when introducing new people or young ones to fly fishing, Little Loch Shiel being one of them, during our entire week there, there was not a single rise on this water, and the otters being in the dam just above this most probably account for this. Similarly with the Wooly Bugger Weir. It is a small dam that is generally crystal clear and you can see everywhere in this dam from the hill on the side. There were 2 fish in this dam and I would judge them no more than 500g. On a previous stay we also spotted otters in the dam and noticed the same then. I reported the otters to the venue and sadly there was no urgency around this at all.
    So we also decided to go check out the 2 catch and release dams, as theoretically these should have slightly bigger fish and being a distance away from the other dams the otters most likely would not have an impact here. Sadly these dams are just not being maintained very well. The water quality and clarity is not great and the weeds and grass are being left to grow out of control. I realise that catch and release/trophy dams should be slightly more technical fishing, but the reality for Dunkeld is that they do not attract the most experienced fly fishermen, and with the weeds growing out of the water for 3 to 5 metres into the dams the average fishermen going here would be very lucky should he be able to actually land a fish, and once this has happened the only way to release them would be by going for a swim. So the entire point of catch and release is missed. We also saw no rises on either of these two dams while spending a couple of hours checking them out. So from a fishing perspective it was a truly disappointing trip and personally very sad for me because of how much I like this venue. All of these issues can be addressed, so hopefully they get back on track and back to what they used to be and become a premier fishing destination again. I just feel that maybe since the Equestrian side has opened the focus is not around the fishing anymore.

  2. #2

    Default

    Hi Thiaan

    I just got back from a weekend at Dunkeld and I completely agree with your assessment above. My wife and I took some friends from the States with us and were once again very happy with the accommodation and facilities, but bitterly disappointed with the fishing. We haven't been there for some time now, but it does seem with everything else going on at Dunkeld, their focus is no longer on fishing. My friend caught one small rainbow trout, and I had one take that got away, but that's all we have to show for several hours of fishing over the weekend

    As you say, it's all fixable so I do hope that they do something about it, because the venue is really good.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
    Location
    Gauteng
    Posts
    14

    Default

    I spent another 5 days at Dunkeld from the 6th - 10th of August, and I am happy to report that the fishing was actually good for a change. The weather (wind) was miserable but on the Wednesday the dams were stocked with 1kg rainbow trout. I also went on the tour of the hatchery while I was there, and that is a very impressive setup.
    They only stock their own dams with the trout from the hatchery as they do not have permits to supply currently, and their are some tanks with trout over 3kg that will need to go into the dams soon. So there is no reason why they can't provide very nice fishing at all.
    So I am cautiously optimistic that the fishing will improve going forward.

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •