Fly Fishing the Canton Glarus

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This summer André and I went fly fishing the Canton Glarus, which offers great opportunities for fishing explorations in stunning alpine scenery.


Information about fly fishing the canton Glarus in Switzerland

We purchased the license for the canton Glarus at the “Glarnerland” road stop. If you travel from Zurich on the highway you will automatically come across this place. For more information on places where you can get the fishing license click here. The license currently costs CHF 30.- per day and allows you to fish in many waters. Here is a water map of the Canton Glarus. Moreover, there is the Klöntalersee where everyone is allowed to fish from the banks with one hook. No license needed but make sure you comply with all regulations! However, of particular interest to us was a small mountain creek nestled in between the mountains.

Given that these places are rather remote in terms of Swiss conditions, one usually has to hike a fair bit to reach them. So did we. After parking the car where the road ended, we packed our gear and started our hike. The path lead us over the lower parts of the river and then dramatically increased in steepness. After ascending about 700 meters in altitude, we reached the height where the water of the creek plummeted over the abyss of the plateau. It is a spectacular sight that catches one’s eye.

Having arrived at the top of the plateau, we put our rods together and hid our backpacks in the woods. The water was gin clear and the meadow lush green. Our spirits were high and we could not wait no longer to wet our dries.

Fly fishing the canton Glarus in one of its gorgeous high plateau
Fly fishing the canton Glarus in one of its gorgeous high plateau

The Fishing

The river slowly meandered in wide loops through the plain. Even tough making a perfect habitat for trout, we walked a bit further away from the hiking path to leave all hikers behind. At one point, we came by a sunken tree log that lay in the bend of a curve. I said to André that there must be trout in there and how I had seen 50+ fish in New Zealand in similar places. The rest of the walk along the river I day dreamed of having such fish in our home waters in Switzerland. When the creek was further away from the path, we started fishing. It was in the second run, where André hooked into a gorgeous brown trout that took the dry. The red dotted fish in front of the white and red gavel bottom of the creek looked surreal.

André with the first fish of the trip sipping a dry while fly fishing the canton Glarus in Switzerland
André with the first fish of the trip sipping a dry while fly fishing the canton Glarus in Switzerland

Being motivated by this early catch, we continued our journey upstream. However, the rest of the day the fishing was pretty slow. Although we changed the rig several times from nymphs to dry-dropper and back to dries. The success failed to materialize.

Why do you go fishing?

Nevertheless, the solitude we found surrounded by immensely huge boulder climbing from one beautiful pool to the other made us forget our worries of everyday life. Yet, we wondered why we did not catch more than one or two fish. We should soon find out.

By drone we had a look at what lies behind the waterfall and decided to climb it
By drone we had a look at what lies behind the waterfall and decided to climb it
Get bent! André hooking into another fish between the large boulders.
Get bent! André hooking into another fish between the large boulders.

The creek became more difficult to follow due to larger waterfalls. We were both sure that this pool that was created by the cascade must hold a trout. Therefore, we made an even more careful approach with long leaders and even longer casts. We then went around another huge boulder to be able to cast from a different angle. On the way around the corner I found once more some footsteps but did not think any further about it becauseafter the very first cast the dry disappeared. Thanks to André jumping into the ice-cold waist deep water we netted the fish together with ease.

Lovely fish from the waterfall pool while fly fishing the canton Glarus in Switzerland
Lovely fish from the waterfall pool while fly fishing the canton Glarus in Switzerland
The waterfall.
The waterfall.

Drone Fly Fishing

Owing to the fact that it was late afternoon, we were unsure whether it is worth climbing another waterfall. This was the moment where the drone came in handy. The drone gave us a bird’s perspective on what lay ahead of us. It looked promising. Subsequently, we made the effort to climb the next waterfall and found us surrounded by a dozen bubbly cascades. The sound of the ripple with the awe-inspiring interplay of solid stones trying to withstand the everlasting force of water was mesmerizing.

The dozen bubbly cascades which ripple sounds mesmerized us.
The dozen bubbly cascades which ripple mesmerized us.

Yet, the fishing did not improve in the way that we only lost one valid fish in the depths of a pool.

With kind of mixed feelings we returned to downstream. We began to fish the first part with its slow flowing bends. Minutes later, two other fishermen came down the same way we did. Now it was clear that we had fished just behind them. Shit happens.

The Problem with Fishing in Switzerland

I had a short talk with the two blokes that had fished in front of us. He complained that he only had caught one trout that had the size limit – and killed it. Probably this is why there are no larger fish? I thought to myself.

Crystal clear water and a lush meadow
Crystal clear water and a lush meadow

Nonetheless, I continued fishing the lower parts we skipped in the morning. Arriving at the place that made me day dreaming about New Zealand, I observed a tiny rise. I sneaked up on the trout and casted the long leader with a tiny parachute fly about one meter in front of the rise. Viciously, the fish went airborne and a short drill later we netted the last fish of the trip. There’s nothing more exciting than sight fishing.


Any questions about fly fishing the canton Glarus? Do you go fishing for the scenery or the catch?

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