River Mur (Austria)
This private reserve comprises the whole spring basin of the Mur, a river with many aspects and souls in the sud-east of the region Salzburg. The all stretch is fly-only, barbless hook and no-kill. The fishing is allowed only for the guests of the Hotel Post in St.Michael in Lungau and it is free of cost. Only the purchase of the regional license is requested, 10 Euro for 7 days (source 2010).
The stretch downstream of the confluence of the Zeder has a limestone bed, which gives the water a typical turquoise colour. In these crystal clear waters live big grayling, brown trout and some rainbow. The rainbow is the residue of past stocks that were once set and that now started to reproduce independently. Fishing in these waters can have different degrees of difficulty, from easy to very technical. These are mainly native fish that are not always willing to be deceived by the first fly passing by.
We arrive at the river in the early morning and we spread about 400 meters from one another. After less than 10 minutes I have the impression of seeing a reflection a couple of meters after a small rapid. There is no surface activity and I am fishing my trusted nymph. On the second cast, I see again the reflection and one second after I have a fantastic 45 cm. grayling on the rod.
I wade about 20 meters downstream and while my nymph passes by an emerging rock I have other bite and another nice grayling.
As the morning gets warmer the fish begin to raise. Nice trout and beautiful aren't always easy to deceive. A medium-sized dark Sedge proved to be the right fly.
Around one o'clock the water level has raised and the activity of fish has decreased. So we decide to move upstream. A stretch of about 2 km upstream of the town of St.Michael is reserved to the dry fly.
Upstream of the confluence with the Zeder (visible in the upper part of the picture) the Mur color turns from turquoise to green. Here the river bed is composed of granite rock.
The water is crystal clear as it was downstream but the bottom of granite rock returns the impression of being on different river.
I am glad to verify that the nymph I used earlier in the morning reveals successful in this section too. In regards of the dry flies, in the evening a medium-sized Peute gave me some beautiful grayling.
The river alternates sections of fast riffles to green deep pools.
Proceeding upstream the river becomes more and more a typical Alpine stream.
The grayling disappears and brown-trout here remains the undisputed queen (about 80%) sharing the habitat with some nice rainbow trout (20%).
Upstream of the confluence with the hydroelectric power-station canal the water level is lower.By moving carefully on the banks one can spot and catch fish almost anywhere.
We succeed by "reading-the-water" and matching the conditions by alternating the nymph to the dry.
Going up towards the waterfall we fish every pool and riffles. Along a bank with deeper water we catch some nice rainbow trout that are raising on dry flies. The brownies in this moment of afternoon prefer the nymph.
Before arriving at the waterfall there are some low water ripples densely populated by beautiful brown-trout.
The spectacular waterfall plunges into a deep emerald pool. We can see the shadows of big fish and must cast from far away not to spook them. Despite the precautions, we take several beautiful trout with small nymphs and wet-flies but we do not to catch the fat ones. Going upstream one can fish the stretch of the mountain reserve, which unfortunately we could not fish due to lack of time but that surely we'll not miss when we get the next opportunity to visit the wonderful Mur.
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