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Catch me, if you can

Catch me, if you can

Fly fishing – fishing at its finest

Oliver Schwienbacher from the Ultental valley is knee-high in the crystal clear water. Once, twice, three times, and then a fourth, he raises his fishing rod with a flowing movement and swings the line in elegant arcs above the water’s surface. Weightlessly, the fly comes to rest on the water’s surface where the bright tufts of the artificial bait dance with the current. But this dance lasts just a moment. In no time, the lure whips through the air once again and the elaborate movements begin anew.

Fly fishing does not have a very long tradition. Although people have practiced fishing itself for thousands of years, the current form of fly fishing has only been practiced for a few hundred years. Fishing experienced a boom in 1992 with Robert Redford's American feature film "A River Runs Through It”.

Oliver too took note of this hype. For many of his students, this film provided the inspiration to take lessons in fly fishing. The Ultental resident is not only a passionate fly fisherman, but also an instructor. As a personal guide, the professional locksmith teaches beginners how to fly fish on weekends. The water-rich Ultental valley is ideal - whether in one of the reservoirs, idyllic mountain lakes in the high mountains or the Falschauerbach stream with its numerous tributaries.

Interview with Oliver:

How does fly fishing work?
"Contrary to the images from the feature film, the fish doesn't catch the fly during casting, but only after it has come to rest on the water’s surface. This is the true art of fly fishing. In order to best place the feather-light lure in front of the fish's nose, a special line that serves as the casting weight and a special casting technique are required. The rod arm is angled at the beginning and the rod tip points to the water’s surface. Then the rod tip is lifted in a flowing motion and moved back and forth toward where one wishes to cast. Preferably this is done without bending the wrist. Using the metaphor of a watch, the cast forward is stopped at about ten o'clock and the cast back at one o'clock. You should use as little force as possible. The trick is to keep the line in the air at all times."
“Once fly fishing catches hold of you, it doesn’t let go.”
What makes fly fishing so exciting?
"Fly fishing is the most pleasant method of fishing because of the direct contact with nature. Calm, constant movement and the ability to observe nature and the water - even the fish sometimes become an afterthought. Fly fishing is not about catching fish, so I'm releasing 90%. It's about outwitting the fish and choosing the right pattern for the fly."

What type of bait do you use for fly fishing?
"Bugs, mosquitoes, dragonflies, bees or grasshoppers. The lures are made of wool, fur, feathers, threads, wire or hair. They deceptively imitate the natural food of the fish on the water’s surface. In stretches of water or at times of day when fish search for food, especially in the water, nymphs are used to imitate insect larvae floating in the water."

Aside from the rod and lure, which five things are absolutely necessary for fly fishing?
"It doesn't take much. You don't need to carry bulky luggage, only what’s really necessary. I always carry my bum bag for the spare bait, waterproof pants and waterproof shoes, my vest and most importantly: polarized sunglasses. They remove the surface reflection from the water and protect the eyes. The swinging movement of the line often gives you a direct view of the sun."

Tips and tricks for beginners?
"If you are interested in fly fishing, you should take a course so that you don't start with the wrong casting technique. During the courses you receive rental equipment and can see if this is something for you. If you are serious about fly fishing, it is important to continue after the course because it takes a lot of time to master the technique of fly fishing.
It is important to be patient and not to have overly high expectations of catching a huge fish in the Falschauer stream. The main stock in these waters is brown trout and since the water is not deep, the average size is not the same as perhaps elsewhere. The fish are relatively small in comparison. And most importantly, be careful with the fish you do catch."

Places where you can go fly fishing in the Ultental valley
“Fly fishing is permitted in all lakes and in the entire Falschauer stream from San Pancrazio/St. Pankraz to Santa Gertrude/St. Gertraud, with the exception of the Fischersee lake and the stream from the bridge at the Kainz Laden store in Santa Gertrude. From this point on, the stream is reserved exclusively for members of the Ulten Fishing Club."

While locals need a fishing license and the fishing exam, guests can buy the license. This is valid for 10 years. Everyone needs a day ticket for fishing.
Fishing in the Ulten valley
Fishing in the Ulten valley
Fishing is ideal in the cold, oxygen-rich waters
Rest and relaxation in nature
Rest and relaxation in nature
Enjoy the pure air and the rejuvenating waters of the Ultental valley
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