Free State section of "The Southern African Trout and Flyfishing Directory."

THE FREE STATE

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For a province not normally acknowledged for its flyfishing, the Free State may well surprise you. Historically speaking it has produced some of the biggest trout in South Africa, such as the double-figure brown trout taken from the small Hawkins dam near Harrismith in the 1950s, some monsters from Golden Gate in the 1970s and some monsters from Sterkfontein and Swartwater dam.

Over the last few years, another area has taken up the task of improving its facilities and marketing its lodges. The centre of this endeavour is in the charming town of Clarens near Golden Gate and now the visitor has an array of flyfishing to look forward to.

Undoubtedly, the province much potential but hopefully that potential will be continue to be developed. Though Sterkfontein dam started off with a bang as far as trout were concerned, more and more flyfishers are looking to the venue for its incredible flyfishing for yellowfish.

The interesting aspect is that while yellowfish commonly take hold of a fly in running water, they have not been so keen to do so in stillwater. Except for Sterkfontein, where they provide some world-class sport at times. I also know that the Sterkfontein mudfish and moggel will also pick up a fly. One April, when the dam was still stocked with trout, all the trout in the dam bypassed my fly, to snaffle those of my colleagues. However all was not lost as I managed to catch both yellows and mudfish on a sink-tip line.

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