River Amblève (Belgium)
Fly fishing for barbel
The Ambléve (Amel in Belgian language) springs in Belgium on the Hautes Fagnes upland in the province of Liège. It runs for 93 km and then it flows into the Outher.
I had the chance to be guided through this catch and release fishing zone by a good connoisseur of this part of river, who shared his intimate knowledge of this water.
We arrive in the morning, as we hit the bank we are welcomed by a state warden who checks our licenses, indeed a good sign. The water is crystal clear with a characteristic amber colour. It all looks very promising.
There are plenty of sedges in the vegetation, still asleep in the morning dew. Some sparse fishes are rising and the first brown trout don't let us wait for too long.
We catch on dry and nymph. The water level is ideal and allows careful wading, taking care not to slip on the slick stones.
In a deeper pool, huge golden reflexes glisten in the sun rays. After few casts, I have the impression to hook the bottom but after a few seconds a train starts pulling against the current. After a strong fight I can land the first barbel, a fish around 2-3 pounds.
Now it is the turn of my mate, he spots a group of barbel in another pool...
...and there he goes, a huge barbel start pulling out fly line against the current. The rod bends to the limit, it is a tough fish that, due to its size, has some problems fitting in the landing net.
After a quick picture the barbel can swim back into its element.
After some more barbel we decide to head downstream and check a new place. We catch trout and grayling on nymph. Then my mate hooks another good sized barbel that trespasses the 5 pounds in the scale of the landing net.
The Belgian national fishing license is required to fish the Amblève, in addition a permit for the C&R zone is required. It can be purchased in the tourist office in Remouchamps. A good period to pay a visit to this nice river is from the beginnig of June through Semptember.
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