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Fish Species of the Orange River

Largemouth Yellowfish
Also known by the name of “Vaal-Orange largemouth yellowfish”, this fish is found in the Orange River and in the Vaal River (as well as in their large tributaries). For most anglers it is our most iconic and sought-after indigenous species, is both mysterious and elusive. It is an ambush predator and is found primarily in deeper pools where it lays in wait for smaller bait fish to swim by. Known with anglers as “the fish of a thousand casts”, it is fickle – to land it can take many hours of wit, skill and patience!


Smallmouth Yellowfish
Ever wondered what Orange river gold looks like, catch a smallmouth yellowfish and you will know. Brighter yellow in colour and smaller in size than its counterpart with its mouth positioned at the bottom, the Smallmouth Yellowfish is also a species of ray-finned fish and can be found in smaller and shallower streams. It is a hardy and adaptable species, commonly found in the Orange River.
African Sharptooth Catfish
This freshwater fish is commonly found across Africa and can live in lakes, rivers and swamps. It is large and eel-like in appearance, generally dark gray or black in colour, with a light belly. Able to navigate land, it is referred to in some circles as the “walking catfish”. It is the 2nd largest fish on the continent, in both length and weight.
Mud Fish
This alien like fish, can occur in a variety of habitats, although the preferred habitat remains flowing rocky streams. It is a grazing bottom feeder, with a diet of algae and organic matter. The Orange River Mudfish is quite the sporting fighter, which is one of the reasons that this fish is so popular with anglers. It is known affectionately as the Muddy/Muddie, the Mudfish and in Afrikaans as Modderbeck or Moddervis.


The common name for over a hundred species of cichlid fish, this is a freshwater fish that lives in shallow streams, ponds, rivers and lakes. For the chef angler, this fish is easy to prepare and has a mild taste, but bear in mind that this is a feisty fish that will put up a good fight. Since 2002, this has been the fourth-most consumed fish in the USA.


Common Carp
Carp are generally considered an invasive species in Africa and are found in vast sections of the Orange river. They are easily mistaken for smallmouth yellowfish by the best of anglers, the best way to tell the difference is using the tail method. If the tail has a fork-like shape it’s a smallmouth yellowfish. If the tail has no fork and an orange rim, it’s a carp.


Grass Carp
This large herbivorous species consumes 40% of its body weight in vegetation every day. The extent of their daily diet is one of the reasons that this fish is able to reach a body mass of 40kg in a relatively short space of time. The waste that they produce causes algae blooms, which are dangerous to other fish species as well as to humans. The triploids will also revert under certain conditions and hybridise with common carp. Catching a grass carp is comparatively tricky, as they frighten easily and bait choices are limited by its herbivorous diet.