Willow Tree Cottage is a comfortable, private house built on a beautiful farm dam near Ermelo. We’ve been trying to visit this place for a while now and we finally got our chance during our last Mpumalanga fishing trip. Unfortunately we picked the wrong weekend again so the weather was mostly horrible. But it cleared up nicely at times giving us lots of opportunities to get stuck into the bass.
The fishing at Willow Creek was very good. We caught dozens of smaller bass all along the edges between the grass. They were really aggressive and strong. Surprisingly though, we also caught a fair amount of really decent bass. We didn’t expect such big ones in a medium-sized farm dam but they were there and they were hungry.
The lure of choice was the Damiki Armor Shad especially junebug and black purple flake. We also had a lot of success with frogs like Zoom Horny Toads or McArthy McCroakers. Just letting these drop to the bottom and twitching them occasionally produced some aggressive strikes from bigger fish.
Here’s just some of them…
We were also hoping to do topwater fishing from the deck at night but with all the water that had flown in due to the rains the dam was quite cloudy, so that was not an option. When the water settles and the dam clears up again this place will be topwater heaven…
We also noticed barbel in the dam, they were swirling around as barbel do. We tried to catch them with a popper at night but no luck at all. They were either not hungry or simply didn’t see our feeble offering as food. We’ll get them next time…
But overall the fishing was great, and we suspect there are some much bigger bass lurking.
The double-story house is built right on the edge of the dam with an awesome deck that goes out over the water from the lounge. This is perfect to just laze away the days but we also enjoyed fishing from that vantage point.
Inside you have an open-plan lounge\kitchen area with a built-in braai (which was ideal during the rainy afternoons, and as a fireplace at night). Upstairs you have a main bedroom looking our over the dam and a second bedroom with lots of sleeping options.
Outside there are beautiful lawns and a firepit area underneath the willow trees after which the place is named. You are also completely secluded, there are no other buildings or people anywhere near the cottage. A very peaceful and special experience.
Willow Tree Cottage lived up to all our expectations. The cottage itself is perfect, right on the water and very comfortable. The fishing was even better than what we expected with some surprisingly big bass. This is yet another fantastic venue in Mpumalanga.