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Following the winding road away from the lowlands and up through meadows into the forested slopes of the Krušné hory (Ore Mountains) in Western Bohemia, we were but a few miles from the German border as we sought fishable waters in this quiet corner of the Czech Republic.
Following the winding road away from the lowlands and up through meadows into the forested slopes of the Krušné hory (Ore Mountains) in Western Bohemia, we were but a few miles from the German border as we sought fishable waters in this quiet corner of the Czech Republic. We were high in the watershed of the River Rolava, washed out of fishing further downstream thanks to days of constant rain.
Local guide and British ex-patriot, Tim Baldwin, assured me that he knew a location high up on the mountain that even if not immediately fishable, would have plenty of play as soon as the weather broke and the water started to drop. As far as I was concerned, I had come to fish no matter the weather, so on we went!
During my previous visit to the Czech Republic, I’d fished for wild brown trout and grayling in beautiful streams lower down in the mountains, but the goal of this first day’s outing was a U.S. import - brook trout!
The first time I’d fished in the Czech Republic, the weather was cold and dry, but we still caught some beautifully-colored grayling that had tints matching the autumn colors in their dorsal fins – absolutely magnificent! On one stretch of the upper Teplá, we fished alongside an old blacksmith’s forge whose wood-smoke haze drifted along the river creating one of the most esoteric fishing scenes you could imagine. On that occasion, there were high water conditions and it was quite wet; still we caught plenty of wild fish. Brook trout, brown trout and grayling do indeed seem to be plentiful despite the fact that most of the locals catch to eat. Few fly-fish, however, so maybe this is the reason there is still much sport to be had as not all fish are willing to fall victim to spinners and worms.
When I arrived in Prague the previous day, Tim met me at the airport for the ride out to his base in the little spa town of Františkovy Lázne. It’s there he runs Czech Coarse & Fly Fishing, the only native English-speaking guide service in the country. Travelling west through the rolling countryside, we passed the fields of grain used to brew the famous local beers. Along the roadsides were stalls of freshly picked mushrooms straight from the mountains, as well as other vendors selling bottles of a pale brownish liquid that turned out to be a local favorite – a lightly-fermented grape juice. I was also surprised to see a variety of small, brightly-colored garden statuettes and gnomes selling like crazy, especially to the German tourists passing through.