German grayling: Isar and Danube Oct. 2005

Discussion in 'Trip Reports with Pics' started by dude_1967, Nov 1, 2005.

  1. dude_1967

    dude_1967 Chris

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    Originally from Issaquah, I moved to Southern Germany with my family in 1995.

    Southern Germany offers some good fly fishing. In October 2005, I fished both the Isar in the German state of Bavaria and the Danube for trout and native middle European grayling.

    The Isar has its headwaters in the German foothills of the Alps and flows to the north through the communities of Lenggries, Obergries, Bad Toeltz, and on through Munich, finally flowing into the Danube north of Munich. The Isar could officially be called a tail water below the Sylvenstein Dam, which is about 17 river kilometers north of Lenggries. However, the river has the character of low-gradient freestone mountain river.

    The Isar is a beautiful, clean river which usually flows crystal clear, normally with about 400 – 500 CFS near Lenggries. It is full of native middle European grayling and has some native German Browns as well as a few Rainbows which have taken up root from discontinued stocking programs. The river went C&R on grayling ten years ago and there is a sensible population control for the runaway cormorants which would otherwise be capable of decimating the native grayling population. There are strong insect hatches on the Isar and the river is relatively rich in food, growing strong, healthy fish.

    I fished the Isar on October 15th and 16th based from the town of Lenggries. The fishing club in Lenggries manages about 17 kilometers of Isar from just below town up to the Sylvenstein Dam. I stayed in a guest house in Lenggries. The guest house was fantastic, offering private rooms with full bath and a filling breakfast of regional cold-cuts, and all this for 20 €uro per night. The daily fishing license was 22 €uro per day.

    On my first day, I traveled to Lenggries with the train and got settled into the lodging. I went out in the evening and walked about 8 river miles trying to observe as much as possible. The river flow was perfect, about 400 CFS and crystal clear. This was going to be good…

    The next morning, I hooked up with two other guests who had traveled from Italy. Other than our party, there were hardly any other guests on the entire 17 kilometer stretch of river. We decided to concentrate on the lower sections near Lenggries since the largest fish can be found there. The mornings were cold and foggy, clearing up around noon. In the mornings, nymph fishing tactics were effective for grayling and trout. Around 11:00 A.M. through dusk there were strong hatches of midges and small mayflies which really brought the grayling and trout up to the surface. In the afternoons, dry flies in sizes 18 – 22 were effective. The grayling is a fine, finicky eater. The fish will not move laterally for food. Thus casts and drifts must be precise. When grayling do come up top, they move straight up the water column and might strike extremely carefully or possibly as strongly as gingerly, depending on the conditions. A dry fly take can be fantastic and visual because the grayling will usually come all the way up from the bottom to strike, unlike trout which, when feeding from the surface, usually rest a few inches to a foot below the surface. Wait a second or two after a grayling takes the dry fly to set the hook. I usually count to two. This gives you a chance to hook into the slightly down-turned mouth of the grayling.

    On the first day each of the three of us caught about 5 – 10 fish, mostly grayling ranging from 12 – 20 inches, with the occasional trout in the same size class. The second day was fantastic. The Italians fished the morning and we all caught fish. After they had left, I went out alone and fished some of the places that I had scoped out earlier which I knew held grayling or trout. I caught many grayling from the surface using midges. It was possible to catch grayling up to 20 inches on size 20 midges. By the end of second day, I had caught and released about 20 fish. The first sets of pictures show the Isar fishing.

    The following two weekends I fished the Danube near my home in the Swabian Alp slightly to the east of the German Black Forest. Our local fishing club manages 21 kilometers of Danube. The Danube is a spring water with its source on the east flank of the Black Forest. It is a fair trout and grayling river near the Black Forest, flowing with about 500 CFS. The Danube fishing has definitely had it’s ups and downs in the last 30 years, kind of on the down side now. Nevertheless, it still kicks out some nice grayling which can grow big for their species, over 24 inches in some cases. The Danube is food rich but mostly a bait fishing scene, offering a mixed bag of everything from pike through grayling. The few local fly fishers concentrate on nymphs and the sporadic insect hatches in summer. However, there are regularly strong midge hatches in the fall which consistently bring the grayling up top. This is when I dutifully make the 1 hour journey to the Danube.

    On the last two weekends in October 2005, the Danube midges were happening and the grayling and trout were coming up. I caught and released about 5 and 15 trout and grayling on two consecutive Saturdays. The fish ranged from 12 – 20 inches. The last picture shows a good grayling run on the Danube.

    If you are interested in fishing Southern Germany or Austria, feel free to contact me for information.

    For a great guide in the area contact Mr. Andi Pfirstinger at Alpine Angler:
    http://www.alpineangler.de

    Sincerely Chris (dude_1967).
     

    Attached Files:

  2. Bill Babb

    Bill Babb New Member

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    Niiice pictures and well written report! Thanks for the report from another part of the world!

    BB
     
  3. ibn

    ibn Moderator Staff Member

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    Cool report, thanks for sharing.
     
  4. Jason Rolfe

    Jason Rolfe Wanderer

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    Great report. I was born and lived my early life in southern Germany (army brat). I hope to get back there someday and maybe live for a time. Looks like there's some good fishing to look forward to.
     
  5. Dylan D

    Dylan D Member

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    Thanks for a great report, those look like some very nice fish. In another life I'll have time and money to get over there and fish my way around the continent. That and maybe sample some :beer1:
     
  6. Dick Warnke

    Dick Warnke was Pram-Man

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    That is way cool!! Thanks for sharing. Great report and pics. It,s nice to see that even if we don,t think about it there is more to the world than just our little corner of it. Here's to good days a head on the water to ya!!
     
  7. Stew McLeod

    Stew McLeod aka BigMac

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    Nice report. Makes me want to go visit my sister-in-law in Germany ... I will just have to sneak my 4 piece on the plane when we go sometime ...

    'Mac
     
  8. Dan

    Dan Member

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    Chris,

    Thanks again for the great memories. I've attached a photo of the first, or one of the first, rainbows that I caught on the Isar. I suspect that it was caught in June 1977 or 1978. Can't say for sure since I can't find my fishing record. I used to keep 'em and eat 'em back then. I began fly fishing the next year and caught a lot of grayling on the club's waters.
     
  9. Teeg Stouffer

    Teeg Stouffer Fish Recycler

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    Outstanding report. Such a treat to get to read reports on spots that are so different from what we have daily access to. Rad.
     
  10. jackchinook

    jackchinook Member

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    Now that's what I call a REPORT! Great pic's, great information. All very refreshing. Thanks
     
  11. jackchinook

    jackchinook Member

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    Now that's what I call a REPORT! Great pic's, great information. All very refreshing. Thanks
     
  12. Tom Arroll

    Tom Arroll Member

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    Hey Chris,

    Great post! My Mother is from this area in Germany and I have family in Karlsruhe, Regensburg, and Tubingen ect.. I have fond memories of when I was a kid fishing in a Mill Creek that ran behind my Godmothers house. There was a big pool right across from her house where there was a mill wheel. I caught some nice fish in there. I found out later that I was a poacher for this was a club stream and I was not a member. I am hoping to make it back to Germany soon to visit some aging relatives. I will definitely bring my fly rod when I do!

    Tomfish
     
  13. dude_1967

    dude_1967 Chris

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    Hey Dan. Sorry I missed you this summer in Colorado. We did a family trip and fishing was not the focus of the journey. Also I was suffering from some health issues. Hopefully next time...

    The Isar ruled back in the day. After a bit of down-time, it has really been rescued.

    Tom, I live and work 15 minutes from Tuebingen. So if you visit Tuebingen, give me a hollar.

    Thanks to all for the kind responses and interest in this report.

    Sincerely, Chris.

    :beer1:
     
  14. mike doughty

    mike doughty Honorary Member

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    That's awesome! i really enjoyed germany the few times i was there, didn't do any fishing though.
     
  15. huibgeselschap

    huibgeselschap Member

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    gut besser Paulaner!!! :beer1:
     

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