River Vellach (Austria)   


The Vellach is a river of the Carinthia region in the southern part of Austria, close to the border to Slovenia.

The Vellach originates on the Karawanken Alps. The river has mountain stream characterstic throughout the entire course. The water is crystal clear and it is not affected by the glacial silt of the melting snow, the fishery is perfect even in summer.

With the 3-day license, there are around 25 km of the river to explore immersed in a diverse Landscape while the 1-day license restricts the access to only a single stretch of the 4 "Reviers" in which the river is divided.

The river is well populated with rainbow trout (that remain in activity almost the whole day), grayling and brown trout.

The relatively low level of the river makes it a paradise for the dry fly, during hatches but as well hunting with stimulators.

The beautiful grayling are not always easy to find. I had the chance to catch some nice ones in the middle course of the river.

In the picture the reserve in Dullach, where the river is reachable through a path in the forest.

Once a group of grayling is spotted, if one takes care not to alarm them, a number of them can be caught even in the same pool. In the picture a very nice grayling that took a mid sized dry fly. It was caught in the place shown in the picture, where the riffle ripples the water in the middle of the stream.

Another nice grayling that took a dry fly, caught almost in the same place of the previous one.

In the moments when the dry fly was not productive, very small nymphs worked very well in this transparent water. The beautiful grayling in the picture was taken with the white tiny sedge nymph on 18 size hook.

Furhter downstream there are deeper pools, in the picture a view of the river from the "Holzenbrücke", the wooden bridge that delimits two stretches, both accessible with the 3 day license (source 2008). While taking the picture, a rainbow above 60 cm was swimming underneath.

Downstream of the bridge there are large trouts, rainbow and brown trout, often around 50 or more cm.

Either with nymphs or with dry flies a 8 1/2 or 9 feet rod will fit any need on the Vellach.

A floating flyline AFTMA 4 or 5 is ideal for this river. With crystal clear water the leader must be thin: 0,12 to 0,15 mm. With larger diameters the chances of success diminish exponentially.

The water quality is excellent and scuplins can often be seen, they are very numerous and favourite preys of big trout. This sculpin allowed me to take several underwater shots (at least till my hand got frozen). Interesting to notice its light hue, improving the camouflage on the white gravel.

The bed is full of caddis of various kinds, imitations of segde larvae have returned excellent results.

The Vellach typical mountain stream characteristic makes it very suitable for the Ecdyonuridae (photos left and right). Also widely present the ubiquitous Baetidae and the Ephemerellidae (of this latter, one nymph is visible in the next page's rigth corner). The large Ephemeras (photo in the middle) are not numerous but present and even without mass-hatches like on chalkstreams, big trout and grayling may get very hot on these flies when they are hatching.

The big stoneflies are also plenty and they testify the very good quality of this water that is defined as "drinkable" (but even if one may be tempted please do not try it).

During the beginning of October, these are the flies that brought the fish on the surface:
1 - small Baetis, they were hatching almost throughout the all day
2 - mid sized Ecdyonurus, at times the fish became very selective and even the biggest grayling preferred these larger flies
3 - there have been some sparse red segdes of this species flying around. .