The Urbantrout team has spent the last couple of weeks on a European road trip – and in the course of a long loop of driving through the Austrian Alps via Berchtesgaden, the Saalach valley, some Ziller tribs and a couple of truly idyllic high lakes on the legendary Braurup ticket…
… we reckoned it’d be rude not to include one or two slightly more urban locations as well.
On our first overnight stop at the very fishing-friendly Forellenstube in Lofer, we found lots of familiar territory: fast little (and not so little) streams spilling sharply out of the surrounding mountain canyons, becoming rapidly canalised and pressed into service for mills and every other kind of industry on the pool-table flatlands of the valley floors.
(Sidebar: it’s interesting to speculate exactly how long ago most of these alpine rivers got channelled and rip-rapped – longer than we imagine, or shorter than we think?)
Much to our delight, there were bridges, tunnels, even bridges inside tunnels over nameless carriers… real collectors’ items for urban explorers and connoisseurs of all things Trout in Dirty Places.
Some stretches were fishable, while others seemed a lot more dubious (even in strengthening rain with no-one else around) and on balance we decided it’d be a bad call to get banged up for poaching on our first or second full day in a country where minor urban misdemeanours like jaywalking are notoriously frowned on.
Further upstream, however, we located a car park (tick), a skate ramp (tick again), and a big old mill weir with a good-looking sequence of limestone boulders studded around the outside bend of the rock-armoured run above.
Judging from all the trampled patches in the bankside brambles, this was a well-known spot for dropping stonefly nymphs onto the noses of large, suspicious trout in the currents swirling around those boulders.
As we’ve discovered so often before, there’s no better set of tools for this kind of game than a long, ultralight fly-rod like the ESN 2100-4, balanced with a Vision Kalu reel and a Sunray nymphing line. The whole rig simply telegraphs the strikes right up your arm, so it’s only catastrophic operator error that lets you miss a single hit.
And just as those Austrian fishermen’s paths had told us, there were trout behind most of those boulders, and sometimes in front of them too…