Fly Fishing For The Redfin Species Of South Africa

Redfin Species Of Fish

Breed River Redfin Pseudobarbus burchelli

Breede River Redfin

The Redfin species in South Africa are mostly vulnerable, threatened, endangered or critically endangered in some way. Redfin Species are not often considered of any angling importance, but they will take very small flies, but fly fishing for them requires huge amounts of patience. You first need to find these fish, and once you have, you need to present really small flies to them, and just wait and anticipate.This page serves a s a guide to the Redfin Species of South Africa, as well as a few fly fishing tips and hints into catching them. The main aim is to get the word out there that these fish are becoming less and less common due to a variety of factors such as pollution, damming, and invasive freshwater fish species.

So this page will serve as a guide to the different Redfin species that occur in South African waters.

Verlorenvlei Redfin Pseudobarbus verloreni

Verlorenvlei Redfin

More Information On South Africa’s Redfin Species

Below we will describe all the Redfin species that occur in South Africa, and provide you with information on them. In total there are 9 true species of Redfin in South Africa, and 5 other species that are closely related to the Redfins.

Breede River Redfin (Pseudobarbus burchelli)

The Breede River Redfin is also known as the Burchell’s Redfin and the Tradouw Redfin. They can grow up to 15 centimeters and occur exclusively in the Western Cape rivers such as the Breede River (And it’s tributaries), the Moeras River and the Tradouw River. Pullution and damming are a huge cause of concern for this critically endangered Redfin, and fish like Bluegill and Smallmouth Bass prey heavily on the species. They prefer deeper pools in larger rivers where they feed on organisms on the bottom on the river bed.

Berg River Redfin (Pseudobarbus burgi)

The Berg River Redfin can attain 12 centimeters in length and occurs in and along tributaries of the Berg River. They used to inhabit the Eerste River as well, but predation from Rainbow Trout and Smallmouth Bass seemed to have wiped them out. They breed in Summer and are very diverse with their habitat requirements, they can occur in mountain streams and lowveld pools, they are equally at home in both. The Berg River Redfin is critically endangered.

Clanwilliam Redfin (Barbus calidus)

The Clanwilliam Redfin is an endangered species of Redfin. It can grow to 9 centimeters and feeds on insects where it happily takes floating insects off the surface film. This is great news for the species hunting Fly angler, a tiny dry fly can tempt these fish into taking your fly. The Clanwilliam Redfin is found in tributaries of the Olifants and Clanwilliam rivers in the Western Cape. They breed in Summer over rocky bottoms, and prefer deeper pools in clear water.

Other species of Redfin found in South African waters include:

  • Eastern Cape Redfin – Threatened
  • Fiery Redfin – Endangered
  • Giant Redfin – Critically Endangered
  • Maloti Minnow (Maluti Redfin) – Critically Endangered
  • Slender Redfin – Endangered
  • Smallscale Redfin – Vulnerable
  • Twee River Redfin – Critically Endangered
  • Verlorenvlei Redfin – Endangered

Species such as the Cape (Berg-Breede River) Whitefish, the Border Barb and the Clanwilliam Sawfin also belong loosely to the Redfin family.

Fly Fishing For The Redfin Species Of South Africa

Fly fishing for Redfins is tough, but it can be done. You will need to arm yourself with the lightest fly fishing tackle possible, A 0 or 1 weight rod and reel, paired with the appropriate floating line. Tiny flies are the only way to go here. When I say tiny, I mean size 18 and smaller. The smaller fly you can tie, the better. These fish are small and do not grow very big, so the best way to catch them would be imitating their natural food sources, which are small organisms. A few of the Redfin species do feed on the surface so small dry flies will work, and for the others, lightly weighted nymphs to get down to the bottom should produce the goods. These fish are not easy to find, so fish hard!

Best flies for the Redfin species of South Africa?

Dry Flies


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