More Beat Information

 by Tony Kietzman, 2009

 

THE BELL RIVER

The Bell River rises on the farm Tenahead and flows in an easterly direction to join the Sterkspruit at Moshesh’s ford. The beats closest to source are Ben Lawers and Boarman’s Chase. The gravel road passes quite close to the stream and access is relatively easy, beware of the potholes between the clumps of grass though. Expect to see various raptors and numerous malachite sunbirds. The endemic Orange-breasted rock jumper also occurs up here.

As it passes through Upper Hamilton, Hamilton, Dunley and Malpas the stream widens slightly and the pool size increases. Dunley is the area where you are most likely to find Brown Trout on the Bell. At Mertoun the Kloppershoekspruit that has it’s origins on the slopes of Ben McDhui near Tiffindell joins the Bell. From here down to Rhodes the gradient lessens. There is also more agricultural activity and larger fish are to be encountered here. Trees, in particular the Crack Willow (Salix fragilis) become more common. The Carlisleshoekspruit flows into the Bell on Newstead a few hundred metres upstream of Rhodes and at times can offer a beat close to the village as an alternative or a clear water haven in times of strong flow.

 View of the Bell River at Steepside by Tony Kietzman

Below the village the flow slows markedly and the river has longer gravel-bottomed stretches interspersed with occasional rocky runs on Earlstown, Monard and Claremont.  Yellowfish move up as far as the village during the warmer months. The beautiful Maartenshoekspruit joins the Bell at Glass Nevin and the lower Bell meanders down through Lower Glass Nevin and Steepside to join the Sterkspruit at Moshesh’s Ford.

THE RIFLESPRUIT

The Riflespruit is a tributary of the Bokspruit. The road ends at Mount Mourne and an upstream walk takes one into a gorge. The smooth boulder-strewn bedrock found here together with the gradient creates a fast flowing stream falling into plunge pools, runs and riffles. Downstream the beautiful valley has a small meandering stream with boulder strewn gravel bottoms on Ruthven, Borestone and Stillorgan.

The Riflespruit on Francisdale by Tony Kietzman

THE BOKSPRUIT

This stream tumbles out of a gorge above Gateshead that together with its downstream neighbour Brucedell constitute the freestone headwaters.  The gradient and lack of agricultural activity in the form of ploughing up to the riverbank means that the Bokspruit clears rapidly after summer downpours. This was the first stocked water in the area. Rainbows are self-sustaining and Brown Trout introduced in the 1990’s are increasingly rare these days.

Below Brucedell the valley opens out and gives way to agricultural lands. The green and white bedrock is strewn with boulders and bank side trees occur. The middle Bokspruit offers some very special fishing on properties like Bothwell, Birnam, Knockwarren and Welgemoed. Here one can spend all day under the shady canopy of willows. The bank side trees stabilize the banks and their roots create prime lies. If you can get your fly into these pockets, a surprise may await you.

The Riflespruit flows into the Bokspruit and the river widens, getting shallower through Clontarf, The Poplars and Carabas on its way to join the Sterkspruit. Yellowfish move up as far as the middle Bokspruit.

THE STERKSPRUIT

This river rises near the Barkly Pass between Elliott and Barkly East, in the vicinity of the southernmost point of the Drakensberg mountain range.  There is less gradient and more agriculture over the course of this river than its neighbouring sisters. The willows on the bank in lower reaches create undercuts in gravelled stretches.

This is the home of big fish with specimens of over three kilograms not being unheard of. Yellowfish move up in summer. After being joined by the Bokspruit, the confluence of the Bell and the Sterkspruit is the start of the Kraai River. Being the main drain out of the region, it unfortunately is often murky during the summer months.



A typical section of the Sterkspruit by Tom Sutcliffe


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