Published Sep 9. 2013

Postcards from the Swiss Alps

Fly-fishing dreams, a thought about Eve and some postcards from the Swiss Alps

Nameless valley - On the hunt in a nameless little valley. Two hours hike and you're far away from the tourist crowds.
Accurate casts - Wild small water means short, but accurate casts.
Alpine impressions

It was a fascination for faraway places and exotic fish that turned my attention to this site almost ten years ago. It was seatrout, salmon and red-bellied char with gaudy flies in their mighty jaws. It was the call of silver and salt and the midnight sun.

Like a lot

of you fellow fly-fishing enthusiasts I was and still am daydreaming a lot about fishing trips or even better: expeditions. Let it be the coasts of the Baltic sea or even better beyond the polar circle or the equator - preferably to magnificent landscapes and unspoilt wilderness full of shimmering, fly eating predators. You probably recognize the pattern - or you are one lucky bastard living in just one of these places.

But why then

would you spend time reading other peoples fishing stories instead of doing your home waters justice and grace them with your casts? Most probably this originates from he most profound human flaw - pure and simple curiosity. That one little thing that our creator punished with canceling our membership in the famous Eden Club, where food, drinks and dolce vita were for free. Would have been free. Lifelong actually and without a fee, if you remember the story…

Not all are small - They are not all that small though and still quite beautiful.
Colorful - Alpine trout are rarely big, but often colorful and truly wild.
Well camouflaged - Wild trout – especially over bright gravel – are so well camouflaged, you often notice their shadows first.<br />
Inhaled - The Hare's Ear Parachute Nr. 10 got completely inhaled.
The fish
UFFOs - Big dark parachute dries are readily mistaken as UFFOs – unidentified floating food objects
Sedges - In most small streams sedge larvae are high on the menu.
The food

But our ancestors

chose the apple and thus the hard way. Struggling along this path we at least piled up quite an impressive heap of achievements including pyramids, parachute flies and barbless hooks. But we still suffer a lot for not being content with what's just there and given. It's that nasty bug in the back of our great little brains. Do you still get excited, when you think about your home waters? Guess what: I do! But then, I am 44 now and my testosterone levels might be involved.

Quite beautiful - Did I mention? It's quite beautiful to fish these little streams.
Blending in - If you're doing it right you start to blend into the landscape and become a part of it.
The environment

However I reached

this new state of mind. I'm starting to discover the appeal of my home waters. I realize how special and exotic they might be for someone not living here. Some of you will recognize that pattern too, I guess.
In earlier years I often thought I got sort of swapped at the hospital and then massively misplaced far away from the seas, the horizons and all those splendid ocean fish.

More and more

I find my peace and accept my roots as a fly-fisherman here - and not on a bonefish flat in Belize. This "here" is the alpine foothills of eastern Switzerland. It is true, millions of tourists visit those mountain valleys, the deep blue lakes and the picture book villages. But very rarely do they ask or even think about fishing. So I grew up with the image of living in a non-angling part of the globe. But that's not true. I even regard it as a privilege now to live here with the mountain wilderness literally beginning a good cast from my backdoor.

After two or

three hours hiking uphill I can sneak into untouched valleys and fish small mountain streams full of wild brown trout. Of course they won't break your rod with their weight, but some well proportioned alpine beauties have come close to breaking my heart when they turned down my seduction skills. Of course you cannot trust a stranger from a country formerly not known for any form of renowned fly-fishing water.

Alpine caddis - This nice Hi-Vis CdC-Caddis is a bit too elaborate for the business. Because you'll lose it most probably sooner than later to the ever hungry streamside vegetation, sunken wood or wedged between rocks.
Basic ingredients - The basic ingredients for fly-fishing wild alpine streams. A fine 4 rod, a well greased floating line and highly visible, reliably floating bugs.
The gear

I'll start with

some impressions from my alpine home waters featuring trout and lonely fishermen in Swiss drinking quality waters. And if there's some signs of interest or compassion (OK, he's 44 and needs some midlife crisis distraction. Let him write then…)
I'll be glad to take you on a tour to the widely unknown fly-fishing in the heart of the Alps. And maybe that's going to be a daydreaming issue for some of you out there.

Lake trout - The hunt for these elusive predators that resemble seatrout in many ways is a whole different story – especially with the fly-rod.
Big, cold lakes - Those hundreds of small streams eventually feed big cold lakes. In their depths the trout grow to stunning proportions.
Water everywhere - There's water everywhere in the Alps.
Larger streams - Wild streams are also "available" in bigger sizes.
The water

I wish you

all tight lines, not tight schedules.

Daniel Luther

Crystal clear water and pretty wild trout - Could that be your thing? Crystal clear water and pretty wild trout.
Powerful fighters on light tackle - In the cool and highly oxygenated water even smaller are powerful fighters on light tackle.
The clarity
The author - The author in his natural habitat.
The author


I visited the Swiss Alps back in '72, while in the Army serving in Germany, and, though not a trout fisherman at the time, I was truly amazed at the abundance and the size of the trout in the streams there; I thought that it surely must be a fisherman's paradise. However, I never saw any anglers in the streams that I hiked along, just LOTS of trout, amazing quatities of trout. So, I figured that fishing must be illlgal in those streams, some of which ran right alongside the paved roads I used for sightseeing purposes. Some of the deeper holes had fish in them that looked to be in the 21/2-3lb range; one deeper hole in particular was so small in diameter that the fish seemed to be bumping into each other while jostling for a safer position as their gazes met with mine. Unfortunately I didn't have a camera at the time, but the mental images will last a lifetime.

Fantastic photos and article! A place to go!

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