The Holsloot River

The Holsloot is a tailwater fishery flowing from the Stettynskloof Dam through a deep and arid gorge to join up with the Molenaars system before flowing into the greater Breede River. The Holsloot produces good numbers of rainbow trout, sometime in excess of 20 inches, which is considered a trophy on the small Western Cape streams.

Being a tailwater fishery, the Holsloot flows a few degrees cooler than the other streams in the heat of summer, and at a much more constant level. It is considered the river to fish in mid to late summer when the other rivers are running warm and low.

The upper sections below the dam are controlled by the CPS in conjunction with the Cape Nature, and some 7 kilometres of river has been broken into six wonderful, yet technical beats. Below this section more fishable water is in private hands but access can be obtained from Dwarsberg Trout Hideaway.

Access to the beats is obtained via a service road up to the Stettynskloof Dam, this service road runs through private property and a code for an electronic gate should be obtained from the CPS at the time the booking is made. Parking areas as well as beat markers are clearly visible along the road.

Compliments of Tom Sutcliffe

Beat 1 presents lovely water that demands some very technical casting in places. This beat often produces good numbers of trout and some pleasurable sections of dry fly water amongst beds of aquatic grasses.

Using a dapping technique, place dry flies in the pockets among the grasses – numerous smaller trout hang out here. Also remember to fish larger and more buoyant caddis patterns, such as the Elk Hair, and Stimulators in the headwater of fast runs.

The rainbows not only instinctively take up station in fast water, but they also show a preference to areas with elevated oxygen levels in the mid-to-late summer heat.

Compliments of Tom Sutcliffe

Beat 2 is a mix of heavily-bushed sections and large pools, some of which need to be bypassed in the surrounding fynbos.

An important tip is to enter the pools from downstream with as little disturbance as possible and fish the fringes and undercuts in the tail-outs. Trout often take up station in the shallow, shaded parts under bank-side vegetation near the tails of pools.

As with a lot of the water on the Holsloot you can't go wrong with a #12 Ed’s Hopper pattern tied with bright yellow foam.

Compliments of Tom Sutcliffe

Beat 3 is popular and holds some of the best water on the Holsloot. Made up of a nice variety of deep pools, slots and shallow runs the beat offers anglers plenty of opportunities to catch a good number of fish.

As with many other beats on the river, your fishing strategy should be changed when the trout disappear in the midday hours. Switch to larger terrestrial type flies, especially hopper patterns, or small bead head nymphs and cover the deeper and more shaded areas where trout are most likely to hold in the midday sun.

Compliments of Tom Sutcliffe

Beat 4 starts at a lovely pool, which offers the opportunity for fish right from the start of the day. The rest of the beat consists of long pools, runs and good pocket water.

Fish upstream using small dries and nymphs that imitate the natural insects, such as small caddis species, dark Baetis Leptophlebid mayflies (prongills) and chrysomelid beetles.

Exit from the beat requires some care and prior planning as a wrong move could leave you struggling through dense fynbos, far from your car.

Compliments of Leonard Flemming

Beat 5 is very bushy in sections, can be tricky to navigate and often demands very technical casting, but there are plenty of fish tucked away in the overgrown slots and runs.

Big dries (#12-14) such as Ed’s Hopper, the Elk Hair Caddis and Stimulators work particularly well on bow-and-arrow casts under the thick overgrowth that consists of wild almonds, lanced-leaf myrtles, Cape willows, honey-bell bushes and sand olives.

Access the beat by following the small tributary that runs down a spur of high ground and the beat ends at the base of the large pool below the bridge crossing, which is the start of Beat Six.

Compliments of Leonard Flemming

The pool at the start of beat 6 should keep you busy for the first hour of the day, as trout seem to congregate here in the early season. Fish often take up station tight to the bank, under low foliage, which should be taken into account when approaching this pool.

Fish the pool and their inlets all the way up the right-hand bank until the dam wall, or cross over to the left fork and commence fishing up the Kaaimansgat tributary through thickets of fynbos for as long as the daylight allows.

Return to your car down the left bank (facing downstream) and fish to the evening rises in the large pool below the dam wall on the way.