A Secret Stream Has Few Friends

That’s what my Stetson wearing friend from Canada tells me – “a secret stream has few friends“. 

I don’t know many secret streams, truth be told. In fact, I know none. Every stream that I fish is well-known to, well, everyone. 

This particular stream is as much a secret as an Oscar winner’s latest cosmetic surgery – and has been for a very, very long time. 

I don’t think that there are many true secret streams left out there. Sure, in Lesotho and even the old Transkei there are a few, but they’re not really secret – they’re just forgotten or out of the way for most fishers. 

In my case I don’t travel very far to fish. I’m not adventurous or drawn to blue lines on a map. I just fish rivers that everyone else drives by in search of their own stretch of piscatorial nirvana. 

Do I do this out of preference? I don’t know. I don’t have much by way of comparison. I just fish what’s accessible and tend to return to the same place consistently. 

There are no more secret streams. But some of the most fished streams have forgotten sections that are pure bliss. The Doc and I fished one again this weekend. 

The fishing was nigh-impossible as we made our way into a steady head-wind with bamboo sticks and flicked flies over unbelievably clear water. 

The sightseeing, on the other hand, was heavenly. 
(Please may I ask that if you recognize the area you don’t shout it out. It’s fragile up there. Call me selfish, but it can do with as little traffic as possible.)

‘Lil ole me

crystal-clear & a bit like a Cape stream

kilometres of this, one after the next

suddenly, out of nowhere, a bit of tropical rainforest

in the foreground the Paul Young 6’3″ Midge i made – behind that, The Doc

there has to be one in there

an oak – where no oak belongs

not snow or ice – vulture guano


6 responses to “A Secret Stream Has Few Friends

  1. You are right, no really secret streams left – someone has been there and told someone or taken someone who told someone else. I have a few that I choose not to talk about, not because I have any right to them, but because they are fragile. Not that the Bushmans is one but as an example, it has become popular and a lot busier …. I have seen the changes from 25 or more years ago.

  2. There are a few places…. and one thing I have noticed is that most of these “secret” places will stay that way because people are either too lazy to put in the effort to get there, or they are scared of venturing into rural places like Lesotho or the transkei. There is a small handful of people, maybe 1% of the fishing population that have the JFDI mentality(just fucking do it). It seems that I can write all I want about the most remote and special placed in Lesotho and people still seem to stick to the beaten track. It’s nice for me, but each to their own.

    • I couldn’t agree with you more.

      There’s another dimension however that is becoming clear to me. It lies in the definition of secret- or at least how we sense it

      Remember your secret fort as a kid? The one in the back garden? Where your mom would direct her dinner time shout?

      That’s what happens on a lot of streams. You go there and ‘discover’ it. It’s your secret. I mean, it’s not, but to you it is.

      That’s what happens in this case.

      The stretch in the photos is not visited a lot, that’s for sure. Funny thing is that so many people have identified it already. They just don’t go there much.

      I ignore that. It’s my and a few friends’ secret. At least to us. We’ll go there and play ‘trout fishers’ from time to time. Until we forget it. Or our moms call us to dinner.

  3. The only real protection of any natural resource is for it to be hard to reach and it is best to do what one can to keep it that way. In conversation with an American client years back I suggested that although I would love to visit and fish American waters I didn’t fancy the crowds.. He looked back down the river in the direction of the long distant car park and said: “F#$% Tim, walk this far , you won’t see anybody”.. 🙂

    • That’s the truth. My knees look like footballs still. I’m not growing older gracefully. But there’s inflammation medicine that works great so I’ll do it for another decade or two.

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