River Püttlach (Germany)
Every now and then, I caught myself as being haunted by the distant memory, of a stream where, years ago, I seem to have caught a huge rainbow trout, if I was not mistaken, on a grasshopper imitation. It was a small stream, with clear, swiftly moving water, winding through grassy meadows of a Bavarian landscape…
Searching my memory and my old fishing logs from some fifteen years back, I reckoned it must have been the Puettlach, one of the tributaries of the Wiesent in Franconian Switzerland, northern Bavaria. And yes, it is still the Gasthof Goldene Krone in the small village of Pottenstein that owns the fishing rights.
The rooms are inexpensive and simple, but have a unique feature. The Puettlach
gurgles just beneath the room windows, just open the window and cast….
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The Puettlach is mostly only 4-6 meters wide, hardly more than 12 meters at the widest spots. The fishing permit includes a 5 km stretch upstream of the village, and I divided it into three zones for myself: ‘the village’, ‘the woods’, ‘the meadows’. Given the delicate character of this stream, I decided to fish, for the first time, with my recently acquired 7 foot, #4 bamboo rod, and to start in ‘the village’, moving upstream.
All along ‘the village’, traces of history of Puettlach as the location of several old watermills are visible…
The first catch in the village is a hard fighting rainbow trout, which took a small dun imitation. This one, although nice, is still far from the catch of my memories, so I move further upstream…
Leaving the village, and approaching the woods, I pass the old barn and make acquaintance with some wild brown trout.
‘the woods are lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep…..’: tempting as the woods look like, somehow I don’t have success here, moreover, I’m driven towards the meadows, where I guess the fish from my memory came from….
Yes, this is the place from my memory. Even though there used to be less houses along the meadows…..will I yet again land a memorable catch here?
The stream is narrow here, with gin-clear water. The only chance is to go low on the knees, and cast as delicately as your skill will allow upstream.
At the end of the fishing day, it is a well fed, wild brown trout that qualifies for the ‘catch of the day’. Is it memorable? That needs to be contemplated over a hearty franconian meal, after a full days fishing….
….for which endeavour the valley of the Wiesent, with it’s country restaurants and the highest density of local craft beer breweries in Germany, presents itself to be the paradise.
At the end of the short trip to the Puettlach emerges the simple truth: it is not about ‘what’, but rather ‘how’ you catch it. This stream, with its crystal clear water and wild, spooky trout, has proven to be perfect for using a delicate bamboo rod and classic gear.
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