Elandspad - Smalblaar | CzechNymph.com
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Elandspad - Smalblaar

Country: South Africa
District: Western Cape
Type: River

Location size
River: 20 km

Distance from
Cape Town: 100 km

Official website of the Cape Piscatorial Society

Towering folded mountains, some as high as 1800m, with a crystal clear freestone mountain stream flowing in a valley carved over millions of years, thru the world's smallest, yet one of the most diverse biomes: The Cape Floristic Kingdom. With free rising rainbow trout, this makes it a spectacular day's fishing, with memories that will be etched forever in the memory bank.

A crystal clear freestone mountain stream in the Cape Mountains.

How To Get There

The Smalblaar/Elandspad river system is about 100km from Cape Town, on the N1 national highway. As you pass thru the Du Toits Kloof Tunnel, the Elandspad is on the left hand side passing under the road. Joining with the Smalblaar river at Junction pool. Flowing down the Du Toits Valley.

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Location Details

The higher numbered beats are upstream and provide more but smaller fish, with the lower beats having less but larger fish. The Elandspad river is divided in 5 beats and the Smalblaar into 6 Beats.

A fly fisher is only allowed 1 beat per day. Some beats are only a couple of hunderd meters where some of the longer beats is 2 or 3 times as long. All the beats vary between little pocket water, long runs and glides, to deep pools.

All the rivers runs thru a national park, with some wild live showing them shelves every now and again. Baboons will be the most frequently wild live spotted. With the odd otter showing himself. Footprints of a leopard might be spotted in the soft sand if you are lucky, as these big cats are very shy and elusive. When walking thru keep an eye out for the odd snake that might present itself. Snakes are not aggresive if left alone. So don't be too concerned about them.

Driving towards the rivers from any directions, you will encounter kilometers and kilometers of vineyards and fruit orchids. Depending on the season, it could be the bare winter branches, or crisp fresh green leaves and budding flowers of spring, or the ripe fruit of late summer. In Autumn, the kaleidoscope of rich browns, golds, orange, brick and purple can announce the coming of the winter. Wading in the river, the towering cliffs keeps a constant eye on your fishing and will be  permanent companion thru your whole beat.

Do take some time to view the majestic mountains and the interesting flora of the Cape Floristic kingdom. In the Cape Floristic Kingdom, a couple of square kilometers can host more plant species, that the whole of the United Kingdom.

The best places to park and gain acces to the various beats are as follows, for the Elandspad, the parking area on the Worcester side of the tunnel. (not the secondary entrance to the tunnel, about 50 meters on there is designated parking spot for the fly fishers and hikers).

For the Smalblaar, the best parking is at the hotel or the Weirpool, about 800m further downstream.The best parking for the lower beats (1 and 2) is at the bridge of the Klipriver. This is about 2,5km below the hotel.

Parking spots close to the beats are all marked on the Cape Piscatorial website: www.piscator.co.za with detailed descriptions on the locations of  all the beats.


The Smalblaar/Elandspad river system holds Rainbow trout. The lower section of the Smalblaar will have some bass in the larger pools. The average size of the trout varies from about 18 cm to about 40 cm. Every year provides a couple of large specimens up to 55 cm.

How To Fish

The fishing is fly only.

Early and late season will provide more fish on nymphs, where the rest will provide dry fly fishing to every ones delight.

Wading in the river is the only recommended way as the banks at most spots completely covered in riverine bush. Most wading will be between ankle deep and thigh deep.


The average AFTM rods fished on the river is #0 to #3, with some fly fishers go for a #5. Floating line is all that is required, with a selection of caddis and mayfly patterns, in size 14 and 16 more than enough to provide good fishing.

Practical Info

The fishing is fly only. The season starts on 1 September to the 31 May. As this is a winter rainfall destination and situated in the Southern Hemisphere, the beginning and end of the season can have high river flows, which sometimes could be dangerous wading conditions

The beginning and end of season, could be very cold and high river levels. Make sure you have decent foul weather gear, the summer months can provide fishing in glorious sunny weather, so make sure you have adequate sun protection (hat, long sleeves and sun block). Decent wading shoes or hiking boots are highly recommended.

The river is divided in beats, and booking a beat gives you sole acces to the stretch of water for the whole day. Fishing licences and Forestry permits are a must to have access and fish the area. Maximum of 2 anglers per beat per day. All fishing must be booked thru the Cape Piscatorial Society:   www.piscator.co.za The website has usefull info about the location of the beats, parking and tactics.Both tributaries fall under secial permits given only by the Sumava National Park in very limited quantities.

There are 2 good fly fishing shops in the Cape Town area, Upstream and Stream X, that can provide up to date info about the fishing and sells all the major brands of tackle.

The river system regurlay holds the South African fly fishing championships.

There are loads of sight seeing in the area, with towns like Paarl, Franschhoek, Worcester, Stellenbosch offering, more than a couple of days of entertainment.

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