The fish experience: from the rod to the table
Fresh fish on your plate: For some, fishing is the loveliest pastime in the world, while for others it is pure adventure.
Thunderous mountain streams, crystal clear lakes, and pools that trout, char, and grayling call their home - Austria attracts fishing fans in the know from around the world. #feelAustria
It's still dark outside and a little chilly. Wafts of fog are drifting over the lake. The rod quietly rests on the water surface. All of a sudden, there's a little pull from underwater. After a few seconds, the calm returns. The sun has now risen. Setting the alarm early has once again paid off. The early bird catches the worm - or, in this case, the char, the lake trout and the perch.
Austria is a popular angling spot for enthusiasts from around the world. But where to get started? Let's have a look at the most promising fishing areas in the different federal provinces.
Please note: Austria requires anglers by law to hold a valid fishing permit! Check with the local tourist office about acquiring your permit and any guidelines that protect the fauna and flora of the region.
Tannheimer Valley and Zillertal
The season starts on 1 April in the Tannheimer Valley, a hotspot for fishing enthusiasts. No matter your angling skills, the area has you covered! Lake Haldensee is suitable even for complete beginners. Catch pike whitefish and, if it's your lucky day, carp, tench and roach. More experienced fishers meet at the deeper Lake Vilsalpsee, the natural habitat of char and perch.
Hohe Tauern Mountain Water and Lake Attersee
The Grossarl Valley offers plenty of opportunities for anglers on the Grossarl Ache - head to the Hüttschlag valley from Grossarl and on to the National Park Hohe Tauern. The Schöder Valley's and Keeskogel Glacier's crystal clear mountain water are an excellent home for local fish, with quiet river passages, big pools, rapids, rock waterfalls, and gravel banks, surrounded by lush alpine meadows and pastures. The gleaming, silvery alpine salmon - up to 120 cm (4 ft) long - has lived in the valley's Lake Ötzlsee since 1998, and is unique to the province of Salzburg.
In Upper Austria, Lake Attersee is a popular spot for anglers and one of the few places where you can still catch pearlfish. Interested in fly fishing? Meet the experts (and those aiming to become one) at Große Mühl in Böhmerwald forest, near Bruckhäuserln and Ulrichsberg
Trophy Fish from the River Gail
The Gail is one of the most pristine waters of the Alpine area. The river - actually still a torrent - squeezes through deep gorges before opening up into delightful meadows, then plunging back into the depths of the Lesachtal Valley. Besides the natural beauty of the river landscape, the Gail is of drinking water quality and the fishing pressure is low. Six tributaries await amateur anglers with large quantities of natural offspring, which means that artificial restocking is not required here.
In addition to the dominant brown trout, the rainbow trout and the reintroduced greyling are at home in the Gail and its tributaries. The "Bärfalle", the trophy route for fly fishermen, is rarely touched due to its difficult accessibility. This area, thanks to its unspoiled state, offers the chance to make quite a remarkable catch.
Ausseerland - Salzkammergut, Lechtal valley and Bregenzerwald
Picturesque Ausseerland - Salzkammergut region in Styria, surrounded by the Tote Gebirge mountains and the Dachstein plateau, has various fishing areas, including Lake Altaussee, Lake Ödensee or Lake Grundlsee. Cast your rod early in the morning for brown trout, grayling and pike. If fly fishing is your cup of tea, head to the banks of the Traun river - the Koppentraun ranks among the six best trout routes in Europe.
In Vorarlberg, the Lechtal valley provides excellent conditions for amateurs and more experienced anglers alike while Bregenzerwald forest is a dream for both regular and fly fishing. The waters are considered a trout region. While the riverine brown trout is the most common catch, you can also find rainbow trouts and graylings here.
Waldviertel region and Lake Neusiedler See
The Waldviertel region in Lower Austria with all its ponds, streams and lakes is a paradise for amateur anglers. Head to the rivers Kampf, Thaya and Lainsitz or the Ottensein Reservoir to catch carps, the most traditional fish in the area, made popular by the local monks in former times. The river Ybbs is another local favourite. In Waidhofen, you can cast your line right in the town centre and catch grayling, brook and rainbow trout and even huchen.
Want to be on the safe side weather-wise? Burgenland's Lake Neusiedler See has up to 300 sunny days a year - perfect for a fun fishing holiday. Central Europe's largest steppe lake is home to roughly 30 types of fish, including zander, eel, pike, carp and catfish. Many fishing spots are located directly on the reed edge. Catfish fishing at night is particularly popular in the area.