In-Depth Reports on Various Beats

IN-DEPTH REPORTS ON VARIOUS BEATS – by George Brooks and Tom Davies, 17 – 24 January 2003

DIEPSPRUIT: MILLERD

Directions: On the R58 out of Barkley East towards Lady Grey, take the first right on the New England and Tiffindell Ski Resort road, +-3km out of Barkley. Follow the signs for Tiffindell for +-20km until reaching a T-Junction; take the left turn here, which is signposted to New England NOT Tiffindell. Follow this road for +-4 km until reaching a right hand turn signed for Millard. Follow this for 4.25km when you will arrive at the Millard farm on the right.

Vehicle: Car (Bakkie for Snowdon area)  Tackle: Med           Km: 14

Terrain: Moderate in upper section (very hard in Snowdon area)

Brief Description of Water: Shallow runs into deep pools, over gravel and sand with small rocks. (Snowdon is very rocky with flat bedrock and small turbulent pools)

 

 

Detailed Description of Water

The lower section stretches for +-6km downstream of the house. The pools in the lower section are long with a good flow into them, which slows, but continues throughout the pools then picks up pace as the water flows out of the tail. Depth varies dramatically from pool to pool, with some being very shallow and not worth a cast, but most tending to be about 1 foot in depth with areas deepening to 4 to 5 feet. The river here flows over a gravel bed with small rocks between the pools.

The river has cut a gorge of about 8 feet above the water height for a lot of the length of this stretch, providing excellent shelter and shade for the trout, this also makes wading essential in most areas; long grass lines the tops of most of the high banks. Where the banks drop to water level, reeds and quite a few trees extend back from the river to provide additional cover for the fish. The fish here are very wild and can spook easily, so long casts and quite wading are needed where it is not possible to fish from the bank (I observed fish spooked 20 yards up from where I got out of the river!). Having said this, in the deeper areas where the trees overhand the water, it is possible to get quite close to the fish. The water can be fished both upstream and down, with green nymphs seeming to be the trout’s preferred fly (spooning of fish revealed green caterpillars as the main food at the time) but small, dark wet flies also took fish. The best holding spots for the fish tended to be both in the deep water and under any of the overhanging trees. The middle section of the river stretches for +-3km up from the house.

The top ½km of the section is shallow, about 1 to 2 feet in depth, with the pools being short with fast flow. However, as the river progresses downstream the pools deepen to between 3 and 5 feet and lengthen to about 20 to 30 metres; the flow varies here from very fast at some of the run ins, to virtually stagnant. The riverbed throughout is flat bedrock strewn with small boulders.

Long reeds and grass bound the river for the top 2km after which it flows into woodland, where the reeds become replaced by overhanging trees and long grass. All of this provides good shelter for the fish and a natural environment for insect life. The top of the section had little feed and this reflected on the fish population as no fish were seen let alone caught. However where the river deepens, the insect life increased and many flies can be seen on the water; the fishing also gets dramatically better from here on down, with fish being seen and caught from ½ to 1½ lbs, many of the pools holding up to 15 fish. As with the lower section, stealth is essential and it is best fished from the bank only wading where absolutely necessary; it can be fished either downstream or upstream with dry flies and nymphs.

The top section of the river, up to the Snowdon Bridge, is almost identical to the middle section, the only difference being the distance between the pools, which was longer. However the number of pools is roughly similar as the length of the section is also greater, being +-5km. Although home to trout in years gone by, Snowdon contains no fish at present, but the farmer has plans to re-stock up there as the river is very suited to fish with deep pools and lots of feed. For information on this please contact the farmer.

RIFLESPRUIT: MOUNT MOURNE

Directions: On the R396 between Rhodes and Moshesh’s Ford, take the turnoff marked “Bokspruit Elliot”. Continue down the pass and cross a bridge over the Bokspruit. Shortly after the bridge, take the fork on the left marked “Bokspruit”. Continue until the next fork and take the fork on the left marked “Riflespruit”. Continue along this road until reaching fenced lands surrounding the farmhouse on Mt Mourne.  Do not continue to the farmstead. Park at shady spots at the beginning of the land.

Vehicle: Car    Tackle: Med     Terrain: hard in upper section, moderate in middle and lower sections.

Brief Description of water: Hard bedrock in upper section, rocky with gravel in middle and lower section

Detailed description of water: At the start of the water the pools are up to 3 to 4 feet deep and 20 meters in length, as the river runs up these get smaller and further between. There are some very large pools about 1½km up the river compared to the rest of the beat, which are mostly runs of water into very small pools that might hold the odd fish. The further upstream we went the rockier it got.

The flow of water was strong in this river and in certain areas there was lots of white water flowing over large rocks into small deep pools, which held a few fish. However, these fish tended to be small, the biggest being 11 inches. We found that the pools had been over stocked, there were lots of small fish at about 3 inches and in a pool of 10 meters we were finding at least 30 fish of this size. It seemed that the small fish were eating all the food hence there was not enough left for the fish to grow larger. The terrain we covered was very rocky and the river lined with lots of large bushes, which made walking over it tricky, so I would advise walking boots. However, there are some horse tracks to make the going easier.

 

IN-DEPTH REPORTS ON VARIOUS BEATS – by Pieter Taljaard 26/11/2003 – 10/1/2004

BOKSPRUIT: GATESHEAD

Directions: Travel out of Rhodes towards Barkley East. Take the turn-off towards the left marked Upper-Bokspruit and Riflespruit. Follow the road down as it meanders down the valley. As you reach the bottom you cross over the Bokspruit, keep on driving to the top of that hill to where the road forks; take the left-hand arm marked for the Upper-Bokspruit. Follow this road all the way around and cross the Bokspruit once more (this beat is Welgemoed). Follow the road onwards until you cross the Bokspruit once again. A road towards the left will be signposted. Go through the gate and follow the track all the way to the end where Gateshead (the house) is. Accommodation is available from the Vosloo’s, enquire at Walkerbouts. 

Vehicle : Bakkie (mandatory)              Terrain: Mountain with moderate to heavy hiking, fishing right on your doorstep, but the higher reaches are not for the unfit.

Brief Description of Water: This is the Upper-Upper-Bokspruit. This is real mountain stream fishing, with icy crystal clear water and wild trout. There are several kilometres of fishing to explore either on foot or (by prior arrangement) horseback. For the dry fly enthusiast this is a must.

Detailed Description of Water:

As you move up from the house, the river goes from medium to tiny to minute. The views are spectacular, you are right in the heart of the ‘Berg in the middle of nowhere surrounded by Vultures and horses. On this beat it definitely is not just about the fishing and the scenery will truly take your breath away. The majority of fish aren’t very large, but size looses all significance when fishing in this area. The river is fast flowing, with crystal clear water and eager trout. This beat allows the small stream enthusiast to really eat his/her heart out; dry flies, light weight tackle and super-fine tippets. This is a real mountain stream and hiking becomes a must on this beat, so be warned. There is a lot of everything on this beat, but everything is of Lilliputian scale; pools, riffles, runs, pocket water etc.  Sight fishing becomes mandatory and with the size of the trout population up here you are sure to have a great day’s fishing. You can fish this beat all the way from the beginning of the far till where the Bokspruit disappears into the mountain side and is but a mere trickle. A real must if you have the time. But beware, the road to Gateshead is in a poor state of repair necessitating the use of a vehicle with high clearance. Wet weather demands the capabilities of a four wheel driven vehicle.

Autumn at Gateshead by Tom Sutcliffe


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