The memory of the summer is fading fast, and the hot and sunny days of June are replaced by haunting October mists, with an occasional drizzle thrown in. In other words the Grayling season is now at its best.
At this time of the year I always travel to Šumava mountains, close to the Bavarian border. The river Vltava, which later on flows through Prague and is considered by many as being the national Czech river, is over there yet a little stream, a little more than knee deep.
The river supports a healthy population of Grayling, and due to vagaries of the 20th century history has genuine wilderness feel. The surrounding lands were inhabited by ethnic Germans, who were expulsed at the end of the second War and never resettled during the communist times.
I was lucky to pick a spell of clear(ish) weather in between the autumn rains, and the river was gin clear, with the abundant weeds clearly showing. The part of the river I was fishing is relatively high - some 750 meters above sea level - but the river has already left the highest parts of the mountains and entered a high plateau, on which it gently meanders in stately flow.
The weed beds are the main reason for the excellent health of the local Grayling population. For they support a variety of insects - mainly smallish mayflies and stoneflies - that hatch thorough the whole year.
The best fishing was about to be had in the slower riffles and heads of the pools. The river temperature was dropping, but the fish have not yet left the fast water to concentrate in the depths of the pools. The dry fly was still the most rewarding method, but the fish have became a bit cautious and I had to be careful with both my fly patterns - avoiding big and flashy flies - but also with my presentation, for the slightest drag would prove fatal.
The best producing fly pattern was my Hare's Mask Emerger fly, tied on a #18 hook. But it was not a dogma cast in stone, the fish responded well to any drab mayfly imitation, as long as it was tied on a sufficiently small hook and presented without any drag.