Recreational Fishing Permit (dams and rivers)

Freshwater fishing is an extremely popular pastime in our province, with both alien and indigenous fish species being caught. Popular alien angling fishes include Carp, Largemouth Bass, Rainbow Trout and Mozambique Tilapia. Valued indigenous angling species include Clanwilliam Yellowfish and Berg-Breede Whitefish. These fishes can be identified in A Complete Guide to the Freshwater Fishes of Southern Africa by Paul Skelton.

It is a requirement of the Western Cape Nature Conservation Ordinance that freshwater anglers over the age of six-years-old are required to have an angling licence to fish public waters. Public waters comprise rivers and state dams (e.g. Theewaterskloof dam, Clanwilliam dam), but not privately owned farm dams where no licence is required.  

Download the Application for a Angling Licence by clicking here (a word document will open in a new tab)

Below you will find a list of good, accessible angling waters within 150 km of Cape Town, and their most commonly caught species.

  • Brandvlei Dam: carp and whitefish
  • Rietvlei: carp and Mozambique tilapia
  • Lakenvlei: rainbow trout
  • Misverstand Dam: carp, largemouth and smallmouth blackbass and Mozambique tilapia
  • Sandvlei: carp, Mozambique tilapia, sharptooth catfish and mullet
  • Theewaterskloof Dam: largemouth bass, carp, sharptooth catfish
  • Voelvlei: carp and sharptooth catfish
  • Zeekoevlei: carp, Mozambique tilapia and sharptooth catfish
  • Berg River: rainbow trout above Franschhoek. Above Paarl the river contains smallmouth bass and carp. The remainder of the river contains carp, Mozambique tilapia, sharptooth catfish and smallmouth bass.
  • Breede River: rainbow trout dominate its mountain tributaries (e.g. Elandsplaat, Holsloot and Molenaars rivers) but brown trout dominate the upper Witte River. The Breede River provides excellent angling for carp, smallmouth bass, catfish and some whitefish.
  • Eerste and Lourens rivers: rainbow trout are common in the sections above Stellenbosch and Somerset West respectively. Carp are common in the middle and lower river.
  • Liesbeek River: The lower reaches have large numbers of carp and sharptooth catfish.

To guide anglers, and encourage a culture of environmentally responsible recreational angling, a Code of Practice has been developed and is available to view or download on the image below.


Code Of Practice For Freshwater Angling In The Western Cape

General Conservation Tips

  • Ensure that you have permission to fish on the waters you intend fishing, especially when on private land.
  • Contact numbers for trout and bass fishing are the Cape Piscatorial Society, Tel. (021) 424 7725 and Bassin’ Distributors Tel. (021) 930 6170.
  • Please do not litter and never throw away fishing line.
  • Litter is a hazard to human and fish health, and fish line can entangle and kill birds.
  • Please return indigenous fishes (e.g. Clanwilliam yellowfish, sawfin and whitefish) to the water. These fishes are threatened with extinction as they have been eliminated from much of their former ranges by alien fishes such as the two black bass species, carp and sharptooth catfish.
  • You need a permit to transport live fish from one waterbody to another.

Where to apply

CapeNature Head Office: 087 087 9262

Regional offices:

  • George: (044) 802 5300
  • Hermanus: (028) 316 3338
  • Driftsands: (021) 955 5940
  • Oudtshoorn: (044) 203 6300
  • Porterville: (022) 931 2900/7
  • Robertson: (023) 625 1621
  • Stellenbosch: (021) 866 1560

Head Office contact numbers for permits information: 087 087 9262 or email:
Nicole Stanley at reception@capenature.co.za or info@capenature.co.za

Validity period
12 months from date of issue

Why must I have a permit?

In terms of section 53 of the Ordinance no person may fish in any inland waters without an angling licence.

Download: Freshwater Fish Permit Application Form

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