One of the most frequent questions I am asked is: “Where can one fish close to Johannesburg and Pretoria?” Well, we might not be blessed with the beautiful little streams that crisscross through the Eastern Cape or the crystal clear rivers of Lesotho but what we have in the Vaal River is a world class fly fishing destination right on the doorstep of the big smoke. For those who want a quick fix of day fishing there are plenty of venues available within an hour from Johannesburg traveling south on the N1.
Accommodation around the middle Vaal river area ranges from very basic catering for day visitors, to upmarket lodges suitable for families and couples wanting to get away from it all.
As one turns of the N1 and onto the Potchefstroom / Vanderbijlpark (Exit 9) off ramp one very quickly realise that this is yellowfish country with fishing resorts dotted all along the banks of the Vaal river.
The first venue on the list as you make your way down to Parys is Yellowfish Paradise. With 750m of river frontage the resort offers a good selection of broken water for the fly fisherman as well as deeper pools suitable to conventional angling. Offering self-catering bungalows as well as a camp site, Yellowfish Paradise is well suited for a group of friends who want to stay overnight and enjoy the fishing available at the resort.
Not far down the road from Yellowfish Paradise you will find the entrance to Strydoms and Silwerstrome a further 2km down the road. Both these venues are ideally suited to the budget conscious as well as those new to flyfishing the Vaal river as it affords relative easy wading and a large stretch of broken water ideally suited to fly fishermen. Both these venues however are best for day visitors as there are no facilities available.
Traveling less than 3km past the little town of Lindequesdrif one finds Arendsnes Fly fishing Resort and Woelwaters Holiday Resort situated directly next to each other. Both resorts offer camping as well as fully equipped chalets, play areas, a swimming pool and are well suited for a group of friends wanting an overnight stay. The Vaal River around these two venues consists of one continuous long stretch of riffles and rapids without the charm of the little islands dotted inside the river as you might find at venues such as Silwerstrome and Strydoms. Although these venues can become quite busy over weekends it offers good value for money. Whereas with many places on the Vaal you can fish only certain sections almost all of the water around these two venues are fishable.
The next stop down the R500 to Parys is the very popular Eendekuil. A favourite of many, Eendekuil offers a fantastic stretch of water that is well managed by the owner of the property. Eendekuil only allows for a limited number of fly fishermen per day which ensures an enjoyable day out on the river without the crowds that frequent the other venues. Made up of scattered islands and huge trees in the river it is also one of the most picturesque of all the venues. Eendekuil offers day fishing as well as overnight camping. There are however no facilities available and campers have to bring everything they need with.
Traveling further down the road, just outside Parys, you find Eastco Resort. This very well maintained family resort offers shaded camping/caravan stands, a swimming pool, tuck shop and chalets sleeping up to 6 guests. Fishing at Eastco can be very hard at times as wading can be tough when the Vaal River is flowing strong. Having said that, Eastco remains one of my favourite fishing venues. The resort has a very large fishable area suitable for fly fishing and conventional fishing.
For those who are willing to venture out a little bit further there is Elgro River Lodge between Potchefstroom and Parys. In my mind Elgro, as it is affectionately known, is undoubtedly the premier yellowfish destination of the middle Vaal River. With its beautifully maintained lawns, deck area and well-appointed chalets Elgro is the perfect weekend getaway for families and friends. Apart from fishing, Elgro also offers archery, nearby game drives and a drift down the river that gives you the opportunity to fish areas accessible by inflatable raft only.
As fisherman we are spoilt for choice when choosing the venue for our next outing. We must remember though that it is a privilege and not a right to fish these areas. Let us protect our indigenous fish species and treat them with the respect they deserve. Treat every venue as if it is your own and respect those who you are fortunate enough to share the water with.
• Yellowfish Paradise – 016 987 7199
• Strydoms/Silwerstrome – (no booking necessary – pay at entrance)
• Arendsnes – 016 987 1541
• Woelwaters 016 987 7932
• Eendekuil – 056 818 1392
• Eastco – 083 379 2872
• Elgro River Lodge – 018 297 5411
Detailed venue information available on