South African trout fishing is a delightful pastime – not least because the abundant food means they grow far larger than you'd expect. But don't come looking for them huge rivers. You're more likely to find them in mountain streams and still-water areas.

Did you know?

The average weight of trout in South Africa's rivers is 1kg, although they can grow up to 8kg.

Trout fishing in South Africa began at the start of the 20th century when some Loch Leven stock (brown trout) were imported from Scotland. Ten years later, rainbow trout were brought in.

Today, the streams, rivers and dams of South Africa are full of both – and it has become a multi-million rand business.

Certain towns are devoted to trout fishing. Take Dullstroom, a village in Mpumalanga, for instance. The decidedly Scottish weather brings mist into this rocky terrain, where the Wellington gumboot and the Woolly Bugger lure rule. At weekends, the place is awash with fly-fishers as urbanites gather to talk, catch and cook trout.

Up in the high streams of the Drakensberg there is abundant food for the trout, and so, despite the fact that the water source is often just a healthy trickle, the trout grow very large at altitude.

The best trout fishing can be found in the mountains inland of Cape Town, along the Lesotho border along the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga and in the eastern Free State, in the Clarens area.

The Somerset East area has lately become known as great fly-fishing country too. Local trout man Alan Hobson comments: 'Trout fishing is a little like Cluedo. You've got to see what's actually happening. What insects are flying around? Do you see moths in the grass? They will be the ones you need to imitate. Look at the way a trout rises. That shows you what it's eating and at what stage of development it is. Look out for wind channels on the water.

'You're just focused on water. It's like you're working out a puzzle, and you're completely transported. It's mental therapy.'

Travel tips & Planning info

Who to contact

Wild Trout Association
Tel: +27 (0)45 974 9290

African Trout
Phone: +27 (0)72 438 3575

How to get here

Because of the remote location of South Africa's top trout fishing spots, your most convenient option is to hire a 4x4 from the airport you intend to land at.

Best time to visit

The dry winter months (May to September) are the best for trout fishing. The activity is, however, available throughout the year.

Get around

Due to the rugged terrain surrounding the best trout fishing spots, a 4X4 vehicle would be best.

What to eat

Most restaurants in South Africa's prime trout fishing areas pride themselves on their trout specialities.