Fly Fishing in Bavaria
It’s not often that I get invited anywhere, let alone Bavaria. Well, to be honest, this ‘wand’ was invited to accompany his sister, whose lovely friends Matthias and Sabine were getting married, through the hazards of driving on the continent. All that was required of me was to navigate, attend a couple of gourmet dinners and fish while the wedding festivities were in full flow over four days.
Preparing for the trip
Not one to look a gift horse in the mouth I contacted Rudi Heger, of ‘River Traun Products’ fame (www.rudiheger.eu), to glean as much information as I could. Rudi’s shop overlooks the Weisse Traun (white Traun) in the village of Siegsdorf. His candy shop has all you need for your trip, on top of which he can provide you with fishing licenses for a number of local rivers. Flights were booked, hotel reserved and fishing procured on the both the Weisse and Deutsche Traun (German Traun) rivers, thanks to the kindness of my hosts.
Check in at 5.30, delay, pills and turbulence. Nondescript flight attendants…cheap carrier I suppose… will my rods go through? Land in Salzburg at 10am, luggage safely through, relief, pick up the hire car and head for the German border. Three quarters of an hour of blurred landscape later and we are knocking on Rudi’s door.
After purchasing the national fishing licences at the town hall I’m itching to go. No streamers, jigs, barbs or chest waders here and yes, catch and release is the norm. Flies that work in the UK work here, though they do have some interesting stonefly patterns. Stealth and getting the right presentation first time are the order of the day. The fishing is not easy, especially when targeting the larger, more wary fish. The very clear rivers remind me of Slovenia. Brown and Rainbow trout ranging from a few ounces to well over 10lbs are littered throughout the rivers here and hold in pools or dips in the riverbed. Grayling run up these rivers in the autumn to spawn, and I’ve been told it is well worth another visit then.
The first three days pass by quickly, some fish are caught and others lost, acquaintances are made. Both the Weisse Traun and the Deutsche Traun are delightful rivers that offer up their speckled inhabitants in sufficient numbers to keep you wanting more.
One morning, I lost a four pound brown and a nine pound rainbow in the matter of an hour. Fortunately for me, Renata Baumann, oblivious of my inability as a fisherman, hooked and landed this same rainbow half an hour later and was kind enough to return my grey duster! She and her husband, Jurgen, make a formidable partnership… just check out the photo!
On the last morning I fish the Weisse Traun before heading off to a post wedding brunch. Upon arrival I’m introduced to Max (a fellow fisherman and conservationist as it turned out) and offered fishing on a private stretch of the Prien River. I quickly throw my gear into the back of his car and in less than an hour I find myself on a beautiful river, full of the characteristics that only small rivers have, catching trout and some lovely Adriatic grayling.
Bavaria used to be a favourite haunt for us Brits at the turn of the century and we seem to have forgotten the delights to be had. As a people they are welcoming, the landscape is breathtaking and the food is something to be sampled. I’m biased of course, as I’m a schnitzel and wurst man. That said, the salads are great and both the food and beer are all locally produced.
All in all…
I thoroughly enjoyed the fishing, the food and the fishing folk I met – Rudi, Max, Jurgen, including the local police, as I was to find out one dark night at just past eleven pm, as I was waiting for a lift back to the hotel, still clad in waders and blissfully smoking on a bench, when I was assaulted by torchlight and interrogated. It soon transpired that I was just another mad Englishman and that they too were avid fishermen. It all ended with some good advice on where the best fishing was to be had and the customary ‘petri heil!’, the German equivalent for ‘tight lines!’ I plan to return, hopefully with some of my fellow Piscators in tow!