Welcome to the Wild Trout Association
Wall of Shame
It has come to the Association’s attention that a few dishonest anglers are fishing without valid permits, or on non-WTA waters without the permission of riparian owners. Some merely buy a day permit and use it for the duration of their stay.
This abuses the generosity of riparian owners in a rural community renowned for its hospitality. But it also robs the WTA, and our riparian members, of much needed and valuable revenue.
Gabriel Botha and a 70cm "slab of power" caught on the 11th September 2012, in the "Loch Ness" dam at Tiffindell by Gabriel Botha
Copyright © 2012 The Wild Trout Association, All rights reserved.
NB. Fuel, both petrol and diesel can be unobtainable in Rhodes. Visitors are advised to fill up their vehicles' fuel tanks before embarking on the last leg to Rhodes.
Also, when traversing the Naudesnek Pass (and any other high-lying areas) always park facing into the wind. Gusts of wind have been known to rip doors out of travellers hands resulting in serious damage to the door and vehicle.
Beware of the Pitseng Pass route from the Mt Fletcher/Maclear road, a "short-cut" to Elands Heights or Naudesnek. If you want to traverse Naudesnek Pass, the recommended route is via Maclear. It is advisable to make use of local knowledge before travelling on the passes in the area.
The good news is that work is currently being done on the Naudesnek Pass road on the Maclear side which has been sorely neglected.
Lastly, the R396 from Barkly Pass/Mountain Shadows Hotel is in a shocking state. The recommended route to Rhodes is via Barkly East.
Introduction to the Eastern Cape Highlands
The waters of the Wild Trout Association are to be found in the Eastern Cape Highlands located on the southern border of
The Eastern Cape Highlands
It is rugged terrain and has numerous streams at over 2500m above sea level that drain into sizeable rivers. These either flow into the large
Above the escarpment, narrow streams in the headwaters meander across remote plateaus, some of which can only be reached in 4x4 vehicles. These streams eventually tumble down waterfalls and rapids that can only be reached on foot or on horseback. They gradually descend into more readily accessible valleys lined in places with indigenous trees and occassional exotic species such as poplars and willows that can be reached with ease in saloon cars.
Below the escarpment, the streams grow in size as the tributaries join and gather in deep sandstone gorges spilling out onto meandering flatlands before continuing their journey to the sea. This great variety of water caters for practically every taste, degree of fitness and skill.
Through the Association you will have access to fishing that will keep most enthusiasts occupied for a lifetime! The waters of the Eastern Cape Highlands were first stocked with rainbow trout from the Jonkershoek and Pirie Hatcheries in the mid-1920s. These fish then bred prolifically in the wild as they still do today and within a decade, Sydney Hey fished for them and subsequently waxed lyrical about his experiences in his classic book “Rapture of the River”.
Stocking in a limited manner, particularly of still waters, continued from the Pirie Hatchery until the 70’s. By the 80’s fish were obtained from as far afield as Grahamstown where the Department of Ichthyology and Fisheries Science of Rhodes University had established a hatchery that has expanded considerably and continues to operate although often under very trying circumstances, municipal water quality being an issue and more recently, urbanised otters have taken their toll!
It was also during these years that Ron Moore’s hatchery at
Stocking strategies are carefully planned and managed under the supervision of the Association’s fishery consultant, Martin Davies of the Department of Ichthyology and Fisheries Science at
Although a tar road that runs from Lady Grey through to Maclear bisects the Eastern Cape Highlands, the rest of the roads are gravel, narrow and winding. They must be traversed with patience and driven with care. This area provided shelter, a hunting ground and a home to many groups of San (Bushmen) who visited during the warmer summer months for centuries.
Traces of their presence are still evident in the numerous caves in which shamans (medicine men) recorded their mystic experiences. Their rock art abounds and visits to these sites can provide a fascinating alternative to fishing!
White farmers first populated the area in the late 19th century and have been here ever since. It is known for quality wool and meat production.
Nothing is easy in these parts. The Highlands of the
It could also be said that the Highlands in the Real Southern Drakensberg is the true domain of the wild trout of