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Czech Grayling

Category: Fly Fishing Destinations | Author: Petr Axamit

Grayling has always been known as a symbol of fly-fishing in the Czech Republic. The author gives a short report about Czech graylings...


Grayling has always been known as a symbol of fly-fishing in the Czech Republic. Especially male grayling with its big dorsal fin, like a flag in the wind, is the most desirable trophy. Let me give you a short report about Czech graylings. I can describe the situation in North Bohemia. I was born here and have been fishing in this area for ages. I have also been guiding here for more than 10 years. So that Jizera, Labe, Kamenice, Upa, Ohre, Smeda, Nisa, Mohelka are rivers which I know best.

All rivers have their springs in the mountains that are spread along the German border in the north-west and along the Polish border in the north-east. The Jizera Mountains and the Giant Mountains are the most famous and also the most beautiful. The rivers flow down to the Czech basin where the Labe River is the main Czech drainage winding its way through Germany to Hamburg and finally to the North Sea. Only Nisa with its tributary Smeda follows north direction to its confluence with the Odra River in Poland which finally enters to the Baltic Sea. The rivers change their character from typical mountain river with fast stream, rapids, boulders and pebbles to a lazy lowland river with sand banks, meandering in the meadows and fields while passing ancient castles. One can really have different rivers and countryside with a lot of sightseeing possibilities in a quite small area without travelling hundreds miles to see something new. How different the Czech scale is if you compare it for example with Russia or the USA.

Most rivers and lakes in the Czech Republic are handled/owned by Czech Fishing Union. Local fishing clubs, which are members of Czech Fishing Union, are also responsible for stocking in their rivers and lakes according to the stocking plan of Czech Fishing Union. We divide our rivers and lakes into waters with salmonid regime and waters with non-salmonid regime. In salmonid waters you can find mostly trout and graylings. Non-salmonid waters are typical for pikes and carps. But trout and graylings particularly also live in non-salmonid rivers with clean and cold water. Rainbows and brown trout are usually stocked in salmonid waters. But graylings are stocked very seldom there. So that grayling population is more or less native and wild.


The biggest graylings were always caught in the Ohre River, which was Mecca of Czech fly-fishing in the past. But it is over. The situation below the Nechranice Dam changed a lot. A bad fishing policy of local clubs, too many anglers who didn't accept "catch and release" philosophy and first of all cormorants caused that grayling population was nearly destroyed in Ohre. Ohre was the second Czech river, after the Dyje River in South Moravia, where cormorants caused big damages. Not to mention damages caused on farm lakes and ponds. Also in the Czech Republic cormorant is protected by law. All states of the European Union should change together their "cormorant law". It could help to reduce their numbers. Ohre would need a new regulation especially with "catch and release" regime in more parts which would be strictly controlled by professional fishing police. But these changes are not possible without great changes in the management of Czech Fishing Union.

Luckily other rivers like for example Jizera, Labe, Kamenice, Upa, Mohelka or Smeda still have good and healthy grayling population. Grayling naturally spawns in most rivers. Fish have usually typical silver colour, but the biggest graylings are iron dark. These "monsters" are usually caught in September and October. Younger fish usually live in small groups. They can be found in open and shallow water and also at the end of deep pools where the river bottom goes up. On the contrary older and bigger fish prefer being alone and live in deeper places-holes and pools. In spring and summer Czech nymphing is the most effective method but from September the dry fly is the best. Nymphs are a bit bigger, tied on the bend hooks No.8-14. Dry flies are smaller, tied on the hooks No.18-22. Grayling are not as shy as trout and so that you needn't be hidden behind the tree and you can come closer and start casting.

As a Czech patriot I would like to invite you to the heart of Europe, to visit my wonderful native country. Prague is only an hour flight from the UK. Moreover air tickets are quite cheap and also Czech prices are still quite low. I am sure that your stay in the Czech Republic must be one of the best travel experiences in your life. As a good start of planning a new trip have a look at  www.travelaxa.cz.

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