Fly Fishing in the Czech Republic
In mid-November I had the opportunity to be in the Czech Republic and took advantage of the chance to fish the Vltava River in the mountains of South Bohemia, Czech Republic near Lenora. Before the trip I googled: “Fly Fishing Czech Republic”. One hit in particular caught my eye, the web site for Jan Siman’s (http://shop.siman.cz/) on-line fly shop. Jan, a former member of Czech national team who lives in Plzen was a gold mine of information and assistance. Jan picked me up at the bus station, help me rent a car – I don’t speak any Czech - obtained a permit for me, gave me directions to his special location and several of his nymphs and CDC drys. Three hours latter I was having a typical Czech meal at the little pension that he had arranged for me.
The next morning was COLD and rainy as I set off just after 9:30 for a day on the river. Jan’s suggested location required that I hike/slosh through a swampy meadow to get to the river. The Vltava is not the most beautiful river I have ever fished but it was my river to fish in the Czech Republic. It was relatively straight with high grass and weed covered banks. The few riffle areas were shallow with a small gravel substrate. The long pools were relatively uniform in cross-section with almost a parabolic shape. The best feature of the river was that the banks were primarily large rocks covered with a thin layer of soil. Enough rocks were in the river to provide good cover and habitat near the banks.
Being in the Czech Republic it was only appropriate that I would be nymph fishing. Nearly an hour and a half of nymphing my way up the river with a combination of one of Jan’s nymphs and a dropper of a STREAM SIDE ADVENTURES generic nymph didn’t produce a thing. About noon the rain stopped and I think - maybe just wanted it - it warmed a bit. For whatever reason a few fish started rising. Off went the nymphs and on when one of Jan's size 18 CDC BWO, a simple fly with micro fibbits for a tail, light olive thread and a CDC post wing.
The Vltava is primarily a grayling river and according to Jan grayling are VERY leader shy. He had told me that if I started seeing rises, turn around and start fishing with a downstream presentation. I soon learned that blind drifting was not effective. The method that was productive was to make a puddle cast that landed the fly about 3 feet above a rise and let the fly drift to the fish. Right at the end of the drift would be where you would get your rise. I also found that the biggest fish were at the tail of the pool along the deeper side but not necessarily along the banks. Graying have a sub-terminal mouth so they roll up and over your fly to take it. If you wait a fraction of a second to long you pull it up and out of their mouth. After a couple of misses I realized that a typical “up with the rod tip and down with the line hand” hook set would not work. Once I made the switch keeping my rod tip down and doing a "put the line in your pocket" hook set, I started catching fish. Not to long after 1 a light rain returned and the fishing slowed. By 1:30 the rain was back. By then I had landed 4 graying in the 12 to 15 inch range and several smaller fish. I had another country to add to my life list of places I had caught fish. The warm fire, lunch and a good Czech beer at the pension sounded too good to linger any longer on the river.