Ruegen 2022 (Germany) 

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Last winter thirty tons of dead fish were washed ashore in the inner lagoons of the island Rügen. The island is famous for the large and numerous pike that thrive in the (moderate) salt water. The lagoons are called "Bodden" in local language. We have been there at season opening (1st of May) to have a firsthand impression of the situation.


The lagoons are accessible by wading, almost like tropical flats. During May, after the spawning period, it is a perfect time to cast a fly in search of the big toothy predators. They hang around in the shallow waters after the reproduction and they are hungry. They will leave for deeper areas as soon as the temperatures rises.


Lagoon number 1: one of my favourite places. I always caught fish here. We start loaded with energy and hope. The conditions are perfect: wind and outcast sky.
After a few hours we have not yet seen a pike fin. We have seen only garfish that enter the lagoon to lay the egg, which should indicate that the water quality must be ok.


We put the belly boat in the water and search for deeper edges. Yet in vain. And so it goes, the first day ends. Blanked! Now, this might be normal. There are simply bad days and this can happen here as well.


Second attempt. Embittered by the first trip we decide to try to explore a new place and we choose a random unknown (to us) corner by looking on the map. We agreed that one will fish in wading and the other from the belly boat, to increase the chances of finding out where the pike are hanging. The place turns out to be an unfortunate choice. Close to the bank the water is murky and it has a weird smell. Very bizarre. There is a stench of decaying matter or worse. In addition, we do not see any fish and after a couple of hours we are out of here.


On the third attempt we agree to head to the northern Boddens. We end up visiting three different areas. We see garfish, that follow or attack the big streamers, but no pike.


Bottom line, we blank. Not only, we have not seen a pike follwing the fly, or a had pike attack. This is very unusual if one is used to how things work here with the pike. The shortage of results make us wonder. Are maybe the pike late or they were earlier in the Bodden? Is this a result of the fish death? Are we just hitting a series of bad days? The absence of other anglers seem to confirm that the fishing is not good.


We searched the pike by land and by sea in fantastic places and clear waters and yet nothing.


The lack of results must be a general factor this year. The missing anglers presence is also uncommon in the beginning of May and during the pike season opening. We agree to move to a Bodden that was particularly rich of pike the last time we have been here. The place holds a personal record of twelve pike in half a day.


I mount a curly fly pattern on a 4/0 hook and begin searching the water. After 30 minute of casting I have a first bite. I am glad we came here and .. after a short fight it turns out that the fish is a big garfish!
After another hour, another attack. The fly stops like snagging on a rock. There is no doubt this time, it is a big pike. The fight starts, we see the big golden flank and then .. lost. The pike got off the hook. We are prey of a mixed feeling of debacle and happiness, at least it is confirmed, here there are pike! Even more concentrated than before we comb every meter. There is another void pike attack and then it happens ..


Eventually a nice pike!
Meanwhile the fish death does not have a confirmed cause yet. There videos in youtube documenting the disaster, the question whether it was a natural phenomenon or caused to a some sort pollution it is still not answered. If anyone has further information, feel free to share it.


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