The waters of the Wild Trout Association are to be found in the Eastern Cape Highlands, on the southern border of Lesotho. The area straddles the magisterial districts of Barkley East, Dordrecht, Lady Grey and Rhodes. This is rugged terrain, with numerous streams at over 2500m above sea level that drain into sizeable rivers. These waters were first stocked with rainbow trout in the mid 1920’s. The fish bred prolifically, as they still do today.
The Wild Trout Association (WTA) is an organisation of riparian owners with trouting waters at their disposal. The formation of the WTA brought about long-needed access to these waters. The WTA has concentrated efforts on making the attractions of the Eastern Cape Highlands waters known to the general public. Although trout fishing is a major sport in the region, it is not the only one – there are umpteen other attractions in the area such as skiing, hiking, mountain biking, bird-watching, pony trekking and hunting. Many new waters have been accrued to the WTA over the years, and the association now controls more than 250km of water.
The riparian owners have been encouraged to develop the necessary infrastructure to accommodate visiting fly-fishermen. Cottages and lodges have sprung up near to the rivers – a host of different accommodation has become available. The WTA is responsible for the administration of the entire fishery. The central booking facility is a Walkabouts Inn in Rhodes. The WTA also has a successful website and booking service on the internet – www.wildtrout.co.za.
Permits and rules of fishing:
A day permit must be purchased to fish in waters controlled by the WTA. Permits are sold on a first come – first served basis, but booking can be done in advance.
The following are the general rules of the association:
- Fishing is by fly only with recognised fly-fishing equipment;
- Fishing is on a catch and release basis only;
- Please leave gates as you find them;
- Please do not drive through lands – stick to the roads;
- Fires and littering are prohibited;
- No pets are allowed in most fly-fishing areas; and
- Remember that you are on private property and please treat it as such.