Late last week a cold front arrived to the Czech Republic. Relatively speaking warm and sunny days with clear skies were replaced by cold, mist and light drizzle - in other words prime grayling weather. With a group of like minded individuals I headed south to the German borders, where some of the best grayling fishing in the Czech lands can be had on the Vltava river.
From the look of the countryside it was obvious that the summer was a distant memory by now and winter will be soon making itself felt. The river was about 6°C cold and gin clear, with the water levels having only recently receded from rains.
The river seemed still on the surface, although some sport could be had by short nymphing - this was however not the reason why we came to the place. Shortly after noon a trickle of smallish olive duns started to float down the river, with Mr. Grayling soon taking notice of them - the dry fly time had finally arrived!
The grayling proved to be very finicky eaters, and could be tempted only on the very smallest imitations - #18 and #20 mayflies with body of heron or Eagle Owl feather and CDC wing. In addition our quarry were extremely sensitive to drag. We understood that perfectly, but watching for drag of a size 20 fly put some strain on our eyes - luckily for us the grayling were not spooky and allowed us to cast from quite short distance.
On early Sunday afternoon I discovered this place - a dry fly fisherman wet dream. The half sunk log served as a barrier of sorts, funneling all flotsam from half a river width to single stream, no more than 20 centimeters wide. In this bubble lane, clearly visible on my photograph, a couple of sizable grayling were rising nonchalantly.
The fish were not spooky and allowed me to get close and observe. They were not stupid either though, and firmly refused any fly that shoved even slightly unnatural drift. Any instance of drag was met by a swift and utter refusal of my imitation. Getting the drift correct in all the conflicting currents was a tough nut that I spent almost an hour trying to crack. At the end I finally succeeded and was rewarded by a lovely colored grayling, my biggest for the whole trip.
The fly that made my success possible was size 20 Výrovka fly, made from the herl of the Eagle Owl feather.