When you admit you often go fishing the reaction is normally similar: surprise and a condescending smile, as if really every method of fishing was identical and could be reduced to growing a beer muscle while patiently waiting for some poor little fish to become interested in these terrible stinking worms that we always hang at the other end of our rods. I wonder how many of thus reacting people would have the courage and determination to visit one of those small bushy creeks lost somewhere in the Eislek to try to catch one of these beautiful trout or graylings. One thing is sure, they certainly won’t see what I can see there. i.e. (however it will sound) the nature in its all wild beauty within a very short distance from where they live.
A true fly-fisher must be versatile and quickly adapt to prevailing conditions. If the fish are not very active or hesitating one can for instance switch to shellfish, concretely crayfish:
In the small stream I fish now they are very numerous. Unfortunately, these are all invasive signal crayfish, they look nice but the seem to have completely swiped away the native species. I hope by harassing them regularly I’ll at least slow down their expansion 🙂
It seems they discovered a new fish species, the name given to it is really funny: Plectorhinchus caeruleonothus, deriving from ‘blue bastard’. Why? It is blue when adult and ‘a bastard to catch’ :). Here is one of the websites that describe how to deal with it with fly-fishing tackle. Wish there were some in the Stausee….. 😉
I undertook today’s fly-fishing trip with great hopes as the weather seemed to have finally stabilised, there was some rain lately and the sun was hidden behind the clouds, simply perfect. However, after 3 hours I had only one 25 cm trout and the fish I mostly saw were those pushy chubs. No, I’m not obsessed, they were everywhere, including another big shoal of around 20 fish behind which were shyly hiding two small trout. A disaster, in short. I started to return to my car going downstream and making some occasional casts. Then, suddenly, my fly got swallowed by a fish whose purple-edged dorsal fin made it clear: a grealing! It was a nice one and the fight was tough. I didn’t insist as I really wanted it to make it to my landing net. Unfortunately, after around 2 minutes it simply ‘spit out’ the fly! It was very sad, my biggest one so far simply flew down the stream…..Almost automatically I started casting again, hoping to catch one of his (even if smaller) colleagues. I don’t need to say how happy I was when after 4-5 casts my old friend took the fly again! The fish was already tired and I was even more determined so the compromise was achieved quite fast, it let itself to the landing net and I, from my side, didn’t bother him too long. So the photo is perhaps not ideal but I just wanted to make sure not to do any wrong to this delicate fish:
35 cm grayling will not sound very majestically for some (e.g. Scandinavian readers) but here it is already a nice fish and I’m very proud to be the one to caught it. I hope from now on the graylings will only visit more often my landing net.
I caught both fish today (trout + grayling) with the same fly:
This is for me what French fishermen call “sauve bredouille”, i.e. the last hope in difficult times, just like today.
In the latest – autumn issue of Pêche Mouche one of the authors inserted an article about fly-fishing for white fish. This is indeed an interesting alternative, in particular in months when both trout and greylings are protected (whole 3 long months in Luxembourg!). One of the fish mentioned is naturally the chub – it turns out that in the past many French fishers considered the chub to be in direct competition with the trout and killed every one hooked, leaving them on the bank (the meat is considered not to be very tasty). The author says their assumption about the chub competing with trout were false but, unfortunately, doesn’t present any arguments on which his own assumption was based. The issue is of particular interest to me as, especially this hot summer, I saw the whole lots of rivers completely dominated by the chub, with no sign of trout presence.
60 cm Alzette chub, how many little trout were in his stomach?
I do not pretend to be an ichthyologist but I consulted one and read some articles on the web: the early conclusion is following: the chub can be and often is a menace to trout population. Let me cite you just one article concerning Irish waters:
Chub, a popular coarse fishing species in Britain, has already wiped out native trout on one of the most popular trout fisheries in Co. Westmeath. The problem poses such a threat to other trout waterways that the Minister for the Marine, Noel Dempsey, will next month introduce emergency legislation to prevent the introduction of chubb to Irish trout waterways.“
Nice Sure trout, this one is rather safe from the voracious chubs
Yes, both species compete for the same food and habitat and it would be probably naive to think they don’t affect each other. With the difference that chubs are much more tolerant to unfavorable environmental conditions and can survive even in a very polluted and warm water. I saw myself many trout ‘hot spots’ occupied by big hoards of chubs ranging from 30 to 60+ cm. No trout could penetrate there.
“When chub and trout are side by side competing for habitat, the chub will always win”
The question is now, how to deal with this situation? I don’t support killing the unwanted fish (i.e. chubs), apart from it, they are simply too numerous. A good starting point would be a solid research project evaluating the potential threat posed by the chubs in Luxembourg and monitoring it’s influence on other species. This, however, is only a dream, as mentioned in an earlier post, here even the most basic data are kept secret and there is no sign it could change in the near future. If no effort at all was taken to deal with gobbies in Moselle, what to expect?