The Zambezi River covers a huge, and very diverse, area. For this reason it is often referred to in two separate areas:
Broadly, the upper Zambezi comprises the stretch of the Zambezi River above Victoria Falls. Our focus in the area however is on two distinct regions of the upper Zambezi – these being the Caprivi and Barotse Flood Plains and their surrounds. The Upper Zambezi is a winter (May – August) fishery which allows for pleasant day time temperatures and superb game viewing in the surrounding National Parks. Species targeted during winter on the upper Zambezi are tigerfish and large mouth bream species such as nembwe. Other species on offer include catfish, pike and various bream species. For the species aficionado, the Zambezi yellowfish is also a possible target.
The Upper Zambezi system as fished by Tourette Fishing guests can be split into three different fishing habitats, all productive under certain conditions. Your professional guides will make sure you are fishing the most productive waters over your stay.
Flood Plains (Caprivi and Barotse):
From May through to August each year the Caprivi and Barotse flood plains begin to spill their waters back into the main Zambezi Channel. These waters bring with them vast amounts of recently spawned bait fish, which in turn trigger a tigerfish feeding frenzy. Looking for birds and working these productive waters is stuff fly fishing dreams are made of. Small flies, (clousers and rabbit Zonker bait fish patterns) tied in natural colours are most productive over these times.
From roughly the beginning of August each year, when the final water is draining off the flood plains, the action moves to the Kasai Channel. For the month of August the Kasai channel is home to a micro catfish run. As the waters on the surrounding flood plains drop, the bait fish are forced to the river margins triggering catfish feeding frenzies. Tigerfish follow this commotion, feeding on bait fish flushed from the papyrus and unsuspecting catfish. Fly fishing for tigerfish around this activity is productive and exciting.
Tiger fishing in the Mambova, Ilombe and Impalila Rapids (Caprivi Section) and Lukulu Rapids (above the Barotse Flood Plains) has been a highlight for many anglers to the area. Ark inflatable canoes are used to reach these productive waters. Fishing the rapids can be a full or half day affair. Either way, the experience is truly unique and the opportunity of latching onto a trophy fish in these fast waters is a real possibility. The game viewing and bird watching can also be superb when drifting quietly through the many channels.
Flyfishing is, by far, the best method of targeting the Upper Zambezi tigerfish in the early season (June to August). Conventional fishing is more productive late season (September to November).
Stretching from the gorge below Kariba dam to the headwaters of Cahorra bassa, the Lower Zambezi is the quintessential African tiger fishing destination. With her waters home to large tigerfish and her banks supporting a thriving population of big game, this venue is a great option for those traveling with non fishing members.
Tigerfish are the focus of most fishing trips to the area, but the lesser known species of Vundu, Chessa, Nkupe, bottle nose and cornish jack are always on offer. This is an autumn and spring fishery with the season running from late August to mid November . It is over these dry months that the waters recede, clear up and warm significantly. This intern prompts aggressive feeding pre spawn as the tigers move into the shallows from the deeper water. An added bonus is the concentration of game along the river banks during these dry months.
Fly fishing is extremely productive with blue and white clousers, whistlers and polar fiber bait fish patters being most productive. Casting 300g lines to structure, followed by fast strips produces the best results. For conventional anglers, drift and live baits (circle hooks only), and effzett spinners are most productive.
Tourette fishing guides are consistently adapting to the changing conditions in the season, thus all guests can be assured of receiving advice on the most current and productive tackle and tactics.