Goosebay Canyon – Vaal River – Feb 2017

I heard from a colleague about Goosebay Canyon and how much they enjoyed the fishing so we decided to try it out. Finding the place and booking was not straightforward, they are not that visible online. But we got there in the end and had a really lovely time.

Just to confirm this is not the Goosebay Canyon Conference venue, this is Goosebay Canyon Game Reserve. They are close but on opposite sides of the river. This place is on the Free State side and nearer to the barrage.

Got a few decent carp

The fishing was really good, our lines were not running every 5 minutes but often enough and it was usually a decent fish. Unfortunately there were many snags, but that’s par for the course at the Vaal river, you get stuck everywhere. So we did lose quite a few but we landed many more. Among those was my official PB for a smallmouth yellowfish, a beautiful 2.5kg fish.

goosebay canyon vaal river yellowfish
My smallmouth yellowfish pb!

Our barbel rod also ran the one night but after a 20min fight the line broke off after getting snagged again. The next morning however we noticed movement halfway into the river, it looked like something was stuck in a network of debris and fishing line near the surface. Martin stupidly but unsurprisingly swam out there without a life jacket but armed with a knife.

He returned eventually with the previous night’s barbel (we identified the trace) in tow. The poor thing was exhausted after surely struggling all night, we quickly took the photo below and released it. Martin also managed to remove quite a few clumps of the fishing line which surely was the cause of many of our snags. All’s well that ends well.


The poor barbel which was eventually saved

In terms of accommodation the huts \ chalets were decent enough, rustic but containing everything you need inside, and each has an attached bathroom. We again had a decent storm hit us on day one and again I was very grateful we were not tenting, it would have been a disaster. 

hut view
View to the north from our hut

river view

View to the south from our hutWhen the weather did subside we were treated to the Vaal river at it’s most beautiful. With fish jumping everywhere and a few fish eagles making appearances it made everything worthwhile.

I think the place is past some of it’s glory years but it’s still value for money. There are only 3 huts (one was damaged by a falling tree) with enough space for everyone. Next door there was a camping area but we never ventured there. 

The broken hut and our neighbours


Very enjoyable Vaal river session. Caught some really healthy fish but the monsters eluded us this time. The place itself was rustic but comfortable with an ideal fishing area, good value for money.

All flavours worked, especially Pink Sweets (Kiana, musk). Try to use one hook to eliminate snags.

(2 days)

carp x6 (medium)
barbel x1 (big)
yellowfish x2 (medium)

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