Overnight Fly Fishing Trip into the Bernese Alps

Having finally finished this semester, I ventured on a long-awaited overnight fly fishing trip into the Bernese Alps.


The Anticipation

It was a sunny Sunday afternoon, when I finished my last assignment for my studies at university. My plan was to stay 4 days in the mountains and sleeping outdoors. Hastily, I packed all the essentials for an overnight camping trip: Tent, sleeping bag, mattress, some food, fishing gear, cooking utensils and hygiene stuff. I put everything into the saddle bags of my wheeled pony and drove to the closest train station. Three trains, one bus and a few hundred meters later, I was surrounded by the magnificent Swiss Alps.

Camping spot during my overnight fly fishing trip in the Bernese Alps
Camping spot during my overnight fly fishing trip in the Bernese Alps
Equipment used during the overnight fly fishing trip in the Swiss Alps
Equipment used during the overnight fly fishing trip in the Swiss Alps
Fly Fishing the Swiss Alps
Fly Fishing the Swiss Alps

The Scepticism

After having putting up the tent at the camping place, I could not wait any longer than reconnoiter the nearby stream. Given that I had never fished in this region before, I was very excited what the waters in this area had to offer. Are there any fish? How is the water level? Do I have the right flies? All these question arose during the travel to my destination and made me go crazy. Having had a chat with the bus driver, I overcame my second fear because he told me that the water is clear. However, the two other questions still nagged on me.

Looks quite sceptical too
Looks quite sceptical too
Intercultural Swiss mountain Chalet

The Disillusion

The small creek flows through the tiny mountain village where the camping was located. From there, I drove upstream by bike and instantly realised that I did not cycle in the mountains for some time. I was already exhausted within a few 100 meters that were actually not even that steep.
The view of the small creek did not motivate me either. I cannot tell what it actually was that made me feel pessimistic about this section of the river, but it did not convince me at all. Assumably, my scepticism originated by the unstructured way how the creek flowed. There was not much structure to show where fish might hold. The creek resembled rather one continuing riffle.

With mixed feelings about the creek, I returned to base camp 1 (and only).

Fly fishing the stunning Swiss Alps
Fly fishing the stunning Swiss Alps

 

 

The Re-orientation

At the camp I prepared dinner in 2 steps: cook the meat in the pot and eat it, then boil some water for the pasta and carrots in the same pot. After dinner, the owner of the camping arrived. We chatted about the wonderful surrounding and I paid the camping fees. To my question about the fishing, he replied that he has no up-to-date information on neither up- or downstream. Therefore, I agonized about going up or downstream the entire evening. Should I give it a shot upstream although it did not convince me or ought I rather spend the time in the unknown bends downstream? I only stopped worrying when I finally fell asleep.

I love the refreshing feeling when walking barefoot trough a meadow with morning dew
I love the refreshing feeling when walking barefoot trough a meadow with morning dew

Having slept very good, I woke up at 6 o’clock and had made up my mind: I go downstream. By bicycle I drove downhill along the river. Now and then, I made a halt to check out the river for its structure. The creek looked much more promising here. Deep pools with an intense blue colour – just magical.

I continued a few hundred meters further and started fishing. Due to the early time, I did not expect any hatching insects and started with an indicator nymph rig. Within the first hour there was no action at all. I did not even see spooked fish disappearing under stones. A feeling of insecurity arouse. Is it the right fly? Am I too early in the season? Are there even fish? These nagging questions persisted for a while.

Showdown

The confined spaces at such creeks is a big issue that should not be neglected. Mountain streams tend to run in tight spaces that are covered with branches and leaves which magically attract flies like a magnet. Walking around the next bend of the creek, I caught sight of a larger pool. The scene almost looked surreal in this enchanted setting. The ice blue colour of the stream contrasted the light grey boulder. The little dam at the top of the pool built a tiny cascade. The ripple of the small waterfall seemed to sooth my soul. Entirely forgetting about my worries, I made a cast into the pool where the first sun rays of the day met the blue pool. The gentle cast was rewarded by a intense strike of a tiny trout that was immediately released.

The ripple of the small waterfall seemed to sooth my soul.

One of those magical places that take your breath away.
One of those magical places that take your breath away
Small trout caught in the magical pool
Small trout caught in the magical pool
The nymph I mainly used while fly fishing for trout on the Taimen DRX #4 8'6'' rod
Gear and nymph used.

Improvements

From this point onwards the fishing got better. I caught now and then a beautifully coloured trout on the nymph but messed up a take of the dry fly. When I reached the pool that had convinced me to stop my downhill ride, I finished  fishing at this section of the river and drove further.

Stunningly beautiful pattern of a brown trout
Brown trout from the overnight fly fishing trip into the Bernese Alps in Switzerland
Bugger.

Another small creek happened to be nearby that I wanted to have a look at. No sooner said than done. Given that the ride uphill was very exhausting, I postponed further head water explorations of the new stream to another day. Thus, I went back to the first river to explore some more stretches.

In the lower parts of the creek it gets wider. This makes it easier to cast with a fly rod but actually I had the impression that the trout stock were lower than in the upper parts. Then my journey took me down to the village in the valley where I boarded the bus that brought me back to the camping.

A careful approach is key
Pool after pool: The view at the lower parts of the creek
Pool after pool: The view at the lower parts of the creek
Amazingly coloured fish from the lower parts of the creek
Amazingly coloured fish from the lower parts of the creek

Changes

As I had done the previous evening, I loved to just lie outside of my tent and relax. I listened to the sounds of the alps with cow bells, chirping hoppers, bleating goats, singing birds and the endless ripple of another small creek nearby. This is my meditation that was much needed after an eventful semester at university.

After dinner, I checked the weather forecast. My initial fishing plan was abandoned by the fact that the following day some heavy thunderstorms were expected. Not risking anything, I shortened my alpine fishing trip due to the severe weather predictions. Nevertheless, I enjoyed a wonderful time in a beautiful surrounding and packed my stuff the following morning. Once more, I drove down along the creek and all the places that rekindled fond memories of the previous day.


Fails during this overnight fly fishing trip

– snail in tent during second night because I forget to close the tent properly

– allergic reaction to pollen

– run out of gas the last morning #ilovecoldporridge

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