Fly Fishing the Swiss Alps guided by Firebelly

Recently I posted 4 parts about Fly Fishing the Swiss Alps guided by Firebelly on Facebook. Now here is the complete story with additional links and images.


A few weeks ago I found myself sitting in Innertkirchen, located close to Meiringen in Switzerland. What lead me to this small village was the alpine trip organised by Firebelly. Firebelly are 2 fly fishing lads who organise trips, various courses and in November the Orvis Fly Fishing Film Festival, which comes the very first time to Switzerland. This time, the aim was to experience fly fishing the Swiss Alps on a 2 days trip.Due to a early departure on Saturday, we met on Friday evening. The first night we slept at the Restaurant Urweider in Innertkirchen. Sascha Urweider, the cook, is an avid fly fisherman too and leases some waters we were going to fish.

When Oliver and Mark from Firebelly arrived, they instantly began fly tying while I was still correcting my bachelor thesis next to them. All of a sudden, 3 dudes, who I knew back from school, coincidentally walked by, close to the restaurant’s terrace. After having had a quick chat, they went to the train station. This serendipitous meeting reminded me of how small Switzerland is.

Some dudes I knew backfrom school and the guys from Firebelly
Some dudes I knew backfrom school and the guys from Firebelly
Mark from Firebelly tying a deer hair fly
Mark from Firebelly tying a deer hair fly
Firebelly - Mark and Oliver
Firebelly – Mark and Oliver

Shortly after the 2 other participants of the trip arrived. Peter is originally from Finland and Andrei from Rumania. Both are expats who work and live here in Switzerland. When I spoke to the former he told me about his camping experience back in Scandinavia and that for this trip he had plenty of space in his backpack for some luxury items.

While having a delicious burger for dinner at Restaurant Urweider, we talked about several fly fishing related topics and soon after, all of us went to bed relatively early. While lying in the comfortable double bed, I thought about the coming 2 days and I was eager to finally be fly fishing the Swiss Alps for my very first time.

Entrée at Restaurant Urweider
Entrée at Restaurant Urweider
2016-07-08 21.23.35
Main dish for dinner at Restaurant Urweider

The following day the five of us got up early in the morning and prepared for the departure to go fly fishing the Swiss Alps. We left Restaurant Urweider and headed by car to a valley. There, we started our hike, already surrounded by an impressive mountain ridge soaring into the blue sky. The morning sun rays gave the scenery a magical touch beyond words. However, this was only a foretaste of what we were going to experience.

Magical scenery in the morning
Magical scenery in the morning
Ready for departure to go fly fishing the Swiss Alps
Ready for departure to go fly fishing the Swiss Alps

We hiked the first 2 hours up and soon found ourselves beside a very promising looking river with large boulders and deep, blue pools. There, we split up in 2 groups so each one had plenty of space and began fly fishing this magnificent mountain stream. We fished Tenkara rods, which were supplied by Firebelly, as well as usual rods. The river was clear and after fishing dries, we switched to nymphs in a tandem rig. Neither resulted in success. So we kept moving until we reached a bridge where the hiking path crossed the river again. There, we took a break and ate our sandwiches which were made by Oliver.

First part of the hike
First part of the hike
Firebelly discussing the attempt to fish the first mountain creek
Firebelly discussing the attempt to fish the first mountain creek
Climbing down to the creek
Climbing down to the creek
Katadyn water filter
Katadyn water filter
Andrei and Oliver next to a promising looking pool
Andrei and Oliver next to a promising looking pool
Amazingly blue pools
Amazingly blue pools
Petteri casting with the tenkara rod
Petteri casting with the tenkara rod
Me with the Scott A4 and Sage 3200 reel
Me with the Scott A4 and Sage 3200 reel
Delicious sandwich made by Oliver
Delicious sandwich made by Oliver
Orvis-addicted Oliver
Orvis-addicted Oliver

After meeting the other part of our group, which also had no luck, we continued hiking – or should I rather say climbing partly to an alpine Lake? We always stayed on the hiking path, nevertheless the walk was quite strenuous and demanded a certain level of physical fitness,  but what did I expect if the aim was fly fishing the Swiss Alps?

Physical fitness is absolutely required
Physical fitness is absolutely required

We reached our destination after a few more sweaty hours. There, we stood in front of a large mountain lake with its particular ice blue, murky colour from the water of a glacier. Across the inlet of a river, there was a massive mountain wall, which stood nearly vertically to the even sandbank. On the other side, there was a mountain with less elevation, but which was covered with lush green scrub and several creeks plunging down in hundreds of cascades. The rewarding view after the strenuous hike was breathtaking.

Epic - fly fishing the Swiss Alps
Epic – fly fishing the Swiss Alps
Epic - fly fishing the Swiss Alps
Epic – fly fishing the Swiss Alps
Lush green vegetation with hundreds of cascades
Lush green vegetation with hundreds of cascades
Who told me the flies have to be small in high altitude?!
Who told me the flies have to be small in high altitude?!

After using a water filter to refill our water supplies, we started fly fishing the lake. Long story short, neither dries, nymphs or streamers did the job. Nonetheless, the guides kept the spirits high with sweets. It was only a quarter hour before departure to the hut when I found a rising fish. Unfortunately I did not manage to convince him for visit.

Casting a medium sinking line with a streamer
Casting a medium sinking line with a streamer

We finally left the lake to hike the last part of the second day to the SAC (=Swiss Alpine Club) hut. There we enjoyed a savoury dinner and then went outside to gaze at the remaining sun rays with which the day began – 15 hours earlier and 1,400 meters altitude difference before. There, we drank some luxury items until the night fell.

Last hiking part for the day
Last hiking part for the day
Enjoying the luxury items
Enjoying the luxury items
Enjoying the luxury items
Enjoying the luxury items

In the middle of the night I woke up. The urgent need to take a leak convinced me to climb down from my bunk bed. Wearing only a sweater and my undies, I went outside into the cold air to the beloved long drop. When I stepped out of the SAC hut, my breath was caught. In awe, I stared upon the sky, which was filled with thousands and thousands of stars. Unbelievable. (Unfortunately it was too cold to make a timelapse – given my clothes)

Thousands and thousands of stars
Thousands and thousands of stars

At 6 AM, breakfast was served. Nothing fancy, but what really caught my eye was that they even offered Ovomaltine (a Swiss chocolate milk powder) up in the SAC hut. I have to admit that I am addicted to this brown powder. What a great start of an even more fantastic day which lay ahead!

High altitude
High altitude

Right on time, when the first sun rays were drawn upon the summits, we left the hut and hiked to another mountain creek. Shortly after we arrived at the small mountain creek, which still lay in the shade of the mountains. Everything seemed calm in the area and no one would expect a fish in this little water beside us. However, appearances can be deceiving. Only minutes later the first small brookie was caught. We split up in groups once more and explored this magnificent water. It was not long until every participant hooked up with several brookies.

Although, their size seldom exceeded 25 cm, the beauty of those little fellows cannot be put into words. Furthermore, I was astonished that fish exist at 1,800 meters above sea level. Subsequently, the time during the brookies can feed is quite reduced to approximately 3 months when there is no snow. Thus, from this point of view, a fish of 25 cm length must be already seen as large.

Getting to the next waters
Getting to the next waters
Discussing likely brook trout spots
Discussing likely brook trout spots
Oliver and Andrei
Oliver and Andrei

 

Soon the sun was up and lit the colourful meadow wherein the creek plunged over its small gravel bed. Hundreds of pockets with depths reaching from centimetres to several feet offered splendid fly fishing opportunities. The previously calm looking place changed within seconds to a lively fly fishing heaven with a lot of insects. Dries and nymphs did both a great job, in particular high-vis green, yellow foam bugs were used on the surface.

The yellow foam bugs
The yellow foam bugs
Fly fishing the Swiss Alps
Fly fishing the Swiss Alps
Gorgeous little brookie caught while fly fishing the Swiss Alps
Gorgeous little brookie caught while fly fishing the Swiss Alps
High sticking
High sticking
No waders needed - but jumps
No waders needed – but jumps
Andrei with a brook trout
Andrei with a brook trout

Then we pushed further upwards and left the beaten path to find another fly fishing jewel in the Swiss Alps. A small mountain lake hidden between boulders. The water was gin clear and the fish rose eager. Before starting fly fishing, I took some footage of Andrei how he hooked up with several brookies.

Then it was my turn. It was extremely exciting to be finally successfully fly fishing in a lake. The first lake I have ever been fly fishing was a one month ago in Ireland. Whereas in the Lough Corrib in Ireland I caught nothing at all, here one fish bit after another until most of them began to hide in the shore vegetation.

Have you ever heard or seen a rising fish from the perspective of another fish?

Ein von Tom (@expeditom_oconnor) gepostetes Video am

Fly fishing this magnificent mountain lake
Fly fishing this magnificent mountain lake
Taking images and footage combined with fly fishing - love it
Taking images and footage combined with fly fishing – love it
Underwater image with the EWA-Marine case
Underwater image with the EWA-Marine case
Brook trout
Brook trout
P7100371
Relaxed fly fishing in the Swiss Alps
Eureka moment
Eureka moment

I asked our guides if I could go back down to the small creek again, because I still preferred fishing in flowing water. The guys from Firebelly were very flexible and Oliver agreed to come down with me once more. I fished several other promising looking spots and Oliver did a great job in capturing these memorable moments. The time went by way too fast and it was already time to head back.

Deep blue pool
Deep blue pool
Fish on!
Fish on!
Brook trout from the pool shown before
Brook trout from the pool shown before

One of those #memorable moments while #flyishing #cameradery #friendship #mateship#freundschaft

Ein von Tom (@expeditom_oconnor) gepostetes Video am

Fly fishing the Swiss Alps
Fly fishing the Swiss Alps
What a insanely gorgeous surrounding to fish
What a insanely gorgeous surrounding to fish
Hooked on another brook trout
Hooked on another brook trout

Summary Fly Fishing the Swiss Alps guided by Firebelly

The 2 day trip to go fly fishing the Swiss Alps guided by Firebelly is a great way to experience Switzerland. Not only did we fly fish some gorgeous waters, but we also explored the beauty of the Swiss Alps. Although, we did not catch a fish on the first day, the fly fishing action on the second day with numerous fish feeding on dries in a breathtaking scenery was more than worth it. As mentioned before, physical fitness is absolutely required.

In a nutshell, this fly fishing weekend with Firebelly was outstanding and I can fully recommend it to you if you want to experience fly fishing the Swiss Alps at its best. As written at the beginning, Firebelly organises the Orvis Fly Fishing Film Festival on the 5th of November in Freienstein-Teufen, Zurich. Furthermore, they guide another trip on the 16th to 18th of September. For more information check out their website.

 

  • Insta video
  • images finish

4 Responses

  1. […] It was organised by Oliver, one of the two lads from Firebelly. You might remember Oliver from the post about Fly Fishing the Swiss Alps. The entrance fee for adults was reasonable CHF 20.- and kids could join their parents for […]

  2. […] You may recognise Petteri from pictures on my Facebook page. We’ve been already together on the Alpine Trip guided by Firebelly. The reason why I had gone there, was to go fly fishing in the Canton of […]

  3. […] adventures abroad, I focused more on exploring waters at home thoroughly. I explored waters of the Swiss alps with Firebelly, joined Petteri for fishing in the Canton Vaud, visited my mate Claudio in Canton Schwyz and […]

  4. […] to fish in all 23 cantons at least once. So far, I have fished in 5 cantons yet. These are: Schwyz, Bern, Solothurn, Jura and Vaud. Thus, there are plenty of more regions to explore which are listed […]

Leave a Reply