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Clanwilliam Dam

Clanwilliam Dam is possibly the prime Smallmouth Bass fishing venue in South Africa. Abuted by the Cedarberg mountain range, 250 km from Cape Town, it's possible to fish the lake on a day trip, but it's better to overnight at the lake in order to make the most of available fishing time.

Clanwilliam Dam is primarily an irrigation impoundment, it's main purpose is to keep Bulshoek Dam, 20 km downstream topped up. The lake is approximately 22 km long and not very wide but fairly deep and clear. Clanwilliam has plenty of protected bays and coves, standing timber is not abundant but can be found towards the upper reaches. Structure is mainly rocky ledges, points and drop-offs, ideal for the resident Smallmouth Bass.


Because of it's length Clanwilliam is a popular venue for watersport enthusiasts, especially on weekends and holidays, Bass anglers need to get used to this but the lake is large and there are always areas to be found that are away from the water skiers and jet skis. Clanwilliam is the venue for 2 popular Bass fishing tournaments, the Winter Bass Classic, held in August each year and the Summer Classic held on the first weekend of October.


The South African Smallmouth Bass record was caught by 12 year old Nico Retief on Saturday 8th August 2009. The impressive fish was caught on a DT 10 crankbait in 9 foot of water and weighed in at 3.562 KG (8 lbs) beating the previous record of 3.41 KG held by Bryan Pope since 2007. 


According to informed sources plans are well advanced to increase the height of Clanwilliam's wall by between 10 and 13 metres. This will create a massive impoundment, extending the length of the dam by around 13 km and creating plenty more Smallmouth Bass hideouts.



122 million cubic metres, surface area 11 km2.


Yes at the municipal camp site and at various private venues around the lake.

Fish Species Available

Smallmouth Bass, Largemouth Bass, Carp, Bluegill, Clanwilliam Yellowfish.


Mainly rocky points, boulders and drop-offs, the lake also has a variety of gravel areas, reeds, weed beds and water grass in the shallow bays and upper reaches. There is also plenty of man made structure in the form of old roads and buildings. Standing timber is not abundant but can be found towards the upper reaches and there is a row of stumps lining the bank opposite the municipal resort and at the point going into the first bay on the right after leaving the slipway.

Recommended Lures

Deep diving crank baits, especially red and orange rattle traps and light coloured spinner baits with a splash of red. Soft plastic baits, (junebug works well), fished slowly on the bottom also catch good fish.


Private camping and launching facilities can be found around the dam as well as self catering cottages, guest houses and hotels.

In Rondegat Bay, approximately 13 km from Clanwilliam town along a gravel road, Rondegat farm has modern, fully equipped cottages, nearby Lebanon farm has well maintained camp sites and a couple of wooden chalets. When water levels are low, towards the end of summer this section of the lake can be without water, or at least it can be very far away, we recommend that you call before arranging to stay from late February to June.

The municipal resort, located towards the wall (Northern) end of the dam, has camp sites with electricity and ablutions as well as self catering cottages. Clanwilliam town itself is a few minutes from the lake shore and has abundant guest houses and hotels as well as supernarkets, shops, banks etc.


Good .


Wind - it can come up quickly, especially in the afternoon so be aware of changing weather conditions.

Contact Numbers

Municipal resort: 027 482 8000
Lebanon camp site: 027 482 2508
Rondegat cottages: 027 482 2527

Please be so kind as to mention GoBassing.com!

Bank Fishing Potential

Bank angling is possible in many areas, around the municipal resort and at private resorts if you are willing to do some walking. Most of the dam is surrounded by private farms, although the farmers seem to be quite accommodating it's recommended to get permission to cross or fish on private land.

Clanwilliam Dam Clanwilliam Smallmouth Bass Great scenery at Clanwilliam Bass Classic View of Clanwilliam Dam 5AM Going Bass Fishing Clanwilliam Smallmouth Bass

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Go Bassing offers a choice of accommodation, carefully selected with bass anglers and their families in mind. We have also partnered with SafariNow.Com, the largest accommodation portal in Africa, offering almost 7000 accommodation establishments throughout Southern Africa, check availability in realtime and make big savings by booking directly with the accommodation providers.

Clanwilliam Lodge

The recently revamped Clanwilliam Lodge offers 32 luxury air-conditioned rooms. More info . . .


Self catering cottages, 15 km from Clanwilliam. More info . . .

Other Accommodation

 Bass Fishing Accommodation Find Clanwilliam Dam accommodation through our online partner Booking.com. More info . . .

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Detailed Map:

Clanwilliam Dam Map
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New SA Record Smallmouth Bass

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Selected Images: Chris Corbet Photography - Travel blog: A Travel Junkie