River Lauter (Germany) 


The river Große Lauter is a chalk-stream in the German region of Baden Württemberg. It runs for 42 Km before flowing into the river Danube.

The area is a well known destination for hikers and trekkers. Along the course of the river there are scenic sites and ancient artifacts.

The fly fishing zone is almost 9 km long. In the upper part the river flows with relatively shallow water. Waterweeds reveal its chalk-bottom nature. Today it is warm and sunny and currently there is no surface activity. I catch some brown trout on weighted nymph.

I catch as well a couple of rainbow trout. All fish is between 20 - 25 cm.

Further downstream, before and after the waterfall, the river loses its chalk-stream look. At times it runs under tunnels of vegetation and there are less weeds, when none at all. At the waterfall there is an inviting deep pool. Despite my attempt to search its depth with the nymph I did not get any contact.

Downstream well after the waterfall, the river gradually regains its characteristic. Around 1 PM it gets too hot and there is neither a fish nor an insect in sight. Even the nymph stopped catching. So I decide to take a break and have lunch, waiting for the temperature to drop.

Farther downstream the river assume more and more the typical chalk-stream look with plenty of water-crowfoot.

With the same mayfly nymph used in the morning I catch a number of small, beautiful and healthy brown trout.

Thinking that I have to deal with 20 cm fish, I let my guard down. While drifting the nymph in a shallow area close to the bank I have the next bite. I do not react appropriately and in a matter of seconds a big fish pops my 0.18 leader, letting me flabbergasted staring at the slack line.

As the sun approaches the end of its daily run, swarms of mayflies begin to crowd the air. Some of them are laying eggs, but there are also many duns that are emerging. I then switch the Ephemera danica nymph that has been productive during the day, for the dry version.

I spot a nice rise. It is a good fish. With all precautions I get a fifteen meters away from him and keep three meters from the bank. At the 3rd cast it comes up and take my fly. Either I strike too early or it spits the fly out, no luck. I stop fishing and observe for five minutes, but the trout is spooked and does not rise anymore. A hundred meter upstream the same happens again. This time I fight the fish for two seconds before I lose it. I check the sharpness of the hook and all seems OK. Bad luck. Two nice trout lost within 15 minutes.

Another fish is rising this time 20 cm from the bank. After some stalking with a couple of different dry flies, it takes a Danica spent imitation. It is a strong fish and it fights different from a trout.

I net a nice 30 cm brook trout that I carefully set free back into the water.

Now the hatch reaches the climax. Fish are rising on duns, egg-laying and spent mayflies. All adult Ephemera stages are present on the water.

The conditions meet a fly fisherman's dream, yet it's not easy to get trout to take an artificial fly with this plenitude of insects. I am now fishing a triangle of rises. They might three fish, or perhaps only two that are alternating the positions. Regardless of how many they are, they are clearly big fish.

I try the spent in vain, but the dun emerger convinces one of them, a beautiful 48 cm brown trout that gets released after a heart-pounding fight!