Small Stream Fly Fishing – Kleiner Kamp

Last updated on January 9th, 2024.

Kristof Reuther
Latest posts by Kristof Reuther (see all)

Natural flowing waters have a magical attraction. Whether fast flowing or quietly rippling. Both make you calm in a special way.

You can just sit by the water and watch the trout and grayling rise. Hidden things come to light – they sharpen your senses.

Fly Fishing Small Streams - Driftwood
Small stream trout fishing: in the forest

The Kleiner Kamp in the Austrian Waldviertel is such a place. Over a stretch of only around 15 miles (about 25km) it often changes its character. In the end it unites with the Großer Kamp to form the Kamp and later flows into the Danube river.

Close to its source it’s a small forestry stream. Shortly after it turns into a slowly meandering stream flowing through lush meadows. Large boulders of the Bohemian Massif dominate the landscape. They make you feel even smaller in an environment that makes you look small anyways.

Fly Fishing Small Streams Aerial River View
Fly fishing small streams: a textbook natural habitat

A wild stock of brown trout, grayling and even burbot (Lota lota) characterize the Kleiner Kamp. They live in the cold water and the shade of the large rocks and are difficult for fly-fishers to outwit. 

The fish in Kleiner Kamp do not grow big. It’s a combination of several factors including food, population densities, water temperature, available habitat and many more. The fishing club “Die Bewirtschafter” manages this jewel on its full length. Fish between 8-10” (20-25cm) can be kept. In return this measure spares both the juvenile fish and the large, adult and egg-rich fish. In combination with a certain catch limit per fishermen, this promises sustainable fisheries management. 

Fly Fishing Small Streams Fish Underwater
Small stream trout fishing: releasing a juvenile fish

Any fish taken out of the system will have a natural successor. The maximum biomass growth is within that 8-12” (20-25cm) range. This makes this age group particularly suitable for catches. For more than 20 years no fish have been stocked in the Kleiner Kamp. There is no need for it thanks to a near-natural ecosystem status and a sustainable fisheries management.

Small Stream Fly Fishing

The brown trout and grayling at Kleiner Kamp naturally profit from a richly set table. In summer the meadows and fields provide many terrestrial insects such as grasshoppers. Underwater caddis flies are also available in abundance. Stoneflies and mayflies thrive magnificently. 

Small Stream Fly Fishing Grayling underwater
Fly fishing small streams: a wild grayling

The fly fisherman does well to bring small black and grey tungsten nymphs. The Hares Ear or Pheasant Tail are always good choices. As well as a selection of common small dry flies like the Elk Hair Caddis, Mosquito or Adams

Small stream fly fishing tungsten copper Hare's Ear black
A tungsten copper Hare’s Ear black – just clip the barb

A #2 – #4 rod and line are the means of choice on the Kleiner Kamp. The leader should not exceed 0.14 mm or 0.16 mm. As in many waters, it is important to fish without barbs in order to be able to safely and gently release fish that are either too small or too big.

Fly Fishing Small Streams Casting
Casting in a small forestry stream

The Mayfly Season

The mayfly season in particular can work wonders on the Kleiner Kamp. The sandy bottom stretches of this water are an ideal habitat for Ephemera danica, the large mayfly. After a few years at the bottom of the river, the larvae are ready for transformation into the adult insect. This includes a stage called “sub-imago”. At this stage the insect is not quite finished that sheds its skin again after a few minutes or days, usually overnight. Then even the biggest fish in the river get nervous – such a load of proteins is simply not to be missed. 

Small Stream Fly Fishing Meandering Water
The Kleiner Kamp meandering through the Austrian landscape

The fly fisherman can experience a special kind of fishing in such waters. The river often captures you in a way that you find yourself sitting on the bank with your rod set aside, simply watching the fish rise. Not rarely do you discover inconspicuous spots where fish are holding that you did not notice when wading by. You learn new things about the behavior of fish in their natural habitat. And you are confronted with an exciting challenge to outwit these clever fish. You dive into the ecosystem of the river and only wake up when the dry fly disappears in the mouth of the fish and you have set the hook.

Fly Fishing Small Streams Careful Approach
Small stream trout fishing – Kleiner Kamp in Austria

The Kleiner Kamp / Kamp is a Natura 2000 area and therefore enjoys a special protection status. For further information please visit Die Bewirtschafter. You can find a wide range of common flies and leader material at Isarfliegen.