Only 3 hours drive from Johannesburg between Dullstroom and Lydenburg you will find Stonecutters Lodge next to the winding Dorps River, the perfect luxury break away from the city. The passionate owners are perfect hosts and let you feel right at home. Personally I found the venue has a perfect balance between good fishing and comfortable accommodation.
The accommodation at Stonecutters consists of the Cobbles, the Stone Cottage and the Trout House. The Cobbles are 6 neighboring, 1 bedroom two sleeper units ideal for a couple’s getaway. The Stone Cottage is a two bedroom, two bathroom cottage ideal for a small family or group. The Trout House is a three bed room en-suite house for groups of six. It has a nice braai area overlooking the smaller dam.
During our weekend we stayed in one of the Cobbles units. Each unit has a bedroom living area, kitchenette and en-suite bathroom with a shower. The room has heated flooring and was ideal for our winter visit. The unit has a wooden deck with jet-master barbeque, ideal for a quick braai. The king size bed is very comfortable and you can watch DSTV on a flat screen from its comfort. For your convenience the friendly and helpful staff will service the rooms daily while you are out fishing or exploring.
During our stay we didn’t use the self catering facilities and had all our meals at the restaurant in the Stone Manor. They offered us continental breakfast followed by a scrumptious hot breakfast. If that was not enough, we also had some homemade muffins with our coffee. After a long day’s fishing we had a delightful three course dinner. The soup was perfect for the cold night, and the main course of venison was mouth watering. Having dessert with a cup of coffee next to the flickering fire was the perfect ending to our first day.
The fishing at Stonecutters consists of a 0.25ha dam, a 1ha dam and 3 kilometers of the Dorps River. Both the dam and river banks are cut and maintained for easy casting conditions. It also makes access to the river easier if you decide to wade. The river contains a natural breeding population of Rainbow Trout and it is also supplemented by stocking it on a regular basis. Both the pond and dam is regularly stocked with Rainbow Trout and the bigger dam also contains some Largescale Yellowfish.
The fishing in the dams is ideal for beginner to intermediate fly fisherman and the venue does offer basic fly fishing casting lessons. The river offers more challenging fishing conditions and varies from shallow flowing rapids to deep pools. During our stay we caught fish in all the available waters ranging from 500gram to around 1.8kg. In the dams we had success on flies such as the Papa Roach, White Death, Tadpole and San Juan worm fished on an intermediate line. The fishing was quite easy as long as you could cast towards the middle of the dam where most fish where holding. Two cruising fish also came out very close the bank on a White Death and Papa Roach. After sunset I managed to catch two fish on a tadpole fly close to the inlet.
The river was quite challenging with most fish coming out in deeper pools on patterns like Spietkop, Zonkers and Epoxy Baitfish. They were most likely in pre-spawn and where very aggressive on the takes. The river fish are in great condition and all gave spectacular fights.
Activities such as mountain biking, golf, clay pigeon shooting, horse and pony riding, hiking and bird watching can be done in the surrounding areas. On site there is a bird hide overlooking a small wetland for bird watching enthusiast.
The Stone Manor has a well equipped conference facility for up to 20 delegates with data projector for big screen projection, perfect for presentations. Outside the boardroom there is a garden terrace with braai area ideal for tea and lunch breaks. Next to the terrace you will find The Cats Whisker’s Pub with a cosy fireplace and TV.
It’s the ideal venue for a couples or family getaway where everyone can just kick back and relax. Although it is self catering I recommend having your meals at the restaurant to spend all your time relaxing and fly fishing. It is not the most challenging fishing, although the dams and river offer good variety that will keep you busy for hours. The dams and river are well maintained with a good stocking program and you will never be disappointed!