Fly Fishing in Austria 2
While we’ve been singing the praises of fly fishing in Austria, there is something perhaps we should mention: the problem with birds. Over the last 20 years the country’s waters have been harmed quite badly by cormorants. More recently, mergansers have also joined the fray. The bird population has exploded from around ten thousand to about 1.5 -2 billion. These birds virtually wiped out the grayling population of many of the rivers of Austria, Germany and Switzerland. Birds found these rivers to be an excellent food supply during their winter stay, especially when lakes froze.
One angler reported that he saw a flock of around 80 cormorants on the water killing and eating scores of graylings. The angler scared the birds away, leaving dead, badly hurt and hardly touched grayling. Some were laying in deep holes, conserving energy to survive the winter. But for those fish the sudden stress was too much and they died anyway.
The European Union has since removed cormorants from the list of completely protected birds. Thousands of them birds are shot every year in Europe and the grayling population has gradually been recovering. However, the merganser population continues to cause problems.
Nevertheless, there are ample opportunities for wonderful fly fishing in Austria - but be sure to get local advice before tackling the waters that may take your fancy.