Down the Warnow.
Last summer we got together with the guys from WALDEN Magazine to explore one of the most beautiful and largely natural river landscapes in Northern Germany – the Warnow (theme flyfishing in issue 2/2016). The following is our small travel report and information about the river:
Four figures sit relaxed in the shade of a willow as our car rolls over the crunching gravel path on the banks of the Warnow. One of them is wearing a huge sombrero and tinkering around with the lens of his camera, the others are sitting in the shadow of their camper. If it isn’t the guys from WALDEN!
Following the Track of a River
The welcome is accompanied by the pleasant tension of the uncertainty in the air. After a short equipment check, we remain on land and figure out who will be in which boat and how we will divide the route. We’ll take the rest as it comes. Harald inquires which fish are biting, if they are biting at all. A legitimate question, since two weeks prior there was no sign of the chub which we are setting our sights on here today. After everything is stored on board and Matthias’ fly rod — which he fetched from the attic fittingly for the occasion — is ready for use, we start off downstream with the caravan of the three Canadians.
In sunny weather we see the first big fish in the crystal clear water, the excitement rises! Matthias calls out: “That fallen tree trunk in the water is the ideal spot … check out if there is something there.” We make our first casts into shallow water where the plants bend lithely with the flow. Malte is steadying his camera. Suddenly a chub shoots out of the cover, snatches the mayfly, and shows how spectacular a round can be with the likes of this fish. I must admit that this specimen was not really the biggest, but it had a very relaxing effect on us and the further course of the tour.
At the next big meadow we take a break to goad the guys from WALDEN into taking a fly rod and giving it a try. Of course, they’re all natural talents … that much is self-evident! In the shade of the opposite riverbank the occasional fish let’s itself get caught during the beginners course.
Harald suggests having a small picnic at the next opportunity. His picnic basket delivers what he promises. Italian country bread and various salami and cheese varieties appear. Add a cool beer and the day belongs to us!
We propose to build the camp in a small woodland nearby. In the late afternoon hours we pass by sheep pastures and beaver dens. Red Kites circle about us as we reach our destination at dusk. After a bath, we get to work re-energized. Matthias instructs us how to sensibly set up the new sleeping hammocks, and Markus builds a fire pit while Harald prepares the ingredients for the evening cookout. As the sausages sizzle, a bottle of red wine is uncorked, and there’s a bit of fishing .
While the participants’ ambitions are flaring, we fine-tune our casting and are driven by the immediate possiblity of catching a bigger fish. We wind up with a few perches that went hunting in the last light of the day. Around the fire we share some more stories about fly fishing and life. Hoping for a good night’s sleep, we crawl into our hammocks.
The Spirit of a New Day
We wake up amazingly fresh to meet the next morning. The smell of fresh espresso and burnt wood fills the air. The sun creeps over the tops of the pines and makes you want a new fishing day. While we sip our coffee, Harald asks us a few questions about fly fishing and scribbles down our answers on his notepad. Besides the great joy of being outdoors, the biggest attraction of fly fishing for us is looking for the fish and approaching them as quietly as possible. Since the super-light flies have almost no spooking effect on the fish — and, in the ideal case, are homemade — fly fishing is, indeed, a very fulfilling and delicate undertaking. It is a very unique feeling to be able to outfox a trout with a hook, a piece of string, and a duck-feather.
Fly fishing is, furthermore, the most ancient kind of fishing next to net fishing. The idea of experiencing nature together with good friends is, of course, first and foremost; the fly rod is the means which gladly and aptly lends itself to this purpose. Naturally, it is also a delight to spend a few hours alone in the water after an exhausting day. The meditative side of fly fishing, coupled with a bit of survival instinct, is met with real enthusiasm by more and more friends.
Make it Yourself!
Today, the powerful rapids are on the agenda, with the goal of avoiding rocks and bridge pillars. We decide to keep the camp set up so we can travel light and have a few dry things at hand if someone capsizes. The photo equipment is packed in waterproof bags. The boats are put into the water and we’re off into the green hell…
We have decided to refrain from telling you all about this particularly exciting part of the Warnow. You must explore it for yourself! And do not forget the fly rod! On a summer day, sight-fishing for the big chubs is quite an experience.
If you want the help of experienced rapids conquerors and chub charmers for renting canoes, choosing the right fly, and finding the best spots, please contact:
More information about the Warnow (only in german) with maps and descriptions can be found here:
And the WALDEN issue 2/2016 can be found here:
Fotos: Malte Joost