• Alabaster white stones and emerald-green water
  • Trap used in the 1. World War
  • Hundreds of pools
  • Memorial in Kobarid

First World War History Excursion

Last June, I have been on a history excursion with a seminar of the University of Bern. We visited remnants of the First World War in the Alps of Switzerland, Italy, Austria and Slovenia. However, the alps offer not only sights of historical importance, but heaps of splendid fly fishing opportunities too.

This story is a summary of my posts I published on Facebook. I would highly appreciate if you like my page here. Therefore, it is a bit fragmented. Yet, more precise information is provided as well as further images. Enjoy!

30 of June 2016 – Bozen, Italy

Being on a history excursion to explore the remnants of the First World War in the Alps between Italy and Austria, I could not resist to take my fly fishing gear with me. Unfortunately, the law around Bozen to fish is pretty complicated. You need to buy first a general fishing licence for 10 years, which somehow consists of 2 documents which cost in total €26. Additionally, one has to buy the license for an area of a river, depending on the area about €25. Furthermore, due to my immobility without a car, I can only fish the Talferbach in the city.

This didn’t convince me. However, a quick visit to the fishing shop Fischer KG proved very useful and interesting. Small but well equipped the shop offers all you need to go fly fishing here.

5th of July 2016 – Kötschach-Mauthen, Austria

Having been unable to go fly fishing in Bozen due to my immobility, I was looking forward to the next destination of the history excursion I’m currently attending.

After Bozen IT, we drove to Kötschach Mauthen AU and made stops at the lake Karrer and other 1. World War remnants such as at the Mt. Lagazuoi. However, fly fishing was on my mind. Arriving quite early in the Gailtal, I was curious about the rivers there. As huge as my excitement, as large was my disappointment when I saw the Gail river. Unbelievable Murky. Owing to a thunderstorm and smelt the river was unfishable. After a short chat with the receptionist, I realised it’s not even worth buying a license (€66) for the following morning, because we had to leave at 8 am and the weather forecast was just awful.

Thus, my second place where I planned to go fly fishing during the history excursion miserably failed.

4th of July 2016 – Kobarid, Slovenia

Due to the previous happenings in Bozen IT and Kötschach-Mauthen AU, I was sceptical whether my decision to take fly fishing gear with me on the history excursion was right or wrong.
It was early afternoon, when I decided to give my guide from Soca Fly a call. Having previously informed them about the unpredictable time of arrival because of traffic and the itinerary of the excursion, I was glad that Soca Fly was very flexible. The following three hours of driving and visiting more remnants of the First World War were a torture because every other monument which we visited, delayed my guided time which costs €90 for a half day.

As we finally arrived in Kobarid , I just jumped out of the bus and into the car of my guide. His name was Blaž (say: plaash). Another €60 were due for the license and I earned an astonished look from the receptionist that I wanted the license for the very same day, although it was already 18:30.

[…] my mind was blown away by the beauty of the backcountry of Slovenia.

At 19:00 my mind was blown away by the beauty of the backcountry of Slovenia. I found myself standing in an emerald-green, gin clear river which flows in a gorge which is up to 100 metres tall. The lush green surrounding reminded me of New Zealand and when I told Blaze about the resemblance he replied that everyone who had been there makes this comparison. I laughed.

[…] standing on the alabaster white stone, casting for these elusive marble trout […]

While standing on the alabaster white stone, casting for these elusive marble trout, which is an endemic species, I realised once more, how amazing the places are that trout inhabit. There’s a truth in the saying that fly fishing is not about the fish, but rather about exploring the stunning places where they live in.

However, it was only at the second pool that an aggressive splash made my dry fly disappear. Seconds later the fish released itself earlier than I wanted to. The excitement was huge and the comment from Blaž that it was my target fish – the marble – didn’t help to stay calm at all either.
Nevertheless, I managed to land the next fish who bit as well on the dry and after a quick look at the fish I realised: it was a marble.
Although the marble could have been larger, it was absolutely impossible to get any better.

The marble trout from Slovenia caught on a History excursion
The marble trout from Slovenia

Summary of the Fly Fishing History Excursion

The history excursion was marvelous. We visited sights I probably would have never seen otherwise. Moreover, having a whole bunch of history students around provides a lot of interesting talks. However, I was not able to fish as much as I had liked to. But that’s almost every day the case. Still, I made it.

Being happy about catching a marble trout is a huge understatement! I was totally over the top – just pure fly fishing awesomeness.

Have you been fly fishing in this region too? How was your experience?

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