Once the Olifants River system of the Cederberg Mountains was teeming with these golden beauties, but since the 1940s the population has seen a rapid decline. This is due to the introduction of Smallmouth and Largemouth Bass from the United States to improve sport fishing in the area. These species wrought huge devastation, devouring the eggs and juvenile populations of indigenous aquatic species, including the Clanwilliam Yellowfish.
Though at one stage Bushmans Kloof offered bass fishing in its three dams, it has since initiated a project to prioritise the conservation of this highly endangered creature. Here at the game reserve, we’re lucky to be a catchment area and nursery for the young fry (juvenile fish), which migrate downstream in the winter months. The project involves restocking the dams with Yellowfish fry, and systematically removing alien fish from the dams that feed these fragile river systems. Gravel beds are laid at the mouth of the Boontjies River to assist Yellowfish to swim upstream for the spring spawning season.
To add to this endeavour, we have also re-introduced the Clanwilliam Redfin and Sawfin, also endemic to the Olifants River system. During the summer, this results in excellent catch-and-release fly-fishing in the gorgeous rock pools of the Boontjies and Perdekraal tributaries near the Bushmans Kloof lodge.