Fishing the Ybbs in Lower Austria

The River Ybbs is located about 50 Km southeast of Linz, in Lower Austria.

In 2006, suffering from withdrawal symptoms, having not had the opportunity to do any fly fishing for some time, together with wife, Barbara and dog, Oniks, we boarded a plane at Tenerife South Airport and flew to Linz in Austria, where we hired a car for the 50 Km journey to the Ybbs Valley.

Taking our young Dobermann, Oniks, was, we believed, going to be a slight problem, but luckily we had found dog friendly accommodation at Jagdhof Breitenthal (Breitenthal Hunting Lodge), Sankt Georgen am Reith. The journey through beautiful countryside took less than one hour, and our arrival at the Lodge was a pleasant surprise. The Lodge and grounds were stunning, and we were met by the Owners, Fritz and Eva, who showed us to our ‘dog friendly’ room on the ground floor, with easy access out to the garden and the adjacent pathways through the fields and woods.

Fritz and Eva help arrange our Fishing Licence from the nearby town of Opponitz, where there was a good Fly Fishing outfitter.  Not knowing the area, I engaged the services of a local guide for a day, mainly to get local knowledge of the best areas to fish.  The river that day was in spate, there having been quite a bit of rain before our arrival.  Undeterred, the guide  gave me quite a number of useful tips, including how to use small bright red and white floats attached to the leader to aid bite detection.  In the past I had used a dry fly in a similar way, however, the little, almost fluorescent floats attached to the leader not only governed the depth of the fly below the surface, but made bite detection astonishingly easy in the fast flowing water.  I now always have a packet of these little floats in the pocket of my Fly Vest.  

For two days the fishing was, to say the least, a little demanding, but as the river returned to normal and the sun came out, fishing the Ybbs was a delight.  The water was almost turquoise in color and exactly what you imagine of a ‘Alpine Mountain Stream’.  There were weirs, waterfalls, fast flowing sections and placid mirror like pools, a fly fisherman’s paradise.  One day, I caught a lovely brown trout, photographed it, intending to put it safely back in the water, when it suddenly wriggled and It dropped from my hand.  Oniks, my faithful Doberman was at my side, opened his large mouth and caught the fish head first and swallowed it whole.  I was so stunned that I just looked at him without saying anything.  Pleased with himself, Oniks sauntered up the bank and laid down for a well-earned nap.

Another day, we went to a tributary of the Ybbs suggested by the Guide, it was a lovely trout stream running through a forest.  Initially the fishing was normal, catching the odd trout every now and again, but then we moved to an area with a shingle bank and everything changed.  I caught thirty-four (Yes 34) brown trout  on dry-fly with only slightly more than thirty-four casts.  All were returned unharmed!  They were not the largest I have caught, but certainly the most prolific outside of a stocked pond.  At thirty-four fish It was starting to become ridiculous, it seemed the fish were attempting to commit suicide, so we left that stream in search of larger, more wary fish.

I look back on our trip to the Ybbs very fondly, not only because of the memories of Oniks gulping down the catch and suicidal trout, but also because of the scenery, the welcome we received at Jagdhof Breitenthal, which included a trip up into the mountains, when Eva, the owner took my wife deer stalking, to make up for my absence on the riverbank.  I especially enjoyed getting back to the Lodge in the evening, tired from a hard day fishing, to a wonderful meal prepared by Eva, which I ate with a heavy Doberman laying under the table, head resting on my feet. 

Tight Lines – The Silver Fly Fisherman


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