River Großarl (Austria) 


by Luis Villas Tomé    

Our destination -Austria- the Großarl Valley by the village of Hüttschlag. I had been here a few years ago and I had promised to return.. It is an ideal area where to spend some days, if one wants to fish the stream (the Großarlbach) and the connected small lake.

The first day we were able to fish only two hours before nightfall. While Juanjo took position two hundred meters from the hotel , the other two we went to Lake -Ötzelsee- at the head of the river. Crystal clear water and always, always fish in sight. We get to a small bridge and while my mate was getting ready, at the second cast I catch a brook trout of about 30 cm. on a little dry-fly

I got 300 meters downstrean while Pepón remained in the lake at 100 meters from where the stream exits the lake. In a couple of hours we caught two dozens of trout and brook trout, all on dry fly, all between 20 and 30 cm. On our return to the hotel, Juanjo was waiting with a smile from ear to ear. In less than fifty meters he had taken two dozens of trout, of which half a dozen were between a kilo and two kilos , almost all on nymph, and had lost a big one of about three kilos. In this section , just above a small dam , there is plenty of fish , but I must admit that Juanjo is from another planet . He is able to catch trout where others don’t even see them.

The next two days we fished the most attractive areas of the 20 km of private waters. We avoided some areas with very low water , but in all the other areas we caught plenty of fish. One day , in the upper part of the river , where it starts meandering before entering the lake, I caught about 70 fish , mostly brook trout.

A few years ago the owner of the fishing rights of Großarl introduced the grayling. Although their presence is anecdotal in the middle - lower part of the river , their presence in noticeably higher in the lake and the meandering part of the stream. Though it is not easy to cheat them , especially in areas of slow current , where the fish have the chance to examine with the magnifying lens our imitations. The few ones we caught , succumbed to a gammarus rose mounted on a 22 sized hook.

The entire stretch can be considered interesting , although the area just below the meandering part is less scenic and its flow is lower. Upstream of the Huttschlag Dam , there is a very nice section with trophy trout. Downstream the river regains its flow and there are beautiful areas with plenty of trout. Here the success is no granted thing and each trout must be "earned" .

On our arrival at the hotel , Franz , the owner , give each fisherman a map of the valley in which highlights the best areas for fishing ..

..and also provides the key for the gate to the track leading to Lake Ötzelsee , this way it is possible to arrive with the car a fifty meters from the lake .

The patterns that worked best are dry flies on CDC, deer hair sedges and small olives.

Among the nymphs small gammarus and pheasant tail performed very well.

The streamer may become interesting in the case of high flow or colored water or at dawn.