Fishing in Paarl & Surrounds
There is some great fishing in Paarl and surrounding areas. Whether you like the calm waters of a dam or the flowing waters of a river, there is a fresh water fishing spot that will tickle your fancy. Be sure to bring your rods, reels, stands, feed and all your syrups and enjoy a peaceful day waiting for the sound of your drag announce that you have a fish on!
Fishing in Paarl
Dams on Paarl Mountain & Berg River
There are 3 dams, Nantes; Bethel and Victoria, on Paarl Mountain which is ideal for bass and trout fishing – black bass is especially plentiful.
When there have been heavy rains, the dams get quite muddy and not the best conditions to fish in.
The Bethel dam was also stocked with the endangered indigenous white fish, but because of the low nutrient levels in Bethel dam, it is not expected that the population will grow enough that subsistence fishing could be allowed. Signage at the dam will detail what the regulations are.
For now, Nantes and Victoria dams will remain as they are. It is planned that Nantes might permit piscatorial clubs and societies to do spinner fishing, which will require periodic stocking. Catch and release is still allowed at Victoria dam, but will be left as it is.
In Paarl the Berg River contains smallmouth bass and carp. The remainder of the river contains carp, Mozambique tilapia, sharp tooth catfish and smallmouth bass. The Berg River Park has got camping facilities and is the ideal spot on the river to leisurely wet your lines. The Berg River is known for its excessively large population of indigenous fish.
Paarl has also got quite a few privately owned dams on farms. You’ll have to get permission from the individual farmers, but is well worth the effort.
When you get your fishing licence, you will also get a list of dams you are allowed to fish at.
Fishing Close to Paarl
Du Kloof Lodge
Du Kloof Lodge is the perfect destination for trout fishing enthusiasts. In the trout-rich river and six dams Rainbow Trouts of up to 20″ are regularly caught here, and average size is in the region of 15″
Du Kloof Lodge is a great outing for the whole family with braai facilities, a wine shop and farm stall. It’s also great for mountain walks, bird watching, white water canoeing, mountaineering spots, jogging and mountain biking.
The Elandspad River
The Elandspad in Du Toit’s Kloof is one of the best rivers to do fly fishing at and is situated in the beautiful Du Toit’s Kloof Pass.
Rainbow trout is bountiful and fish sizes range from 30 – 36 cm. Higher up in the river, trout of up to 40cm has been caught. The harder to reach spots, the fish are easier to catch due to less foreign activity in the water, where there is more fishermen, the trout are known for being more picky eaters and thus, trickier to catch.
Higher up in the river is nicer to catch fish, due to its remoteness, but your level of fitness need to be better, for it is not easy to reach.
You’ll find that the variety of pools all along the river, makes it ideal to fish anywhere on the stretch of the Elandspad River.
The Witte River
The Witte River, deriving its name from the white quartzite boulders, is situated in Bainskloof Pass in Wellington. The river has a large population of Loch Leven brown trout.
Trout use to populate the whole river, but due to the high summer temperatures and water abstraction, the majority of fish can now be found at the top part of the river.
Brown trout are not picky eaters and will be easily caught with dry flies will work well to draw fish up from the deeper pools.
First-time fishers is advise to make use of the guide when fishing here, for the fish is quite crafty in hiding is more hard to reach places.
The trickiest part of this stream seems to lie in selecting the right day, weather-wise, and time of the year.
There is safe parking at Eerste Tol (Bains Village) at the top of the pass, from where anglers will travel by foot on the service road and numerous hiking trials heading up the valley.
The Smalblaar & Molenaars River
The Smalblaar is probably the most popular river in the Western Cape because of its easy access and good fishing. The Smalblaar holds a good number of fair-sized rainbow trout.
Spring time is the best time to fish here due to the heavy Leptophlebid and Baetis mayfly hatches saturating the air, which gets the trout moving.
The bigger pools of the Molenaars river lower down Du Toitskloof is where the big fish can be found. The best time to fish here is in early summer, for the river dries up quickly and the shallow waters cause the fish to become scarce.
Do keep the weather in mind when planning to fish here for south-east and north-west winds can be quite strong.
Le Ferme Trout Fishing Farm
La Ferme, situatred in Franschhoek, offers excellent fly fishing with exquisite views and absolute silence. La Ferme has four unique lined dams, teaming with Brown Trout, Rainbow Trout, Bass, Carp and Witvis. If you bring the kids, there is a special dam just for kids using bait.
Of the four dams on the farm, the trout dams are strictly for fly fishing while the others are stocked with Bass and Carp to suit fishermen who want to use spinners, lures and bait. The dams are incredibly well looked after and catching is normally on the cards. The Wemmers River runs through La Ferme. There are natural Brown and Rainbow trout in the river, although not easily visible. You don’t have to book to fish unless you require lessons. Parking is available, right next to the dams and there is a small shop which sells flies.
Open for day fishermen and day guests from 08h00 to 17h00 and closes at 16h00 on Fridays.
Approximately 40minutes drive from Paarl, just outside the town of Villiersdorp, is Theewaterskloof Dam.
The lake is home to some trophy largemouth bass, with specimens of over 4kg having been caught. Carp, Bluegill, Barbel and Kurper can also be caught here. Bank fishing is possible and productive in many areas around the yacht club. Please be aware though that if you want to take a boat out on the lake, that you will also need a Certifcate of Competence for your boat. Without this, officials will not allow you to take your boat on the lake.
Voëlvlei dam is situated 30km North outside Wellington just off the R44. It is a large reservoir which supplies drinking water to Cape Town and several other towns, therefore petrol motors are not allowed.
“Monster Bay” at the far end of the dam, are recognised Bass hotspots.
A variety of lures, including in-line spinners, crankbaits, jigs and soft plastics are productive.
Apart from Smallmouth Bass there are carp, some tench, rainbow trout and Cape witvis. The average size of the range from 500g – 1,5kg, but 2kg has been caught here before. Please practise “catch and release” with all fish except the carp.
A Western Cape Provincial freshwater angling license is needed to catch fish at some of the dams and rivers in the Western Cape. This is to protect fish numbers and endangered species.
The great thing is that when you join the Paarl Fishing Club and get help with obtaining the permit from them, they will also give you a list of places you are allowed to fish at. You’ll have to pay a once off joining fee and a license that is valid for a year. As part of the club, you’ll also be able to take part in fishing competitions and meet other fresh water enthusiasts.
For more information about permits and your closest fishing club you can contact The Cape Piscatorial Society at http://www.piscator.co.za or contact the Paarl Freshwater Fishing Club by emailing David Kotze.