The Global FlyFisher
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I was forced to spend week with my family in The Czech Republic. And when I write family I mean the whole family! My mother, her husband, my brothers, my mother’s husband’s children and their partners and so on. All-in-all 14 people. It was obvious, that a break, would be appreciated during this week, so I posted a message on the GFF Forum to see if anyone knew anything about fishing near Prague.
Jan Siman replied, and offered me to show me one of his favorite waters. An offer that I could not refuse.
If you do not get there by car, rent a car! It will be very close to impossible to get to the distant waters without. If possible, rent one with build in navigation. It is a luxury, but very helpful.
Of course a map is useful too, but the Czech people hardly speak any English and only a few speak German.
So asking for the right direction using a map, might be a confusing experience thinking of how people from the same country can confuse each other. Remember John Cleese – left! Right? No, left. Right?
Generally, the locals were very nice, treated us well, did not try to cheat us and were more than willing to communicate. Gesticulations, drawings, signs, everything got used – which often gave us all a laugh. It was wonderful!
Prague or Plzeň is good starting point. Maybe even south of Prague close to the German border. Of course, it depends on where you are fishing, how many days you may spend in Prague or other cultural cities.
Many streams run close to villages and towns so a long drive may not be necessary. During the weekend there were many local anglers fishing streams and rivers in the city. They were probably fishing for stocked rainbows, wild brown trout and grayling.
Carp fishing is also very popular. The most common method is of course traditional coarse fishing using boilies etc. but even fly-fishers fish for carp in the lakes and smaller ponds.
Chub is another fish gaining more and more popularity. For those who have never tried to catch a chub, I can only say: go for it!
Jan picked me up at our rented house early Thursday morning. We had never met, but a broadly smiling guy offered me his hand, and the fly-fishing network had gained yet another connection.
We drove almost three hours to get to a fantastic stretch of water running on the rim of a national park. Jan told me about the Czech Republic, the fishing, his business and the streams, ponds and fishing organizations.
We crossed the stream. Jan offered me to be in pole position as he had fished the stretch for more than 30 years. Nothing really happened and I only saw tiny fish making small rings when they took something microscopic.
“Have you seen all the fish?”
I heard Jan’s voice from behind.
“You have to get close to the bank!”
Up until this day I had been quite pleased with myself as a fly caster and considered myself as a - well, not skilled fly caster, but I could get around. My fly landed some 30 centimetres or about a foot from the bank and drifted shortly.
“No”, Jan said, “You have to fish close to the opposite bank. Not in the middle of the stream!”
You asked for it
I tried to look helpless and he showed me.
“You asked for it”, he said with a big grin, which is one of his characteristics.
His fly landed on the piece of grass closest to the water, fell on to the surface and drifted 3-4 meters before one of those micro fish sipped the fly and turned out to be a grayling just under 40 centimetres or 15 inches. It was a beautiful fish, more brightly coloured than I have ever seen.
Jan told me dos and don’ts as we fished downstream.
He fished quickly over the places, which could hold fish. If there were fish he gave it 10-15 casts to see how many there were.
I practiced my hook setting and missed a couple.
I had to change the fly every time a fish had been hitting on it with out being hooked.
So I changed fly a lot during the first hour, but Jan was a great teacher and soon I also caught some and then some more. The fish were holding in the backwater of the small riffles or close to the bank of the deepest curves.
We found two pools, which held many fish. Graylings, trouts and daisies stood fin-by-fin and sipped hatching midges and small mayflies.
I caught maybe ten and Jan probably caught five times as many!
I was impressed. It is not every day you get the chance to fish together with such a skilled man – but again, he had been on the Czech National Team for some years.
After a short break where we had lunch, beer, chocolate and a talk about why we fished we continued for the last hour of fishing.
It was getting colder. The fish became less active. The water was only 4 °C, and in the second last cast, a trout took the fly.
Again, very saturated colours. The next cast hooked a bush on the opposite bank.
That was the sign: It was time to stop for the day, a day that had ended far too soon.
As Jan drove me all the way to Prague C, I was already planning October next year.
Credit cards are used nearly everywhere. Euros (EUR, €) might get you around as well, but do not forget to bring Czech Kč currency (CZK). They work everywhere.
Fishing licenses can be bought at the local town hall. Do it the first day or even better, advice them in time, so they can prepare everything, before you get there.
You will have to buy a state license. It costs 200 CZK for a 3-year period. Besides that you also need a license for the water you will be fishing. Depending on whether you will be fishing for salmonide fish or non-salmonide, the price differs.
One day in a salmonid water costs 500 CZK, which is rather expensive especially compared to the common price level. A week costs 1600 CZK.
For non-salmonid waters the price will be respectively 450 CZK and 1400 CZK.
Remember to get the pamphlet “Fishing Regulation, Czech Fishing Union”.
There are plenty reasonable hostels and smaller hotels placed along the roads and cosier ones in the villages. Even on the countryside it is possible to find an oasis not far from the stream. It is possible to rent a whole house but also rooms as low as 10€ per night.
Food is very inexpensive. You will get a descent meal for 6-10€. Wine and beer is also cheap. Do not miss the good local beers or the more commercial ones from the bigger breweries. There are lots to choose from, and no disappointments.
A 7-9’ rod carrying a 3-4 weight line will be sufficient in most cases. If heavy nymphs are used, consider a 5-weight rod.
The leaders should be tapered and turn over nicely, offering you get the most control in your cast. I used 18’ leaders with a 7X tippet.
Nymphs size 12-18, pheasant tail, pink gold head, hares ear, caddis larvae.
Dries size 14-18, small mayflies, caddis, red tags, CDC-2-colored.
An indicator is useful when fishing nymphs. Use a yarn indicator as described by Steve Schweitzer or a dry fly.
If you are using heavier nymphs and the yarn indicator it seems to spook the fish, simply attach a brightly coloured piece of backing between the leader and the line. Grease it and you will have a wonderful indicator, which you will not have to remove when shifting back to dry.
The most interesting species is of course grayling, brown trout, brook trout, rainbow, but also chub, pike, and carp might be worth fishing.
Are you taking a break from fishing (if not, you should) spend some time in Plzeň (Pilzen) and Prague. Visit some of the churches, walk over Carl’s Bridge, visit the buildings of the government. Find a good restaurant and spend the evening in a black theater (not necessarily Laterna Magika).