Recreational fishing permit (dams and rivers)

Freshwater fishing of both alien and indigenous species is an extremely popular pastime in the Western Cape. Popular alien angling fish include carp, largemouth bass, rainbow trout and Mozambique tilapia. Indigenous angling species include Clanwilliam yellowfish and Berg-Breede whitefish. 

The Western Cape Nature Conservation Ordinance requires freshwater anglers over the age of six years old to have an angling licence for fishing in public waters, such as rivers and state-owned dams (e.g. Theewaterskloof and Clanwilliam dams), but not for privately owned farm dams, where no licence is required. 

What type of activity requires a licence?

An angling licence is required to fish for freshwater fish in the Western Cape.

Why do I need a licence?

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

How do I go about getting a licence?

You can either submit a completed application form and supporting documents (including proof of payment to, or you can apply online through the CapeNature permits portal at

Payment may be made by depositing the relevant amount into our bank account and faxing or producing the proof of payment (i.e. stamped deposit slip, internet banking confirmation etc.) on application.

Banking details:

Western Cape Nature Conservation Board, Nedbank,  Current Account, Account no: 1452057117, Branch code: 145209

How long will it take me to get a licence?

It will take one working day to obtain a licence.

What is the cost of the administration fee?

The licence costs R45.

Fishing spots and species

Here is a list of good, accessible angling spots within 150km of Cape Town, and the most commonly fished species in these areas:

  • 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
  • Voëlvlei: carp and sharptooth catfish

  • Zeekoevlei: carp, Mozambique tilapia and sharptooth catfish
  • Berg River: rainbow trout above Franschhoek; and smallmouth bass and carp above Paarl. Other parts of the river contain carp, Mozambique tilapia, sharptooth catfish and smallmouth bass
  • Breede River: rainbow trout dominate the 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 is common in the middle and lower part of the 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 below:

General conservation tips

  • Ensure you have permission to fish in the waters where you intend to fish, especially on private land
  • The contacts for trout and bass fishing are the Cape Piscatorial Society (+27 (0)21) 424 7725) and Bassin Distributors (+27 (0)21) 930 6170)
  • Please do not litter and never throw away fishing line
  • Litter is a hazard to human and fish health, and fishing line can entangle and kill birds
  • Please return indigenous fish (e.g. Clanwilliam yellowfish, sawfin and whitefish) to the water. These fish are at threat of extinction as they’ve been displaced for much of their former ranges by alien fish such as the two black bass species, carp and sharptooth catfish
  • You need a permit to transport live fish from one body of water to another