I have been fishing since I was 4 years old, so for almost 30 years only with the fly rod. My father was invited to fish a nearby reservoir with other anglers in September 1990 before it was drained. Everyone fished with a spinning rod, but my father didn’t. He was one of the first fly fishermen in our district and loved to go trout stalking with the dry fly. His passion grabbed me from the first second and even if the other fishermen caught 100 fish that day, we were very proud of our one fish, because he was outwitted with a small dry fly!
Fly fishing has been my greatest passion since I can remember. When I was 6 years old a group of Dutch fly fishermen came to our hotel. They made me enthusiastic about tying flies. It was a real challenge at first, but over time I got better and better, and outwitting fish around the world with my self-tied flies is probably my greatest passion. I have been passing this passion on to my son Noah for some time. He caught his first char at the age of 3, and I was never as proud as when we stood together at the stream, and he casted as if he had never done anything else in his life! It is exactly this passion that I pass on to our guests who are standing on a mountain stream for the first time. I show them the technique, we go to the stream and after a short time the fly rod bends under the pressure of a fish in the current … The guests then grab the same magic as me, every time I have a fish on my fishing rod.
Can you tell us a little about your home waters and the fish you pursue there?
I am very lucky to live in the heart of Austria. There I can fish everything from the small mountain stream to medium-sized waters up to Taimen rivers, which I feel like doing. Sure, having a Taimen on a big river on the rod is nice, but catching a char or a brown trout on sight with a dry fly in my little mountain stream that has grown naturally, has been exposed to strong currents for a lifetime and is really clever, is always the highlight for me!
What’s the height of the season for you?
My favorite season is definitely autumn. I have been to Alaska and Canada several times and experienced Indian Summer there in all its glory. I have to say that it is equally nice here with us, maybe a little smaller. The larches change their color, the water level goes down after the hot months with lots of glacier water you can see the fish in the pools very well. Most of all I enjoy standing by the water on such days and annoying trout and especially grayling with small dry flies. That is like heaven for me.
What time of year is your personal favourite?
When we close our hotel in the fall and we have time for ourselves and the family, I love going to the water with my son Noah. We don’t fish as much anymore because the fish are already in spawning mode and come together in the many pools to make love. When the water level is low, you can see how fish-rich our streams are. Watching the fish spawning and looking into my son’s tense and shining eyes overwhelms me again and again.
What are your favourite travel destinations?
My father always promised me that he would fly to Alaska with me if I passed my A-levels. Unfortunately, he was already to sick that he could no longer start the trip. The alternative was Slovenia. It was the first time I fished outside my district and I had wonderful days with my dad and my brother. Since then I’ve been drawn to many Slovenian waters on a regular basis. Since Slovenia is only a stone’s throw away, I go fishing there several times a year. My biggest passion is to go steelhead fishing. Ice, snow, rough conditions and not the slightest chance of a fish … that’s what I like. Standing on the long banks of the Skeena with a two-handed rod on an icy day, driving down the Situk River with a drift boat and a single handed rod or trying your luck on the Copper River, that’s awesome fishing for me! Not only the country, but also the people did it to me. Whenever my budget and limited time allow, I take the next best flight to Vancouver or Yakutat to fish for Steelhead. No fish has given me drills comparable to that of steelhead trout in the Wild, Wild West.
What’s on the bucket list?
Some time ago I discovered the love for Taimen. A dream fish that is now very rare in our local rivers. But they still exist, the River Monster, and in the Drau or Gail they can easily grow to 120cm and get up to 20kg … It always reminds me of the cold days on the Skeena river to hunt these beautiful fish. I got to know some cool guys who also like to fish for Taimen, and we are already talking about a trip to the wilderness of Mongolia … let’s see what fall 2020 brings – the flight prices are checked daily.
What’s your current go-to fly?
A small Klinkhammer of size 14 in olive or black is always a hot tip in our home waters. In summer it is great fun to let large terrestrials drift on the water surface. To outsmart big fish, I use white streamer / muddler combinations. If a fish is hungry, it will take one of these three flies. If he is not hungry, it is better to go to the next pool.