River Kyll (Germany) 


The Kyll River has its source in Belgium and then runs for its entire course through Germany. After about 130 km, it flows into the Mosel River. The name is pronounced like the English word "kill," and it has its origins in the ancient Celtic word for stream.

I bought the guest permit at a local outdoor shop, where I was informed that the reserve was extended due to some works on the railway that hinder access to a part of the river. So, to ensure that the guests have the same usual length to exercise fly-fishing, the area stretched up to the small bridge out of Ober Bettingen village. It is here that I decided to start fishing. At 7:30 a.m., I park and mount my gear. Sedges are present in the high grass, still dozing in the morning dew.

I start my action downstream of the small bridge. There is fish activity. Sparse rise, not easy to interpret. I change a number of dry flies but have only a couple half bites, without catching any fish. Most are trout; I also see an elusive, huge chub of maybe more than 2 kg.

Being close to the road and parking slots, this looks like a part of the river where fish are used to see people and all types of artificial flies. Just the time to reckon on this, that I have my first trout at the end of the line. A hard fighter despite its modest size.

I catch another small trout, and then I decide to walk into the wooded area further downstream.

In the woods, there is no path, making it likely that not a lot of people go inside. Runs, riffles, and a small waterfall follow one another in the peace of the forest. Beautiful fishing. I spent here about three hours, a bit due to the difficulty of proceeding in the tall grass and thick vegetation, and also to explore every possible place where a trout could be lurking. Apart from a nice trout that rose from the depths of a slow-flowing pool, I did not see a single fin for a good mile.

The next beat runs along the single-track railway; at the moment, no train passes due to the work in progress. The banks are very steep, and the vegetation is a tangle of bushes and small trees. Casting among a tangle of vegetation is quite complicated, but this is where some nice brownies are rising. I manage to scare one, but in the next place where I can get my fly in, I catch a nice trout on a Mayfly pattern.

The Mayfly hatch has intensified in the last hour, and the trout are starting to respond to the event by showing more interest in the large preys that sail now more and more.

I go down the river until I reach an area with deeper water. Here the path ends, and the area is surrounded by paddocks fenced with barbed wire on both banks. I try to wade through, but the water is too deep, so I give up. I exit the water and realize that Mayfly nymphs hang on my waders. Gently, I release them into their element before returning to the car and driving to the next parking area.

If early in the morning the fish were disregarding the sparse Mayflies for other species, now in the early afternoon the hatch has intensified, and so has the interest of trout for the large Ephemera danica. However, between four and five PM, the hatch starts fading and so the trout rising on them.

Trout are now feeding on small drifting nymphs. Small to medium-sized nymph imitations are the key to success at this stage of the day. In the In most cases, it involves sight-nymph fishing, with trout in full euphoria from the abundant nymph drift.

The frenetic activity on the nymphs lasts an hour and a half, with almost a trout on every cast. When the sun goes down, the nymph drift seems to have diminished too. On the other hand, the air begins to fill with flying insects.

There is a bit of everything now flying around: small and mid-sized mayfly duns, big Mayflies that lay their eggs, sedges and diptera.

Delicate sips and large splashes ripple the surface; the trout menu is varied. Among all this action, the noisy takes of the large May flies are impressive.

The El Dorado lasts until sunset, the imitation of the large mayfly was very productive in this final part of the day. A river in good condition with enough macrobenthos to offer good dry fly-fishing when conditions are right.

Would you like to dine, be sure to arrive at the restaurant well before the cup-de-soir (and fish aferward). You'll risk finding the kitchen closed after 8:30 p.m. (if not earlier:)

Recommended flies for the end of May and the beginning of June