On Easter Weekend we headed up to the Limpopo province for our first visit to the small town of Haenertsburg. It is situated north of Polokwane (Pietersburg) and the drive takes around 30 min once you leave the N1 highway.
As we arrived on the mountain we where met by a soft mist rain and we realized immediately why they also call the area “The Land of the Silver Mist”. The area has one of the oldest flyfishing clubs in the country the Haenertsburg Trout Association and you can read more about their history in a book called “Flyfishing in the Land of the Silver Mist by Louis Changuion.
Our base for the weekend was a cozy cottage at Stanford Lake Lodge situated close to Stanford Lake. The lake was built and named after Harley Standford the grandfather of the current owner of the lodge Gavin Stanford.
Gavin offers his guest two luxury lakeside log cabins and also cottages for smaller groups.
We stayed in the single bedroom cottage next to the farmhouse that has a comfortable lounge area with a small fire place and a spacious veranda with a braai area. It was a comfortable stay and it had all the necessary cooking facilities you would need for an extended stay.
The log cabins have a great view of the lake and are ideal for larger groups and families. During our stay the main log cabin was occupied by a family 5 (parent and 3 boys) and after a conversation with them they told us that they are regular visitors of the lodge and often stay for school holidays. The boys where already out on the water trying there best to land a trout or bass.
There area various activities to be enjoyed on the farm including indigenous forest walks, challenging mountain bike trails or for the less adventurous enjoy a relaxation session at the close by Growth Centre.
Stanford Lake is the main fishing attraction and offers the angler the opportunity of catching Rainbow Trout, Brown Trout and Largemouth Bass in a spectacular setting. The lake flows into Ebenezer dam where you can also fish from the bank in some places or ideally by boat. The nearby HTA club water Lakeside can also be booked for some more trout fishing.
During our stay we mainly focused on fishing for Largemouth Bass and only fished for trout when the opportunity aroused. We fished of a little inflatable boat and it worked well for moving into vegetation where the bass was hiding deep in the structure. There are a few boats available and guest can arrange access to them with Gavin.
The lake has a very good population of Largemouth Bass and even a beginner will have a good time on the lake. I fished with a 5 weight 9 foot rod, a 12 foot tapered leader with 5 kg fluorocarbon. The most successful fly was a small weighted brush fly tied on a size 4 Gamakatsu B10S hook. The fly was they same colors of a small bass and it proved to be irresistible to the fish. The fish was holding close to lily pad roots and the fly had to be dropped down to them. A quick upwards flick would normally result in an immediate take and you have to pull hard to keep the fish out of the vegetation. This technique and fly was successfully used to catch around 10 to 15 fish per session ranging from 500gram to 2kg.
Stanford Lake Lodge offers comfortable accommodation and some very exciting fishing in a spectacular setting. The Haenertsburg area has some fantastic fishing that can be explored and have various other activities for the nature lover! We will definitely be returning soon!
Stanford Lake Lodge Fly Fishing Review from flyloops.net on Vimeo.