Fly fishing in the Drakensberg Mountains

Fly fishing in the Drakensberg Mountains

Fly fishing in the Drakensberg Mountains

The Drakensberg Mountains offer a myriad crystal clear dams and rivers where there are plenty of elusive trout for the passionate fly fisherman to test his skills.

The best fly fishing in the Drakensberg can be found in the Little Mooi River at Kamberg and the Bushmans river at Giants Castle National Park in the Central Drakensberg . The Injusuti river also offers great fly fishing although the wild trout caught here are mostly smaller the the other 2 rivers. The trout dams at Highmoor are the place to go for those really big fly fishing catches. Often catches of trout of 3 kgs and larger have been reported form the Highmoor trout dams.

Royal Natal National Park in the Northern Drakensberg shares a common boundary with the Rugged Glen Nature Reserve. Two stocked dams with rainbow trout are available for fly fishing.

The Southern Drakensberg is one of South Africa’s premier trout fishing destinations. The Underberg-Himeville Trout Fishing Club currently controls about 16 still waters and 14 river beats over 60 km on the Umzimkulu and Pholela Rivers. The dams are stocked regularly with rainbow trout and, in some of the dams, with 10 % brown trout. The river population of rainbow trout is self-sustaining and in equilibrium, which means that the river fishing is completely natural and that the fish are wild.

Rainbow Trout and Brown Trout are the most common fish species available in the Drakensberg Region and are a challenge on fly tackle. The stream and river fly fishing in the Drakensberg is a particular challenge but the reward of catching a wild river Brown or Rainbow is huge.

Fly-fishing for South Africa’s indigenous Yellowfish has become very popular in recent years, as these hard fighting fish challenge even the most skilled anglers. Good options for yellow fish are both the Bushmans River and the Tugela River.

The Midlands Meander is full of river and still water fishing sites. Although fishing for Brown and Rainbow trout still dominates, there are some very fine Yellowfish sites, including the Tugela River and smaller rivers such as the Lions River which winds its way through the picturesque hillsides of this region.

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8 comments on “Fly fishing in the Drakensberg Mountains
  1. Michael Dorsett says:


    Im planning a trip to SA from New York in October and my girlfriend is letting me take some time to fly fish. In doing some internet research I came across your website and thought you might have some useful insight. We were already planning some time in the Drakensberg area and figured that would also be a good place to fish. I’ve been fishing for a while now and would consider myself an experienced fly fisher (in freshwater anyway) and was hoping for some river/area suggestions. Ideally, I would like to target wild fish in scenic areas. I probably have 3 or 4 days to fish wouldn’t mind doing some hiking to more remote locations but I’m assuming I won’t have the time to make it into Lesotho.

    Any suggestions you have or other contacts that might be useful would be much appreciated. I would also be interested in any specific flies you think I should tie up before the trip as I like learning local patterns when I travel.

    Thanks so much in advance,

    • wpadmin says:

      hi Michael
      I think you might find that the Bushmans River to be your right choice. Your options are Moor Park where you have an opportunity to fly fish for yellow fish as well as wild brown trout. A little further upstream is the Zulu Waters Game Reserve and there is 12km of river where you will find lots of wild brown trout. Because its inside the game reserve you would need to arrange a guide. The fishing is a little technical due to trees on either side of the river bank. And finally there is a 10km of pristine water starting from the entrance to Giants Castle where you will find rainbow trout. Its catch an release only. Oct is still a good time to fish as the rainy season will not have started yet and the river will still be clear. Good places to base yourself are and

  2. Jose hernado Ruiz extremera says:

    Hi. It is possible that I go in the month of June to South Africa to visit my brother who works in Upingthon. We are in love with fly fishing and in principle, we had thought of going fishing in Lesotho, fly trout, but apparently the season ends on May 31. Possibly we want to fish for 4 days, and we do not know if we can fish for trout in the drakenberg.
    I am from far away and I am looking for an unforgettable fishing experience. . I never did anything similar … although my interest is trout, if you could. I would look for alternatives like the tiger fish .. that they recommend me. Thank you

    • wpadmin says:

      There are a number of good fly fishing options available in the area. Antbear Lodge has 3 dams which have bass. Fishing is better during the warmer days.

      Moor Park nature reserve
      Approximately 7km from Antbear, the bushmans river seems to be a popular spot for flyfishing for yellowfish. A bit higher up the river there are options for brown trout however this is better suited to the more experienced fly fisherman.

      Zulu water game reserve
      Opposite the road to the Antbear Lodge, there is a huge dam that has been stocked with rainbow trout. 8km streach of Bushmans River where brown trout are available. Game drives are also available at Zuluwaters however both the game drives and fishing is only possible by prior arrangement with Zuluwaters; contact numbers 0825576685 or 035 352 0100 and email Flyfishing here is exceptional.

      Giants Castle Reserve
      Approximately 39km from the Antbear Guesthouse, small rainbow trout can be fished inside the reserve and even better just outside of the reserve Bushman’s river trout operates a 10km stretch of the Bushman’s River on a catch and release basis. Fishing here is particularly suited to fly fishing as there is mostly grassland on either side of the river. Fish are also larger than within the Giants Castle reserve.

      There are 3 very well stocked dams with rainbow trout and sizes of fish caught sometimes exceed 2kg. It is however better if you have a float tube as there are quite a bit of reeds around the dams.

      Having your own equipment is strongly recommended, however should you need to hire equipment, the Fly fishing & Birding shop at Nottingham road can supply you with most of what you will need. They also manage the permits to fish most of the dams in the midlands region. The troutbagger also hires out fly fishing kit but then need to fish in their dams. This is particularly suited for beginners.

      Mostly a fishing permit is necessary and can be mostly be arranged spontaneously at the fishing location.

  3. Asher says:

    Good day.

    I plan to spend a few days in the cathkin park area in August and would like to do some fishing.

    Can you recommend a ghillie or even someone who can give me advice/info on locations and techniques in the area.

    Thank you

    • wpadmin says:

      I am not aware of the person you need in the champagne valley area. Wits End does have a dam where you can fly fish. Bell park dam offers fishing but I dont see fly fisherman there often. Personally I think you might be better off seeing what Injisuthi offers. Its not that far away and the fly fishing in the river is superb

  4. Madelein Taute says:

    Do you have accommodation available from 25 to 27 Dec

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