Winter time is not only hunting and shooting time. It is also yellowfish time. A fish only found in the River of Diamonds – the Vaal River.

We fish for the yellowfish in the clear rocky streams of the Vaal River within a pristine environment with no other human in sight. Sightings of fish eagle and otters are virtually guaranteed, which are indicators of a healthy ecosystem. An ecosystem within the river of which the two species of yellowfish hold the top ranking in the food chain, being the main predators. They are the smallmouth yellowfish Barbus holubi and the largemouth yellowfish Barbus kimberleyensis.

The smallmouth yellowfish does not reach the weight of the largemouth yellowfish but, pound for pound, is the better fighter of the two, often breaching during the fight. Many fly fishermen in the know claim that the smallmouth yellowfish is the best freshwater fighter in southern Africa – far better than trout and giving tiger fish a run for its money. A fish of 10 pounds is big. They will take spinners and lures like Rapala Fat Rap and Lazy Ike. And the absolute pinnacle is to catch one on a fly. They readily take Green Rockworm, Caddis larvae, Mayfly nymph and Gold ribbed hare’s ear. We use waders to venture in if the fish are deeper into the stream, or we cast from the edge.

The largemouth yellowfish can reach 40 pounds, but they are endangered and catching one of 15 pounds is a special and realistic achievement. This Red Data species is endemic to the Vaal River system, and this might be your only opportunity of ever bagging one of these top game fish. Timkulu Safaris belongs to the Yellowfish Working Group, who in essence look after the welfare, habitat and ethical utilization of this champion predator. That is why all fish caught will be released, except if you want to keep one as a trophy. An interesting fact is that the largemouth yellowfish, like a rhino, has to reach the age of seven years before reaching sexual maturity and breeding commences. They are very keen on Dragonfly nymph and Wooly buggers as well as various lures, spinners and spoons. If they are in deeper pools during a very cold day, we may resort to casting or trolling from a small boat.

If you just want a relaxed day next to the water, we go to the 30 kilometer dammed portion of the Vaal River and fish for carp and catfish. We bottom fish for them from a pontoon or from the bank. When in catfish mood, we use heavy gear and go for the big one – 50 pounds and up. The carp also get big, 15 pounds being common. On such a day it is also just you and the river creatures – no other people around.

Because of the different types of fishing, we supply all gear needed. And if you want to bring your own, please be our guest. We suggest fly rods 5 to 7 weight with floating, intermediate and sinking line. Leaders and tippets 2X to 4X.

We do hope to make your acquaintance soon.