Delaying Trout Opening 2019

It has been 6 years since the last time trout opening was on a Saturday – be prepared and watch your step!


What’s so special about trout opening?

Depending on where you are in Switzerland, trout opening is on different dates. However, many Cantons open most of their waters on the 16th of March. Hence, it is a special day for many fly fishermen and so is it for me. Usually, this means I take a day off and finally am able to visit my friends down at the river. I mean both human and non-human friends, although I belief such a distinction is wrong. We are all animals.

Back to topic.

Brown trout in Switzerland are not only 1 species
Brown trout in Switzerland are not only 1 species

Given that trout opening is a highly anticipated date in the calendar of many anglers, it comes as no surprise that certain rivers get crowded quickly. This is the case even when the date falls within the week. Now imagine tomorrow. This lead me to formulate this short post on a few things to keep in mind.


Delaying Trout Opening

Watch your step

Last year, I wrote a post about preparation for trout opening. In the comment section, one reader pointed out to be careful when wading. Early in the season, there are still many spawning pits or redds in light gravel that offer protection for fry. Hence, anglers should refrain from standing into the water whenever possible. Otherwise, they might damage the offspring of our beloved salmonids.

Spawning ground (redds) of Trout. Image by Matthias Meyes - thanks.
Spawning ground (redds) of Trout. Image by Matthias Meyer – thanks.

Bear in mind, that this image by Matthias Meyer was taken in autumn. In spring, there will be algae on the gravel again. This makes it much more difficult to find them. Your best bet is to stay out of gravel whenever possible.


Fishing Club Oberhasli leading the way

I want to point out and congratulate the fishing club of the Haslital in the Bernese Highlands for their praiseworthy decision to postpone the opening day. In their waters, which are higher than 600 m and have predominantly salmonids, fishing season starts too early. Therefore, they orientated oneself in the history books of ancestors, who began fishing for trout only when the alders have sprouted at the corresponding water body. Furthermore, the harsh and dry summer last season requires from the anglers to protect fish to sustain a healthy fishery.

“Unsere Altvorderen hatten die Regel, dass erst mit der Forellenfischerei begonnen wird, wenn am entsprechenden Gewässer die Erlen im Grün stehen”

(Translation: “Our ancestors had the rule that trout fishing only started when the alders stood in the green at the corresponding waters”)

Oral history in Haslital

I think this is a ground-breaking decision, which hopefully many other clubs will follow. Kudos!

Here’s a short clip from Matthias Meyer on lake trout migration – stunning!

Insane water clarity

Limit Your Kill, don’t Kill your Limit

As I pointed out in the post about trout diversity in Switzerland, there are many sub-species found of the fario throughout Switzerland. Therefore, we should think outside of the box and be careful with every population by itself. Do not just rely on the fact there are enough trout in Switzerland to restock – these are genetically not always identical fish. Therefore, they are not adapted that well. Watch this video about the Urforelle (prehistoric trout). Additionally, some Cantons such as Argovia banned stocking fish all together, which I believe is a great idea, because there are many examples showing that stocked fish have unhealthy effects on the population.

Needless to say, under certain circumstances, you are allowed to release trout.

Waters in the area of Oberhasli on a bygone fishing trip
Waters in the area of Oberhasli on a bygone fishing trip

Decent Conduct with other Anglers

Recently, I have encountered many hostilities among anglers when fishing. I think this is very sad, because in the end our interests are the same. We all want a sustainable fishery and good times on the water. Just because we are not of the same opinion how to achieve this common goal, it does not legitimate to be disrespectful. Look at the fishing conduct in New Zealand and adapt it a little for our smaller waters in Switzerland. It would make a significant difference and we are stronger together.

– Only fish the river while hiking in respectively do not fish when hiking out

– Do not jump other angling parties

– in the unlucky event of meeting another angler talk with them and leave them some space for their fishing

Discussing the flies

Summary

All in all, I wish you a successful trout opening whenever it takes place. Bear in mind the spawning grounds, other anglers and the hot summer that our fishy friends have experienced last year. So that we can preserve our wonderful fishery for generations to come.

By the way, it seems as many rivers will be blown out due to the recent downpours, so stay dry and start a few weeks later.

Trout opening - this shot was actually taken at the Tongariro river in New Zealand
Trout opening – this shot was actually taken at the Tongariro river in New Zealand

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.