Fly Fishing Tips in South Africa

October 19, 2020 Fishing Guides Views: 2067

When it comes to fly fishing South Africa is one of the most underrated locations out there and a lot of people would prefer it remains that way. The Drakensberg mountain range divides the interior of Eastern South Africa. This mountain range extends from the Eastern Cape to Limpopo in the north.

Places to go for fly fishing in South Africa 

Every trout fisherman will see the mountains as the ideal place. Not too far from the coastal plains, the mountains rise to 300m which leads to a huge upwelling of the heavy rain and moist air during the summer. Hence, this makes them the source of different trout streams that flow eastwards into three core trout areas which are Mpumalanga, KwaZulu Natal, and the Eastern Cape close to the towns of Lady Grey and Barkly East.

As you move towards the Western Cape at the top, trout are more common around the high mountains close to the inland of Cape Town. This area has a weather condition that is Mediterranean with most days sunfilled and clear. Most of the lakes and rivers can get reached by car. Aside from these places, you can get profitable fishing in Lesotho which is a country that is both mountainous and landlocked and features clear streams that are 2,500m above sea level. Trout here have plenty of food especially because of the large number of mayflies there.

Also, the size of the trout is always outstanding. Also, the locations are accessible by vehicles even though traveling by air is ideal.

What should you catch?

Knowing what to catch will make your fly fishing South Africa experience worthwhile. Salmonids first came into Southern African water after they got imported from Scotland. The imported brown trout performed well in the new environment they found themselves. A decade after, rainbows got introduced to boost diversity. The good thing about it is that most of the water still has a clear identity. Either rainbow or brown waters hardly ever hold both fish species. 

Compared with what is obtainable elsewhere, South African trout waters are smaller with most of it being streams. The size of the average trout caught is large as the fishes produced ranges between four and five pounds. When you go further East in the Barkly East area, you may find fishes up to nine pounds. Make sure you consider these points when fishing for trout:

● Be patient

You stand a better chance of waiting a bit longer to catch your fish. Learners often have a hard time catching their first fish, but with some patience, things will get better.

● Don’t joke with your safety

Make sure you get kitted before stepping out and make sure you do not go out in adverse weather conditions so you don't drown

● Study the waters

The best fishermen are those who understand the language of the water and can interpret it to their advantage. Study the direction and flow of the water while also studying the appearance patterns of the fishes.

● Be creative with the fly

Don’t be rigid when considering bait for the fishes. You may choose to introduced alien bait into the water and see the difference.

● Considering the Stillwater

To experience great success in fly fishing in South Africa you need regular rainfall which implies that if there is a single season of bad rainfall, it could affect it. South Africa is generally dry drought is not common as you move up the eastern highlands than what you find in the interior and it is not as devastating. Because of the uncertainty that comes with fishing in river water, South African fishermen have opted for Stillwater flyfishing. The still waters are man created dams or lakes which measure up to 20 acres.

Most of the still water is quite fertile and the fishes grow at a remarkable rate. Also, trout measuring up to 10 pounds is quite common here and some grow up to 14 pounds. Usually, the fishing gets done with floating lines from float-tubes.


In South Africa, the trout season begins in September and extends to May. The still waters do not have closed seasons. The ideal period for fishing starts in September and extends to October. The water is cooler in these months and makes for a favorable environment for the trout. Fly fishing gets done using five weight outfits both in the river and on still water with fly rods of 9 feet. Adhering to the tips in this article will make your fly fishing experience more profitable.

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