Mpumalanga has long been known as a popular venue for trout fishing. The excellent and accessible rivers in the eastern parts of the province lend themselves to supporting trout fishing as a significant sub-sector of the tourism industry. The most notable trout rivers are the Sterkspruit, the Spekboom, Klip, Waterval and the Dorps.
According to a study undertaken by Professor Leiboldt and Dr Van Zyl, fly-fishing in South Africa has a direct economic impact of R3.5-billion rand (2007). In response to the increasing popularity of fly-fishing, dams all over Mpumalanga have been rehabilitated, particularly in the trout triangle of Dullstroom, Waterval-Boven and Belfast. This sector of the tourism industry provides an increasing number of jobs in an area that sorely needs employment opportunities for unskilled and semi-skilled employees.
Breeding for the many trout lodges in Mpumalanga is undertaken by specialists who conduct thriving businesses trading in eggs and live fish, varying in size from fingerlings to trophy fish. Angling fish suppliers in the Dullstroom, Lydenburg areas include Nooitgedacht and Lunsklip Fisheries. Milly’s Trout Hatchery operates near Machadodorp.
Lunsklip and Milly’s are also in the business of processing trout for consumption with a variety of products from smoked trout to trout pate, and deboned whole baby trout.
Testing is currently underway in a joint venture between two government departments – Science and Technology and Agriculture and the Department of Forestry and Fisheries on a method of cage-net technology that will produce trout fingerlings for hatcheries with 50-ton production facilities.
Fly-fishing is a thriving industry and the introduction of trout to the Eastern Highlands in the late 1800’s has had a significant impact on the tourism industry of Mpumalanga.
The off spin is that many country Estates boasting beautiful trout waters have developed in the Trout Triangle – some offering dam fishing and others river fishing. Stonecutters Lodge on the Dorps River offers both.