In our area in Oberpinzgau there are some of the most beautiful grayling waters in Austria. In the main river, the Salzach, there is a good natural population of grayling in all age groups. The tributaries, especially the Krimmler Ache and the Stubach, are very popular with fly fishermen due to the structure of the water and the abundance of grayling. Particularly noteworthy for grayling fishing is the Finkausee, probably the lake with the best grayling population in all of Austria.

To ensure that it stays that way, we launched the “Pinzgau grayling project” over 20 years ago.

Fly fishing for grayling is seen by many of our fishermen as the supreme discipline. On the one hand, the fish can be quite tricky, on the other hand, the natural population of grayling in many areas is already severely endangered by water regulations, transverse structures and the spread of fish-eating predators. Because of this, the grayling was also named Fish of the Year 2021 by the Austrian Fisheries Association.

So that you can catch your dream fish on your next vacation, we give you five tips for successful fly fishing for grayling in the rivers and lakes of our area.

1. Choice of bait

Grayling like to be colorful. Try to tie your flies with so-called “hot spots”. An additional brightly colored (fluo-) red winding between the head bead and the thorax, colored tungsten beads, bright CDC panties and brightly colored tails, for example, often make the difference between success and failure. They also ensure that your fly is different from all the other insects in the water, making it easier for the fish to spot. However, the motto “less is more” also applies to grayling bait, so you shouldn’t overdo it. A certain naturalness should always remain recognizable in the fly pattern.

Popular patterns in dry fly fishing are, for example, red tag or small imitation ants. Red Tag, Hare’s Ear or Pheasant Tail are popular nymphs. So-called “Perdigón Nymphs” have also proven to be very effective recently. These nymph patterns are coated again with a layer of UV varnish, so they have a very smooth surface and do not have to soak up with water before they quickly sink near the fish.

2. Depth of water

Of course, most fly fishermen prefer to catch everything on the surface on dry flies. Most of the time, however, fish stand rather deeply at the bottom of the water and also take up most of their food there. In our fast mountain rivers in particular, it is therefore important to bring the fly or nymph down to the depths quickly. The easiest way to do this is of course with weighted baits, for example with tungsten beads or a lead winding (or both). But it is also very helpful to tie the nymphs as thinly as possible. In addition to the faster rate of descent, this also has the advantage that the nymph is closer to the natural model, because most flies are tied far too much. There is a saying when it comes to dubbing: “Consciously use little dubbing – and then half of it!”.

3. Leader length

You should choose the leader as long as you can still throw it effectively. The rule of thumb for dry fly fishing on the lake is at least a rod length (about three meters), but especially when the fish are very shy, an even longer leader (up to five meters if it can be cast) often makes for success in grayling. A longer leader is also a significant advantage when fishing nymphs in the river. It is important to fish with the greatest possible distance between the flying line and the bait and to create a natural drift for the nymph on the bottom of the water. Accurate bait presentation and reading the body of water are arguably the most important characteristics to be successful.

4th line class

Line classes are, as everywhere, to be adapted to the water, the fishing technique and so on. In our area we recommend line classes between 4 and 8, so you are always good with class 5 or 6. In case of doubt, especially for grayling fishing, the lower line class should always be selected, as otherwise the sensitive bites are often not noticed until too late.

5. Assembly

In our area there is the right body of water for almost every type of fly fishing for grayling. A classic would be on the Finkausee with the dry fly for grayling. But in the “connecting stream” between the Finkausee and Gerlos reservoirs it becomes more difficult with the dry fly. There we recommend the so-called “New Zealand Style”, ie a large dry fly that acts as a carrier for a smaller nymph – e. B. Perdigón.

The dry fly is also an effective method on the Krimmler Ache and the Stubach, but depending on the water level and flow speed, the nymph must always be kept in mind. Most of the food intake takes place under water.

In the Salzach, the prospect of success with the dry fly is very slim. There the nymph is almost always the key to success in grayling. Here we fish two nymphs, one heavy and one light, on a rig. Grayling often bite very carefully, which is why it is particularly important to recognize the bites when fishing for nymphs, and visual aids, i.e. bite indicators in whatever form, are recommended. The very modern Euro-Nymphing style is also allowed and very effective in our area. You can find more information as well as pictures and videos about our waters in our App and on our homepage or find out more on site at our Fishing shop from our guides. Combine a visit to one of the best areas for grayling in Austria with a stay in our Hotel Bräurup and claim it today non-binding offer at!

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