Bohemia – Fly fishing Utopia

Watch the YouTube Video


I have just returned from a five-day fly fishing trip to the Otava River in the Sumava National Park, Czech Republic. This area, better known as Bohemia, is a continuation of the Bavarian Forest of Germany, where I spend my summers. However, mainly due to the language difficulties, I had not previously thought of visiting the area, despite it being so close by.  I decided to put this right and contacted Jan Siman at   Jan runs a Fly Fishing School and Guide Service as well as an on-line fly fishing shop from his Fly Fishing Tackle Shop in Susice.  Jan was a member of the famous Czech Fly Fishing Team that won Gold at the 10th World Fly Fishing Championships in Wales, he therefore knows a thing or two about the sport!

One of the perceived problems of fishing in the  Czech Republic is the subject of licensing, but Jan is used to dealing with foreign fly fisherman and has dealt with the ‘problem’, just leave it to him.  That is exactly what I did!  I left Jan to sort out my accommodation, licensing and permits after booking a package which included accommodation, permits and licenses, a small box of flies and a day exploring the River Otava. 

I duly arrived at the charming Hotel Gabreta in beautiful Susice on the Sunday afternoon and found that it was only a hundred meters from Jan’s shop, where I was due to meet him the next morning.  That afternoon Jan visited me at the Hotel to sort out the question of permits and licenses, there being a number of options available, including a visitors one month license.  Living so close to the area, I opted to join the local fishing club and take a 10 year license and annual permit.  This required that I pass the State Fishing Examination, which, with Jan’s assistance  as translator, was accomplished without problem.

The following morning I met with Jan at his shop and drooled over the fly tying materials and tackle on display.  We completed the paperwork and whilst Jan’s associate went off to sort out my permits and licenses, we set off to explore the Otava River.  

This beautiful river, centered on Susice, has five beats, over 58 Km, one of which, the ‘Trophy Stretch’, is private and there is an extra fee to fish it. The Otava is the most significant and important river in the western part of Sumava.  The river has native Brown Trout and Grayling and is stocked with Rainbow Trout and American Brook Trout, also known as Brook Char, and in Germany as Saibling.  The upper part of the Otava River has a typical mountain stream character with rapids, fast streams and deep pools, whilst the middle and lower stretches, from Susice to Strakonice is more gentle in character, with longer pools. Jan took me to each beat of the river and pointed out where to gain access, likely fishing spots and local amenities.  Jan cautioned me that there had recently been bad flooding in the area and it was possible that the fishing would be adversely affected.  How wrong he was! By the end of the day, when I collected my licence and permits, I was bemused as to which spot I wanted to fish first.  

The following morning I awoke at dawn and together with my faithful dog, walked the 200 meters to the weir at Susice, where Beat 7 flows slowly through the park until dropping over the weir.  For the next few hours until breakfast-time, I had great fun with a dry-fly.  After breakfast, we set off for a mornings fishing, setting the pattern for the next three days. My four days fly fishing on the Otava resulted in a haul of thirty-five fish, four small native Brown Trout, one Rainbow Trout and thirty American Brook Trout.  The majority were caught on nymphs and on three occasions, I caught two Brook Trout at the same time.  Jan was right in one respect, the flooding had affected the river, but on the lower stretches, this was to the fly fisherman’s advantage, as Brook Trout had been washed out of a local fish farm!

The Sumava area of Bohemia is a beautiful area to visit, and even better if you intend Fly Fishing, it is a veritable Utopia, and now that I have discovered it, I will be returning to the Otava River at every opportunity.  Have a look at the YouTube video and see for yourself.

Tight Lines – the Silver Fly Fisherman



2 Responses to “Bohemia – Fly fishing Utopia”

  1. Feedback received from Jan Siman:

    Message: Hello John,
    I am pleased you enjoyed your first fly fishing trip in the Czech Republic. Thank you for sharing your experience,



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