The Wild Trout Association (WTA) is an organisation of riparian owners with trouting waters at their disposal, and affiliate members, who provide services and facilities such as guiding and accommodation. The WTA is thus a fly-fishing marketing body that promotes fly-fishing on a sustainable basis on behalf of its members. The headquarters of the WTA is Walkerbouts Inn, Rhodes Village.
General rules of the Association;
Fish by fly only with recognised fly-fishing equipment
- Leave gates as you find them
- Please do not drive through lands of any description, ever
- Do not litter and fires are prohibited
- No dogs pets allowed on beats
Remember that you are on private property that is precious to the owner. Treat it as such.
What does the WTA do?
The formation of the WTA brought about long-needed access to these waters and has been remarkably successful in doing so. It has taken many long years for the association to expand the scope of its access to fishing.
The WTA is responsible for the administration of the fishery, including the central booking system and other administrative functions such as data capture and processing, permit fee disbursements and marketing.
Riparian members have been encouraged to develop the necessary infrastructure to accommodate visiting fly-fishermen to the area. Fly-fishing cottages and lodges have duly been established along the rivers and in the village of Rhodes where a host of different accommodation options has become available.
In addition to making the fly-fishing resource more easily accessible, the WTA has concentrated a great deal of its efforts on making the attractions of the Eastern Cape Highlands known to the general public. Although trout fishing is the major sport practised in the region, there are umpteen other attractions such as snow-skiing, hiking, mountain biking, bird-watching, pony riding, rock art viewing and, for the hunting enthusiast, greywing francolin shooting to be enjoyed as well.
Where does the WTA operate?
The greatest concentration of fly-fishing on wild running water available to the public in Southern Africa is to be found in the Highlands of the Eastern Cape. The Highlands straddle the southernmost portion of the Drakensberg and continue into the Stormberg. The WTA administers and has access to more than 350km of running water throughout the Highlands and is the largest sport fishery of its kind on the entire continent of Africa.
The waters range from Lilliputian streams found at the headwaters of the tributaries of the Kraai River that grow as they tumble down into the valleys below. These freestone streams and rivers are mostly fed by summer precipitation including thunderstorms and to a lesser extent by melt water from occasional snowfalls in winter.
The preferred method of fishing was on a catch-and-release basis. This was promoted to create an awareness of the sustainable utilisation of a natural resource - a "put them back so that someone else can catch them again" policy. Experience has shown that although a commendable principle, the headwaters provide a most suitable breeding ground to the extent that after years of complaints about only catching "small" fish, the policy now revolves around "window fishing". Cull the fingerlings, return the breeding stock and take the trophy fish, if it's a trophy fish that blows your hair back, in a manner of speaking! Enthusiasts are accordingly welcome to sample the fruits of their fishing "labour" by way of removing pan-sized trout for culinary purposes whilst in the Highlands. Resorting to the historic "South West fishing trip" practise of filling cool-boxes/deep-freezers is definitely frowned upon!