Fly Fishing Austria: Autumn at the Loisach

Fly fishing in Austria is an excellent choice. Wild rivers in between majestic mountains. A feast for the eye, especially in autumn.

Fly Fishing Austria

When it comes to fly fishing, the small alpine country of Austria has a lot to offer. Its bigger rivers in Styria are famous for the chance of catching a Hucho Hucho, a big salmonid closely related to the Hucho Taimen found in Mongolia and Russia.

The first thing that comes to mind when thinking about fly fishing in Austria however, are small alpine creeks surrounded by majestic mountains. Such is the case in Northern Tyrolia, in the so-called Zugspitz-Arena comprised of the small towns of Ehrwald and Lermoos.

Fly fishing Austria: Big mountains surround the valley of Lermoos

The Source of the Loisach

This is where the river Loisach has its source. It ends up joining the famous river Isar that flows through Munich, Germany, 70 miles further on. Here in the Zugspitz-Arena the Loisach still is a nice little creek that meanders through meadows before it picks up pace on its way to Garmisch-Partenkirchen.

At the end of October the entire area is a beautiful spectacle of nature as the season turns from fall to winter. The surrounding mountains that reach close to 10,000 feat (3,000m) are snow capped already. The trees turn yellow and brown and form a breathtaking contrast to the white mountain caps and blue autumn skies.

Fly fishing Austria: Headwaters of the river Loisach in fall
Fall ambiance at the river Loisach in Lermoos, Austria

Fly fishing in Austria in Autumn

The water of the Loisach is cold and very clear which makes fishing challenging. The fish most often can see you before you see them. It is imperative to carefully move along the bank and look for cover whenever possible. The falling leafs make that endeavour more difficult.

On the other hand the fish know that winter is coming and try to put on some reserves for the colder months. We started fishing at the upper stretch where the Loisach flows through meadows and picks up water from a number of small creeks.

Netted rainbow trout caught in the Loisach, Austria

The fish we caught were beautifully colored and had apparently fed well during summer. They preferably took small green tungsten nymphs. A #5 rod and reel are easily enough on such creeks, #3 and #4 work as well.

In the upper stretch the majority of the fish we caught were rainbow trout. Although you could see a number of brown trout they were not interested in our flies. The fish ranged from about 10″ (25cm) to really strong fish of about 20″ (50cm). Considering the size of the river at this stretch these fish are very big.

Autumn at the River Loisach, Austria
Autumn at the River Loisach, Austria

A River with Different Characters

After lunch we chose another spot that had a completely different character. Where the Loisach leaves the plain of Ehrwald it turns into a fast flowing little river that tumbles over big rocks. When the valley opens up again a little the Loisach flows through forests and grows in size as several small creeks join the river from the surrounding mountains.

Fly fishing Austria: Beautiful stretch of the Loisach

Here the fish are much harder to spot and catch since the water flows really fast. You have to “decipher” the pockets where the fish hold and make precise casts to have a chance to hook into a trout.

A rainbow trout caught in the river Loisach in Austria
Another, smaller rainbow trout caught while fly fishing Austria

The days are getting shorter in autumn and hence we had to choose our last stretch of the day. We picked the lower part of the beat all the way down where Austria meets Germany. Here the Loisach changes in character a bit yet again.

Lower stretch of the River Loisach in Austria
Lower stretch of the river Loisach close to the German border

Less Action when the Sun Leaves

The valley opens up again and the river has more room to expand. This means faster current and less pockets for fish to hold. Hence this stretch was the most difficult one to catch fish in. As the sun was setting the activity of the insects decreased as well. It seemed that as soon as the sun left the valley the fish refrained from taking any flies.

Fly Fishing Austria at the River Loisach
Late afternoon fly fishing in Austria at the river Loisach

After the sun was gone we retreated to the hotel Mohr Life Resort that owns the fishing rights on the upper Loisach and a number of other waters in the area. It’s a modern wellness lifestyle hotel with fantastic vistas on the Zugspitz range.

Get in touch with them if you want to fish the Loisach. It’s a place definitely worth staying for a few days.

More info here: Mohr Life Resort