A dark valley, a small micro cosmos with the wildest trouts in the heart of Austria
Some years ago I was looking for a dog friendly place somewhere in Austria for some days holiday in Austria. I fished already with the fly so I was quickly convinced when I saw the lake and the small creek which flows into the lake and from it further downstream. There it is already high in the mountains on about 1600 meters above sea level. Left and right high mountains rise into the sky. It isolates this small valley in a way that you can have totally different climate in there then outside. Snow in Summer? This happened already many times. The summers are cool and the winters are colder. I’m talking about the Etrachsee in the valley Krakauhintermühlen located in Styria.
The small lake is not quite deep but the colder. The food supply is scarce and the fish hungry. This makes the fishing easy and so arises within minutes the hoped-for success of a catch. The fish are often small to tiny but there are also more stately fish in this gin clear water. The best choice is the dry fly because it’s the most fun to entice these little bastards for a rise. And when they rise, they rise ferocious. A hell of a fun for every dry fly fisher. Don’t think to tie a Nymph on there. It works but with only a fraction of the fun.
The even smaller creeks are wild and with only a fraction of fishable water a real challenge. This is pocket water fishing at its best. The rapidly flowing water doesn’t hold fish and the presentation of a fly is nearly impossible. The key success factor is to scan for boulders and rocks that obstructs the general flow of the creek and creates a “pocket”, as it’s commonly called. This pocket is usually defined by a slower area of flow behind the obstacle with faster current swinging around the sides of the object. And there are the fish! The fish are always there where they have to spend less effort to stay on the spot. If you now place a fly exactly there inside such a pocket its just a matter of seconds till a trout rises. Sweet little trouts with big heads and skinny body, years already old. They grow much slower because of the minimal food source.
On a small 3 weight rod the fishing there is simply a fly fishing massacre. In the lake you can catch with the correct pattern with every cast a char or trout. That’s not the problem. The lake is full of fish. Wild fish! The challenge is to trick the bigger fish. In fishing tales the story is about 20 pound brown trout swimming in this small lake. Is it true. I don’t know but in the guesthouses breakfast hall there is a fish on the wall not less big what the fishing tales tell.
But there is something else. One is here in the mountains with endless hiking trails. A forest where guests can do mushrooming. Up on the mountain there are two other lakes. 2000 meters high no one believes in fish in there but I have seen one rising. Once I will fish there
This is a true gem in the heart of Austria. Wild and untouched with less tourism, less influence from the modern world and crystal clear waters which enchants one at first glance.