The Leinleiter (Germany) 


by P.Majeran  

It is a ritual, which keeps repeating itself year after year: I park the car at the tiny village right at the south boundary of the stretch of this small stream. Hardly being able to curb my curiosity at how the water looks like after more then a year, I mount the light fly rod, prepared for dry fly fishing, and head down towards the stream. Stream-what stream? In fact, you have to get fairly close to notice it…..

...and here it is, just to prove the nonbelievers wrong! Barely three meters wide at the widest point, with cold, crystal-clear water running swiftly. Quite a challange to approach it – and not to scare off all the fish within casting distance at once! So – I have to get down on my knees and crawl…

Quite likely, the first fish of the day will be a grayling. There’s plenty of them in this southernmost part of the stretch. After having caught the living proof of the fact that ‘they are still there’, as always, I work my way steadily upstream – using strictly the dry fly. (fishing anything else would, in fact, come pretty close to driving a bulldozer right through a children’s playground..).

After around 500 meters, I come to one of my favorite stretches – the long, deep straight one, which begins at the birch tree. As I know, this is the favorite place for the wild brown trout. How are the chances this time? Casting is a real challenge here, the water so narrow that you are likely to miss it with every second cast, and the birch branches in your back, eager to tangle your fly line. If I want to succed, I have to cast from a crawling position…..

Yes, I’m sure it is exactly here that I have to place my tiny elkhair caddis…… least I pretend to have seen the ring in the fast moving current. The cast is done, the fly sails smoothly upon the surface…and.

There it is! A beautiful, well fed, wild brownie….I was not mistaken, my favorite spot has not disappointed me. And once more I got the proof that in this tiny water the stealthy approach is more important then the choice of the fly pattern..

After the success right at the beginning of my fishing day, I have to remind myself to take it slow. I’m not here to catch fish after fish after fish – although, in this extremely productive water, I probably could. It pays to relax, take a break and enjoy the idyllic surroundings……

But then again – I’m here to fish! Only a few hundred meters further up the stream I am lucky to hook a feisty rainbow of around 50 cm. As usual, on the dry fly presented upstream. And yes, this water holds even much larger trout, as I have frequently seen.

After I have accomplished the ‘grand slam’ of grayling, brown trout and rainbow trout, I stop half way to the upper boundary of the stretch to take a short rest at the spring well…….the crystal clear, cool mountain water tastes excellent on this warm September day.

From the well, it is not far any more to the village, right after which the fishable stretch (or rather: the stretch where it is allowed to fish) of this stream ends. On the way, there’s this half kilometer of woods……home to elusive and heavy trout individuals. This time, I pass it, only taking a picture.

Entering the village, the atmosphere changes completely: no longer alone with the water, I frequently encounter passers by who can hardly believe that there is anything to be caught in this small water….but if you take a closer look from the elevated riverbank, you see them: huge brown and rainbow trout, almost impossible to catch in this crystal-clear, shallow water.

So, after numerous, as usual unsuccessful casts in the ‘village water’, I finally reach the upper end of the stretch, where another highlight waits for me: the good German food – Schweineschaufele with Kloesse and Kraut (impossible to translate) and a dark beer from one of the local breweries which still thrive in this region. While enjoying the well deserved meal, I can see the trout and grayling swaying in the current – the restaurant is located right at the waterside!

After such a meal I can hardly move – but the one or the other cast underneath one of the bridges, where trout usually love to hide, has to be attempted. This time, I go empty-handed here. So, maybe it is time to head back the two something kilometers downstream where my car is parked, after all, I have a long drive back waiting for me…

Heading back, the sun starting to set and painting the landscape in pink, I pass the spots that I have fished a couple of hours ago. The evening rises look tempting. But this time, I call it quits. After all, I’ve had the ‘grand slam’. I’m looking forward to repeating the ritual next year.

THE PLACE is located in the region of “Fraenkische Schweiz” close to Nürnberg in the southern part of Germany. The whole region along the valley of the Wiesent is teeming with chalk streams.

THE FISHING PERMIT The stretch described here starts at the town of Heiligenstadt, and ends some 2,5 km downstream at Traindorf. The fishing permit for 25 € per day can be obtained from Mr.Beachmann, the owner of the Restaurant and pension “Neumuehle”. Driving upstream along the Leinleiter, pass through Heiligenstadt and turn off right. You reach “Neumuehle” after some 500 m…
THE RESTAURANT Is the “Heiligenstaedter Hof”, right in the middle of Heiligenstadt, next to the stream.
THE EQUIPMENT As light as possible: #3, max. #4 line, rod not longer then 8 ft. Waders not necessary