Angling at Kalizo Lodge
Fishing the Mighty Zambezi
Superb angling opportunities for the 93 species which inhabit these waters, are on offer, while Kalizo Lodge is particularly renowned for excellent Tiger and Bream fishing. Tiger fish of between 5-7kgs are not uncommon, whilst the current Lodge record for this species is 8.2kgs on fly and 10kgs conventional fishing. Well equipped boats as well as rods and fishing tackle are available for hire and our experienced guides accompany guests to the best fishing locations on the river. Kalizo Lodge actively supports a catch and release policy.
Among the varieties of fish caught at the Lodge include:
Tigerfish – Hydrocynus Uiltatus Castelnau
Nembwe – Serranochromis robustus
Redbreast Tilapia – Tilapia rendalli
Threespot Tilapia – Oreochromis andersonii
Greenhead Tiapia – Oreochromis macrohir
Pink Bream – Sargochromis giardi
Green Bream – Sargochromis codringtonii
Thinface Largemouth – Serranchromis angusticeps
Humpback Largemouth – Serranchromis altus
Sharp Tooth Catfish – Clarias gareipinus
Landing a trophy fish in an exotic location, connecting with our natural surroundings, enjoying a cold beer after a hard days fishing, or watching Openbilled Storks speckle the deep blue African sky are a few of the pleasures offered by Kalizo Lodge.
Situated ideally on the small strip of Namibian land wedged between Botswana and Zambia that forms the Caprivi Strip, this northeastern sliver of Namibia is bordered on the north by the Upper Zambezi, and on the south by the Chobe River. The close proximity of the Chobe National Park and Victoria Falls make the Caprivi Strip a superb destination for the African fly angler, birdwatcher and naturalist alike.
Fishing the Zambezi is as diverse as it is exciting, with opportunities for the skilled and casual angler alike. For the biggest, wildest most ferocious fish ever, Tigers are the species that everyone wants to catch, however you can also expect massive catfish and other smaller species such as bream and nwembe, yellowfish and catfish. Catching tigers with bait or spinning rods is less challenging than using a fly rod - typically 9 or 10 weight with plenty of spare backing attached to a reel with a sophisticated drag system. The area is renowned for big Tigerfish, and large three-spot and yellow-belly (Nembwe) bream of over 4kg have produced many IGFA records.Trolling and spinning with artificial lures for both Tigerfish and Bream are the standard methods used. Bottom fishing and drift bait (fillet or live bait) are also a favourite method for hooking the monster Tigerfish. Kalizo is a premier venue for spin, lure and fly anglers of all levels to fish for trophy Tigerfish, Bream, Tilapia and Catfish.
When using an artificial fly one of the most successful techniques is to float down with the current casting into the swirling eddies downstream. The fly is retrieved as quickly as possible and the resultant take can be so savage that it is advisable to wear finger protection to prevent burn, as the line is torn from the reel. The fight is also characterised by an acrobatic display as the fish dances vigorously on the surface of the river in an attempt to shake the fly free - often achieved - for tigers have hard and bony mouths.
Targeting tigers on fly is definitely one of the more extreme angling disciplines. Gut wrenching strikes followed by the all but compulsory aerial display, razor teeth and bony jaw all ensure any angler is kept honest when battling these magnificent fish. Although most of the time tigers are targeted subsurface with streamer type flies, when conditions allow there is not much that beats casting a surface fly, poppers and flippers, to charging wakes as these ferocious predators hunt bait fish in submerged vegetation.
It is useful to understand the distribution of tigers through the water column when targeting this species. Tiger fish will devour any fish up to 40% their own size, including their kin. For this reason tiger fish will generally stick with others of a similar size. African waters, are a dog eat dog (or more precisely striped water dog eat striped water dog) environment. For this reason one can fairly confidently predict the size of fish most likely to be caught in a specific area.
Very roughly, larger tiger fish occupy the relatively safe deeper water. Average size fish, not risking the deep water where there is a chance they will be eaten by their bigger brethren, inhabit the medium depth water. The smallest fish are unfortunately forced into the shallows where they seek shelter from their marauding cousins, while at the same time having to keep an eye out for avian attack from above.
Tigerfish and nembwe, are particularly targeted all year round, as well as during the annual catfish run between September and November. Nembwe, catfish, African pike and other bream species prove more fruitful during the winter months from April to August, when bait fish are flushed from the protection on the flood plains into the deeper channel waters..
The Chobe River forms part of the Northern border of Botswana and is a tributary to the mighty Zambezi. Its waters are likewise blessed with an abundance of fish species. Tigerfish, bream, barbel, and nembwe are plentiful here.
On the Upper Zambezi the months of May, June and July are best using lure and feather. By May the river has reached its highest level over the floodplains and starts to empty into its main channel.
Mid January on the floodplains sees such species as barbs and bream feeding and breeding. Before the water levels drop they must make their way into the main channel. The tigerfish and other predatory fish such as the Nembwe bream and sharp tooth catfish, feed on these "baitfish".
In June there is a mass exodus of these baitfish, moving down stream to areas of more cover and structure. This movement causes "bait balls" to be formed and they separate from the safety of the clay bank edges and move out into deeper waters.
As the water level drop from August to November, so the targeting of shallow water tigers becomes more of a reality from the confines of wooden dugout mokoro.
This is truly the most natural way of fishing for tigerfish, also lending itself to great bird watching and the feeling of really being one with the river. By the end of November the rainy season starts, and water levels start to steadily rise again, bringing lots of debris. Fly-fishing can be done all year round though it is more successful after the rainy season when the great fishing starts again.