Thursday, July 16, 2015

Midsummer Kamenice

I have acted as a host to my French friend Philippe & his charming wife on their visit to the Czech Republic. Besides guiding them to the usual tourist traps such as the Prague castle and the Jewish quarter we had some serious fun fishing. The deep canyon of Kamenice provided a welcome respite from the high summer heat.

Philippe - also called by those in the know the Heron of Palladuc - is one of the few fly fishermen who are able to turn their passion into a full time profession, and as result gets significantly more stream time than a humble accountant like me. I was glad to be able to learn a few of his tricks.

We set up for the day with me fishing the dry fly on a short classical rod and Phil fishing the nymph with a 10' 3 weight nymphing special. The character of the river - with alternating deep pools, more suited for nymph, and shallow riffles with an occasional rising fish - made the split easy and we were able to keep in touch, not getting under each other's feet.

Phil had the more success of the two of us, and while we did not see it necessary to keep an accurate tally of fish caught, must have ended the day somewhere around the 50 fish mark. He clearly demonstrated why the Yo-yo technique (an indicator dry fly approach, close to the New Zealand combo) is outlawed in competition fly fishing circles. It is so effective it borders on the criminal.

We caught a number of fish, both brown trout and grayling. And while only few of the fish passed the 30 centimeter mark - the character of the river being such that the theoretical maximum size of fish it can support is 40 centimeters, and those will be rare and few between - all the fish were native and in good condition. We did not encounter recently stocked fish, with not a single brook trout or a rainbow between the two of us.

On the dry fly front I had the most success with size #16 Redheaded Emerger, although I suspect that any caddis fly imitation in the general size and shape would perform as well. A large number of caddis were hatching during the day, and the fish did not seem to be too preocupied by the fly pattern - the stealthy approach (river was low and gin clear) and accurate presentation seemed to matter much more than the fly choice.