. Lake Kariba Fish Species Tips & Pictures page 2

Lake Kariba Fish Species Tips & Pictures- page 2

There are many other fish of interest to anglers on Lake kariba, in particular several species of bream, or kuiper


Red Breasted Tilapia (Tilapia rendally)
This pretty looking fish is commonly known as a 'pinkie' and was introduced into the Lake in the late 1950's. Seldom exceeding a kilo but a hard fighter often encountered in large numbers.
In Lake Kariba the Nile bream (Oreochromis niloticus) is now also being taken by anglers.

red breasted tilapia

Kariba Tilapia (Oreochromis mortimeri)
Known in South Africa as the blue kurper this fish was mistakenly known as a Mozambique bream and were called 'mozzie's, until it was found that the Mozambique bream was only found in the Zambezi River below the lake and beyond the dam

Chessa (Distichodus schenga)
Nkupe (Distichodus mossambicus)

The chessa and related nkupe are both rough-scaled, small-mouthed, broad-bodied fish renowned for their strength, speed and stamina. Both exceed six kilos and are usually caught on earthworm and small hooks, but will also take fish fillets

Found only in the mainstream of larger rivers and even in Lake Kariba prefers more riverine habitats. Omnivorous, feeds on insects, snails, small fish, and aquatic plants. Breeds in summer, moving upstream to suitable sites

Chessa / Nkupe


Eastern Bottlenose ( Mormyrus longirostris)

the Eastern Bottlenose is aptly named because of its elongated snout. It has a tiny mouth, so needs to be caught on small hooks with worms as bait. This species is active mainly at night, and is often caught in the early evening, in fairly deep pools where there is little or no current. It is not a good fighter, and, once hooked, feels much like reeling a heavy sack of potatoes to the surface! Sluggish... is a word that comes to mind.

eastern bottlenose

Apart from the Electric Catfish, this is the only species in Zambezi waters that is capable of giving, under certain conditions, a mild electric shock. The electrical field created around the fish is probably a means of electro-orientation useful to a species which likes deep, often turbid water.

Bottlenose breed during the rainy season, moving upstream in rivers after flood spates have receded. The migrations appear to occur at irregular intervals as this fish is not a powerful swimmer and would not be able to cope with very high water current.

Despite its rather unattractive appearance, the Eastern Bottlenose is a popular eating fish in Central Africa. It is best split ventrically in half and low smoked over a fire.

The Bottlenose will give you an electric shock if you hold both ends of the fish without drying it first

Purple Labeo (Labeo congoro)

A river fish living in the estuaries and feeding on algae

Hunyani Labeo (Labeo altivelis)

Commonly called a "Pink Lady" this fish enjoys similar habitat and feeding preference to that of the Purple labeorednosed


Forms large schools. Mainly nocturnal and feeds on plankton (especially atyid shrimps, also copepods, prawns), but larger individuals take larval Stolothrissa. Cannibalism does occur. Breeds close to shore throughout the rainy seasons, but with peaks in May to June and December to January. Fire is used to attract the fish and caught by means of scoop nets

Kapenta fish kariba

Cornish Jack (Mormyrops anguilloides)
The strangest fish of the Zambezi system must be the Cornish jack, largest of the "snoutfish" family. Usually taken on worm or fillet bait, Cornish jack attain 15 kg but are weak fighters.
The closely related but smaller bottlenose (Mormyrus longirostris) is usually taken on worm. The Bottlenose will give you an electric shock if you hold both ends of the fish without drying it first

cornish jack

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