Latest update: 2020-12-14 – General updates
Bronkhorstspruit Dam is a suprisingly beautiful place and it’s close enough to our home that we go fairly often. Over the years we’ve been fortunate enough to visit most of the available spots and we’ve experienced some spectacular fishing days (with a few less successful days in between).
Carp will always be the most popular species at Bronkies but we’ve switched to bass over the last two years. Bronkhorstspruit Dam has some very good bass fishing and many of the bigger bass comps are held here. Here’s a few of our catches recently…
1. Jettys\bridges– Bronkies is unique in the sense that there is an almost 3km long stretch of boat jettys and bridges on the northern shore offering perfect bass habitat. This is by far our favourite hunting ground. Just amble along these structures and flip anything in between the floating docks and you will get bitten. The only time this area has not worked for us is around spawn season when the fish gather where there is grass.
2. Camping areas – This includes the Nature Reserve and Baja Dam, and anywhere in between. These areas have a lot more grass because it’s shallower and subsequently the bass migrate here in numbers during the spawn. So basically if it’s September and October head to this stretch of coastline for some excellent bass fishing.
Have a look at the map below if you need context.
Bait \ Lures
We basically had a lot of luck with most lures, but a few has worked better than others, it just depends on your location.
1. Around the jettys we usually stick to flukes or jerk baits, or even the odd jig. Spinner baits have also produced a lot of fish. In terms of colour it’s usually on the darker side because the water is normally quite murky. Having said that we’ve also caught a lot of fish on pumpkin seed patterns.
2. Along the shallower grassy areas we go weightless using flukes again but also any grubs, senkos and crawfish presentations. Here the water is sometimes clearer in which case you can go a little more natural. So greens work well and for some reason any purple shine (like mardi gras) is very popular.
3. In terms of topwater we’ve had some success with poppers. And off course the horny toad, which is always exciting.
Carp fishing at Bronkhorstspruit Dam is a lot of fun. We have blanked, (in winter), but that is very rare. Most of the time you easily catch your fair share of fish. The only problem is that the big ones are few and far between, you’ll catch 20 smaller carp before anything decent is hooked. Very similar to the Vaal Dam in that respect.
The big reason is off course that we normally visit Baja Dam or the Nature Reserve to go camping and these shores are quite shallow. I guess if you can cast more than 120m or have a boat of some sort you will be a lot more successful. One tip for bigger fish is to use actual mielies\corn instead of floaties, especially pineapple flavoured mielies.
We’ve always just fished conventionally, and floaties have worked very well. Banana\Banjo has been by far our most productive flavour, with honey, FX (caramel) and pink sweets (kiana, musk) also proving very popular. But to be honest when they are biting anything works, it’s often more about the colour than any flavour in particular.
Degie (dough) also works well, just dip it in some banana flavouring. Use tjop-jtop (pineapple) mielies\corn for bigger fish.
1. Baja Dam – We think the closer you are to the gate the better your chances of bigger fish. The further away you are along the bank the shallower it gets. You’ll still catch lots of fish but mostly small.
2. Nature Reserve – There is a lot of shoreline here to explore but there is a small cluster of trees in the one spot where the shoreline makes an small cove. Here the water is a lot deeper and we’ve had a lot of success in this area.
Please have a look at the maps below for these exact locations and other fishing spots.
We mainly target bass and carp at Bronkhorstspruit Dam but here are some other species that may or may not be available.
We’ve never caught a barbel at Bronkies but we’ve never tried either. We do however know people who assure us there are huge barbel and they have had a lot of success catching barbel especially at night. Here’s what we learnt.
1. Baja Dam – Apparently if you move a bit further away from the gate nearer to the end of the dam you will definitely have some success there at night using any of the baits above.
2. Northern shore – The camping areas are perhaps slightly shallow in general but if you are lucky enough to be fishing from the houses on the northern shore you should definitely try for barbel in those deeper waters.
Kurper \ Tilapia \ Bream
We’ve seen big schools of vlei kurper (banded tilapia) at both Baja Dam and the Nature Reserve. They can be easily caught using earthworms, but we’ve even caught them with small cranks while targeting small bass.
We caught yellowfish at Bronkies many moons ago but recently it’s been all carp. We also haven’t seen anyone else catch any recently. If you know of yellowfish being caught recently please let us know so we can update this post accordingly.
1. Baja Dam
Probably the most popular fishing venue at Bronkhorstspruit Dam. It’s located in the eastern part of the dam directly opposite the Bonamanzi resort. We’ve always had great success here with carp and bass and a nice bonus is the little shop at the gate which sells the basics. During December this place can get very festive.
We added a post on this place a while ago, you can read more about it here.
From the Baja Dam website (2020):
|Children (under 12)||R20||R20|
|Children (12 and over)||R40||R40|
- First come first served – There are no marked spots \ swims, so you can’t really book in advance. You get there and find a spot and generally it starts to fill up from the gate first and then down towards the end of the dam.
- Electricity – Electricity is available at a price but if you are camping near the water you won’t have access to it.
- Ablutions – There are 2 ablutions, both fairly near to the gate which caters for most visitors but if you are camping halfway down the road you might have to drive to one of them. Having said that during peak periods they sometimes supply porta potties.
- Boats – Boats are mostly welcome and are usually launched straight down from the gate.
- Caravans – Caravans are welcome.
2. Bronkhorstspruit Dam Nature Reserve
The Nature Reserve has a vast stretch of shoreline (almost 6kms) and provides lots of space and fishing opportunities. The ablution facilities can be better but it’s par for the course for a government run reserve. A nice feature are the wild animals that sometimes walk among the camping areas, which really adds to the whole outdoor experience.
The few times we stayed here (mostly winter) we had mixed results in terms of carp fishing but to be fair fishing across the whole dam was slow as well during those times. We always seem to catch bass here though, here is a rare photo of one our successful visits.
From the Tshwane website (2020):
|Admission / day|
|Adults (13 and over)||R32|
|Children (under 7)||R8|
|Retirees (60 and over), disabled||R16|
|Camping (without electricity)||R56|
|Camping (with electricity)||R104|
- First come first served – There are no marked spots \ swims, so you can’t really book in advance. You get there and find a spot.
- Electricity – Electricity is available at a price.
- Ablutions – There are a few ablutions evenly spaced around the middle area. These are not well maintained but I guess we’ve seen worse, it’s ok for a government run establishment.
- Boats – Boats are mostly welcome although this area is less about boating and more about shoreline fishing.
- Caravans – Caravans are welcome.
- Grass – Currently the whole furthest bank running to the west is full of grass at the reserve, try to get a spot between the gate and top corner.
3. Kaia Manzi
This is more of a resort with a swimming pool etc. and caters mainly for boating. This is however a good launch pad for a bass boat or smaller inflatable to go bass fishing among the jettys/docks which start literally right next to Kaia Manzi.
As for carp fishing there is also a designated fishing area around the corner where we have had some success in the past. But again the boats will be quite a nuisance during the warmer months. Here’s some evidence of our successes in winter.
This is also one of the few places offering both camping and chalets (although a little expensive).
From their website (2020):
|Chalets (4-sleeper with kitchen)||R1050 (from)|
|Chalets (2-sleeper without kitchen)||R790|
|Camping||R240 (per person, max 6 people)|
|Any other watercraft (rowboats)||R60|
- Day visits – You will only be permitted to day visit if you have a boat in your group.
- Boats – Boats are very welcome, even encouraged.
Kungwini Country Estate
This estate is in the middle of the northern shore and makes up a large part of the docks\jettys we’ve been mentioning. We stayed there once at a nice studio apartment called Dam Adventure and Relax which isn’t on the water but comfortable and affordable.
Kungwini itself has a communal boat launch which doubles as a nice fishing\picnic area with trees and a long stretch of lawn. We’re not sure how day visits work there but we think it’s possible, and is another good launch pad for bass fishing.
Have a look at our bass fishing video below which was shot there.
Bonamanzi does not allow bank fishing, it’s another boating\leisure establishment, at least that’s what their sign says. We have never been there ourselves so we can’t say, but it does seem like people are fishing there sometimes, especially at night when the boats have calmed down.
1. Shops \ Restaurants \ Pubs
There used to be only one small shop up on the hill near the Kungwini gate but thankfully a year or two ago a whole mini market opened up in almost the exact same spot. Here you can buy any supplies you need at the OK, there’s a petrol station, ATM and even a bottle store. There’s also basic fishing supplies for sale.
Other than that Baja Dam has a small shop at the gate which caters for basic supplies.
2. The Bad
- Firstly, besides fishing Bronkies is also a very popular leisure boating destination (which includes every fisherman’s favourite, the jetski). During peak season, especially over weekends, the constant waves can be really annoying and makes fishing a bit more challenging. During the colder months this is obviously not an issue.
- Secondly, in recent years there has been long periods where grass and algae have made fishing very unpleasant. Spending 10 minutes to remove long strands of green sludge from your carp lines is not fun. But this too is seasonal, and hopefully with better management this can be eradicated, it wasn’t always this way…