La Retraite – Vaal River

Last update: 2021-09-01
A lot has changed since we were there in 2018 so this post was updated accordingly…

La Retraite has become one of the premiere Vaal River fishing spots over the past couple of years. It’s one place that consistently delivers huge fish and they have one of the best locations as well. Since we were there they have upgraded the whole place quite a bit and it now offers even more than before.

fishing area
Fishing area with a group of rafters approaching

Our experience at La Retraite started off slowly but picked up dramatically over the weekend. Like many before us, we were lucky enough to catch some massive carp during our stay. These were typical strong Vaal River carp that take off like a freight train. The runs were spectacular.

In total we probably caught half a dozen big carp with a few smaller ones in between. This was besides the occasional barbel and mudfish that really kept us busy all day long. This included a few fish over 7kg and of course, Martin (show-off) caught a monster 9kg. Here’s a few photos as proof…

nice big carp
My biggest catch of the weekend, a very healthy 7kgs
more nice carp
Some more nice catches, beautiful feisty fish
massive carp
Martin’s monster, and the biggest carp of the weekend 

Surprisingly no yellowfish were caught, I was expecting a few with some of the rapids not too far down the river. But who’s complaining, we were having enough fun as it is. 

average mudfish
Nice muddy, one of a few bigger than average ones
average barbel
One of the bigger barbel we caught

We got stuck maybe thrice which is exceptional for the Vaal river, usually, you get snagged a lot. Part of the reason for this is that the owners supplied a boat which we used to retrieve stuck lines etc. This helps a lot to eliminate loose lines underwater which is often the snag culprit.


La Retraite is perfectly comfortable for us as a self-catering venue. When we were there they only had two log huts available but that has changed a lot. They now boast 3 spacious, well-equipped log huts, two 5-sleepers, and one 2-sleeper. Each has its own bathroom, kitchen, braai, etc.

There are lush terraced lawns all the way down to the water’s edge with easy landing spots. A massive tree also provides shade early on so we didn’t even need to get out the gazebo. And there is a braai at the water’s edge if needed.

Throughout the day river rafting groups would excitedly paddle by offering some entertainment while we waited for the next run. And if you fancy a quick lunch, Parys is just about 5kms away.

vaal river rafting
Rafters paddling by while we wait for the next run

The original owners, Elsie and Hannes, were the perfect hosts. They are no longer there unfortunately but the new owner Emile has picked up where they left off and La Retraite is just growing in stature.

vaal river huts
View of the huts in 2018, this has changed a lot
vaal river huts
Front view of huts in 2018
vaal river
View down river from fishing area


Perfect Vaal river conditions, deep water, almost zero snags and lots of big fish. The accommodation was great, and the hosts were fantastic.


Banlic worked very well, and perdeby was also very productive. Most of the barbel we caught was on the carp bait surprisingly and off course earthworms. 

(2 days)

carp x6 (massive)
carp x6 (medium)
mudfish x3 (big)
barbel x3 (big)
barbel x5 (small)


076 162 3379  (Emile)



This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Leon


    Kan ek asb bietjie beskikbaare datums kry en tariewe vir hierdie plek van julle asb. As julle dit vir my kan mail asb.

    Baie dankie.

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