A place of myth & mystery


Vaal Hackle has introduced a new policy of a maximum of 15 anglers allowed on the water at any time, including overnight visitors.
Day visitors MUST make a booking prior to arriving at Vaal Hackle as no anglers will be allowed onto the premises without having made a prior booking. Once the quota of 15 anglers are met no more anglers will be allowed on the water for the day.

For many years Vaal Hackle seemed to be a place of mystery. Everybody knew of Vaal Hackle but most have never been there.  Often one read or heard someone saying that Vaal Hackle was known for producing 20+ fish a day and what’s more they weren’t small either.

Itching to go and see for myself we made the booking and on a dewy late-summers morning we headed of in the direction of Parys.  After the now traditional Wimpy coffee at the One Stop on the N1 we made our way into Parys and turned the car in the direction of Schoemansdrift. The road quickly turned from tar to gravel and made its way through the Vredefort dome surrounding us with beautiful mountains, game farms, river venues and cattle farms. Although the trip to Vaal Hackle was enjoyable I couldn’t help but be thankful that we decided to take the Pajero instead of the sedan as the road was drivable with a sedan but definitely not recommended.


Vaal Hackle Yellowfish

 The breathtaking scenary makes Vaal Hackle a fantastic venue to spend the week-end


As my friend mentioned on a few occasions on the trip, what makes fishing in the heart of the dome different to fishing venues around the barrage is the feeling that you get that you are on holiday and not just merely fishing. At any time you can take a break and just gaze at the birds, the striking rock formations or simply the many islands scattered in the river, each with its very own unique character and special inhabitants.


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 One of the many channels at Vaal Hackle


Arriving at Vaal Hackle we decided to first get in an hour of fishing before coming back and settling into our chalet. All set and ready to go we decided to fish the first channel and make our way upstream to explore the many channels available. Having fished the areas upstream and downstream of Vaal Hackle on many occasions I had a good idea of what flies to use for the first fifteen minutes before I would start turning over rocks and have a look at what the fish might be feeding on. I settled on the trusted Green Rockworm (chartreuse brassie), Humpy’s Favourite control fly and GRHE combination whilst my partner settled for a three fly combination consisting of a Red Brassie, Mustard Caddis control fly and Orange Hotspot combination. We entered the water and slowly made our way across the channel to a set of rapids and started fishing the section just above the rapids. After an hours fishing we made our way back to the main house having landed over ten fish each most coming to hand on Humpy’s Favourite and Green Rockworm imitations.


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A beautiful Vaal Hackle yellow taken against the reeds


Our accommodation was a one bedroom cottage with two single beds in the bedroom and the basic necessities one needs such as fridge, freezer, stove and microwave.  Make no mistake about it, if it is Elgro Lodge luxury you are after well then Vaal Hackle is not quite the place for you.


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The rustic accommodation of offer at Vaal Hackle


The rustic accommodation at Vaal Hackle consists of a unit sleeping 6 people, a unit sleeping 4 and two units sleeping 2 persons each. At the time of our visit rates were set at R200 per person per night as opposed to a rate for the units. It is advisable to bring everything you need with including a cooler box for ice and maybe gas lighting and stove as you might be surprised by load shedding in the middle of preparing your son's 2 minute noodles.  We did experience load shedding on our trip but just being two men we were quite happy with our boerie braai and boxed potato salad (Expiry date 2018!!).


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 The view from the stoep of our chalet with the river in the distance


After settling in we made our way back to the river around three ‘o clock and continued working the small channels on the opposite bank now with both of us fishing a two fly rig with a Humpy’s Favourite control fly and Green/chartreuse brassie on point. What stood out for me on this trip was the amount of fish we managed to hook fishing literally 5 centimetres from the line of reeds. There were nothing delicate about the takes and once the fish hit the flies they immediately headed straight back into the reedbeds with amazing power.


Vredefort Schoemansdrift 1


Having lost the first two fish to the reeds we changed to straight 5kg (0.25mm) Double X Fluorocarbon tippet and managed to land in excess of 30 odd fish for the next two hours. The late afternoon session we fished until it was too dark to see and managed to get roughly the same result as the previous two sessions.

vredefort vaal fishing

Reflecting on the days fishing around the braai fire I once again thought of how lucky we are to have such a fishery on our doorstep. I must commend the recently appointed managers Abre and Sonja for trying hard to improve the accommodation at Vaal Hackle and interacting with the flyfisherman to try and find out where they can improve. Whilst they are working on the accommodation and facilities nothing has changed with regards to the fishing. I went to Vaal Hackle after having heard stories of big fish in even bigger numbers – well the true monsters eluded us and we had to settle for a couple of fish close to 3 kg’s but what we lacked in big fish bragging pictures we surely made up in the number of fish we caught.

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Vaal Hackle is situated exactly 20km out of Parys on the Freestate side following the Schoemansdrift road.

Following the R59 out of Parys towards Vredefort  take the Schoemansdrift road where the tar road ends and becomes a gravel road. From here you just follow the Hakuna Matata/Hadeda Creek signs passing Dimalachite on your right. From the gravel road Vaal Hackle is another 13km further on.

As you continue down the road you will find the entrance to Hakuna Matata – you continue past the entrance for another 4km and you will find the entrance to Vaal Hackle and the Vereeniging Hengel Club.


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