Do I have an offroad car? No… “Alright, then we’ll take mine”, says Patrick on the phone. A few hours later, we are sitting in his car, crawling along a narrow path on a steep hillside towards the Wutach Gorge.
The name of the river below, “Wutach” means “angry waters”…. a few kilometres upstream, the same river meandering through meadows, carries the name “Gutach”, meaning “good/calm waters”, and as we are driving along, I understand why: Here the river has dug a deep gorge into the bedrock of the Black Forest, and all rain rushes down the steep slopes to concentrate the water in a narrow line – the river Wutach. A thunderstorm can quickly unleash this force of nature, no stone will be left where it was before. Better not be here in bad weather!
But today, the water flows gently over the gravel bed of the gorge. The water, although clear, has a tea-brown color which is typical for many rivers in the Black Forest. Tall firs, several centuries old and decorated with lichen, are covering the slopes. Every fallen tree stays where the storm or the beaver has felled it. The impact of humans is hardly to been seen here, it is a rough wilderness. Hardly any paths lead here – no surprise the lynx still thrives in this forest… the Wutach Gorge is a small gem of natural wilderness within our densly populated Southern Germany.
My buddy Patrick starts directly with the dry fly, but because I do not see any activity on the surface, I tie on a nymph at first. The fishing here feels a little unfamiliar at first – a relatively small stream, which you have to wade because casting from the bank is hardly possible (mostly there is no bank). The pools can be pretty deep and dark, no fish is to be seen, but as I soon learn: You can rise them on a dry fly! I do catch a trout here and there, but Patrick is sure more successful with his dry fly I have to admit… the brown trouts are beautifully colored: a dark deep bronze with big red and black dots, the native trout of the Black Forest! As the evening approaches, various kinds of big and small mayflies begin to hatch, and I switch to dry fly as well.
In the course of the evening, fishing becomes better and better… and in the last light of day, almost every cast into the eddies and pocket waters behind rocks is immediately answered by a BLOB and a swirl… Only a fraction of the fish get hooked, but it is an extremly exciting, yet challenging kind of fishing.
We do not catch any particularly big fish on that day, but the landscape, and the beauty of the wild browns make it a day worth remembering! Many thanks to my buddy Patrick for showing me this stretch of water!