This small alpine section of the river Erlauf in Lower Austria is a true jewel in the mountains. The stretch begins high up in the mountains in the Ötschergraben where the Ötscherbach enters into the small lake known as the Stierwaschboden. From there it flows downstream for about 4 km winding its way through a deep valley where it forms some of the finest river sight fishing for wild brown trout and rainbow trout imaginable. The river was previously stocked with large trout to entice anglers but sadly it also enticed a large number of otters, which depleted not only the stocked fish but the wild ones too. After years of being left alone and no more stocking the the river has bounced back with an incredible population of wild trout. This is the typical river that you would expect to see in a brochure about fly fishing in Austria. Cold, crystal clear water running over beds of gravel and that lovely aquamarine sheen that makes any angler want to have a peek to see who is at home.
The fishing here is challenging to say the least. Smaller trout will readily give themselves up for a well placed fly but the larger trout will happily refuse anything that doesn't fully meet their requirements. This is proper sight fishing and stalking at its best and time spent surveying any pool before going near it is often well rewarded. As with most alpine streams and rivers the feeding is largely comprised of nymphs (stone clingers and caddis), terrestrials (beetles and ants) and smaller fish such as bullheads. This may not seem so great at first but the angler must always remind themselves that any food passing or entering will nearly always get some attention and a well cast ant or beetle is usually met by a hungry mouth in a matter of seconds after landing. The river is small in size with the biggest pools being 5 metres at the widest point. A smaller, softer rod is advisable for fishing here and it is more productive to take the pools in turn when fishing in company.
In complete contrast to the river there is also the Striewaschboden lake, which although small in size has a very large population of wild trout. The rich feeding that the lake provides to the trout sees them reaching sizes that would make any angler nervous before casting. This is the land of monster trout and regular sightings of backing peeling of a screaming reel. With patience and a bit of luck it is possible to hook up to one of these leviathans but landing it is a different matter altogether!
The main food items are damselfly nymphs, mayfly nymphs, snails and caddis larvae and the angler is well advised to keep this in mind when filling a box before a trip. As space is not an issue there are also far more opportunities to fish as a small group with regular resting of hotspots for new arrivals to swim by. As well as wild rainbows and browns the lake also holds a head of brook trout, which is also something of a rarity for the region. A slightly heavier set up is advisable for the lake as the angler never knows exactly what will present itself in a session. As a general rule of thumb 5# and upwards are preferable here and leaders/tippets should also be stepped up a notch.
Fishing at the Untere Eraluf with Wildside Fishing is available from May until mid October and for a maximum of one angler per day.
Prices (per day):
A guided day costs 250 Euros.
An additional day ticket (56 Euros) is available online at www.hejfish.com and can be prearranged via Wildside Fishing.
(Please not that anglers must have a valid NÖ Fischerkarte or Gastkarte. The Gastkarte can be purchased for 14 Euros from most fishing shops or pre-arranged via Wildside Fishing)
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