Since our closest trout river had been leased to a new owner it had gone downhill
fishing wise rapidly.
The last visit was for me the final straw as the fishing was so dismal in my personal view.
Still my friends made a second visit to the river later in the year and came back with more
negative expiriences.

With no improvement to be expected in the future my friend scouted for a new place
to fish and finally ended up with the Aar river in the state of Hessen.
I volunteered to join him on a fact-finding mission to the river and arranged the permits.
As it was almost a three hours drive from where we lived and we had to collect or permit between
7 and 8 o’clock in the morning we had to leave early.
With the summer holidays starting I urged my friend to leave very early so at 4.30 in the morning
we headed east.

IMG 1699
In Hessen.

The ride to Hessen went smoothly, we ended up at the hatchery where we had to get
the permits sharply at 07.00 hours in the morning.
It would be a hot day with temperatures rising to 30 degrees C but in the morning it was
still a chilly 10 degrees C.
Since it had not rained for quite a while I expected the river to be low.

We collected our permits and got a little briefing from the owner of the hatchery of where
to start fishing.
We followed his directions and soon crossed the river, we parked the car at the designated
location and took a look at the river.
My first impression was that it would be very tough to catch a fish in the river as it was
smaller than expected and hidden in a canopy of trees.
It looked beautiful though and the best thing was that there were no major roads in
the valley where the river ran through.

IMG 1700
IMG 1701
IMG 1702
IMG 1703

Even though the river was small and there was not much water running I still decided to use full
wading gear
as some pools where very deep according to the owner of the hatchery.
I was glad I brought my 6ft. rod with me as the green tunnel where the river ran through 
would not allow the use of long rods.
My friend would start at the bridge we just crossed, I would walk some distance upstream 
and start there.

I walked for a minute or 10 and then found an opening in the brushwork and entered the river.
The stream was beautiful, lots of riffles and pools to fish in.
The problem I had was the fish where wary because of the low water and would move off as
soon as I came close.
I could not make a lot of casts as the shrubs and branches of the trees prevented that.
At one pool where the water was more disturbed I finally caught my first fish of the day,
a smaller brown trout that took the nymph as it ran along some tree roots.

IMG 1706

After a short while I came at a rather large and deep pool.
The current pushed along one rocky edge where a single fish rose more or less frequently.
In the middle of the pool the water was more or less stagnant.
Small sedges where around in some numbers and the fish had keyed in on them.
Several times I saw the trout shoot out from the water to catch the caddis in flight.
As the edge of the pool was difficult to reach with a cast and a proper drift would probably
only would last a few seconds I opted for the nymph.
My first cast was into the middle of the pool, it was answered immediately by a trout.
But … instead of my nymph it took my strike indictor and pulled it under.
A strike had only one effect – I lost the trout and the biostrike indicator.
IMG 1712
IMG 1710

Since the river was owned by the hatchery I figured that they would not have skimped on stock
fish and indeed they had not.
Almost every cast yielded a strike and I missed a lot of fish.
Still with some luck I landed several very fine brown trout and a bonus rainbow trout.
I even got one of the trout at the edge on a rather large sedge dry fly.

IMG 1714
IMG 1717
IMG 1718
IMG 1720
IMG 1721

After having caught several trout in the deep pool I wondered if there could be any monsters
around so I tied on a streamer.
The trout went pretty mad charging the streamer but for some reason I did not get any good
aggressive bites, maybe it was because of the hot weather.
I hooked one big brown trout on the streamer and it came fully airborne but with that action
it also cleared my barbless streamer.

I could have stayed longer at the deep pool but I order to explore the river I had to move on.
The water in front of me was shallower but still mixed with small pools that could hold fish.
More interesting was that the fish in front of me  where actively feeding on the caddis and would
rise leisurely to intercept caddis on the surface.
With a big tree as cover I could come in close enough to toss a caddis on the waiting trout.
It was an awesome sight to see the trout sip in the dry fly without any hesitation.

IMG 1723
IMG 1727
IMG 1729
IMG 1732
IMG 1735
IMG 1737
IMG 1738

As I progressed further upstreamer the conditions became more challenging as the shrubbery grew
thicker all the time.
One one side the river was bordered by a steep hillside, the other bank was the border of a meadow
overgrown with shrubs and fitted with an old barb wire fence.

IMG 1741
IMG 1742
IMG 1743

Around midday we had decided to hold a small break, we sat under a shading tree at the
bridge and discussed our experiences.
All in all it was a lot better than we had ever could hope for.
Despite the low water the fish where plentiful and active and the landscape was very beautiful.
Of the two sections we were allowed to fish we had barely managed a third of section one.
The plans for the afternoon where discussed, I would scout out the stretch below the bridge
– my friend would continue his trek upstream.

IMG 1739
IMG 1740
IMG 1748

In the blazing sun I crossed a newly moved field to enter the river where it met the hillside.
Getting to the river was tricky as the bank was partly made out of clay.
Even though it was dry I had not counted on the wet felt soles of my wading shoes and so I ended
in a rather un-elegant way on the riverbank.
Luckily fisherman and gear remained intact, I just slipped in the first deep pool to cool off and get the
mud off my waders.

My plan was to move even further downstream to the beginning of the section but the heavily 
overgrown  banks and hillside prevented that.
I climbed and crawled further downstream through the brushwork in order to find a larger pool but
none came in sight.
I noticed that the gradient the river followed was a lot steeper than in the forested part.
In the end I decided to return upstream and instead fish the part towards the bridge.

IMG 1752
IMG 1754
IMG 1755
IMG 1757
IMG 1762

The part I fished was a lot more open that the section I had fished in the morning .
The sun shone pretty brutal on the water.
I came across several long pools where some fish where sporadically rising but often
my approach was too clumsily and the fish ran for cover.
Still I managed to catch a few more brown trout and had some fish that threw the hook.

IMG 1768
IMG 1769
IMG 1773
IMG 1776
IMG 1777
IMG 1779

My other fear for the day besides traffic jams on this day was tourists that would use
the river as a public bath.
The field road along the river looked pretty deserted but in the afternoon we did encounter
a some dogs , kids and assorted tourists at one spot.
The river was big enough the circumvent the disturbance.

I was heading for the upper border of section one and noticed that the conditions where
become tougher.
The heat had really started now and fish where becoming quite lethargic.
With the increased light they became more wary.
At most longer shallow pools the trout lay at the end of these pools and since the trees and
shrubs where even more dense that in the part I fished in the morning I could hardly make
long casts.
The only thing I often saw where the bow waves of fleeing trout.

IMG 1780

There was one spot where a large fallen tree hid me from the rising trout in a nice
pool.  I counted at least three trout and they were sporadically rising.
I had to cast over the deadfall to the rising pool but I just could not get the proper distance
without hitting the trees or scaring the fish off, a matter of feet prevented me
from catching those fish.

IMG 1781
IMG 1782

Late in the afternoon I almost reached the end of stretch one.
I encountered a very deep pool that yield one small rainbow trout.
There could have easily been more trout in there but the pool was deep, very deep.
In fact my plan to wade through the pool was pretty fast abandoned so I tried to find
a spot to climb on to the bank.

Finally I found a spot to make it safely on dry land.
My plans to check out the start of the stretch where thwarted by the fact that there was
no way down to the stream anymore  as the banks where steep and overgrown
with some of the more unpleasant plant growth.
Icing on the cake was the van load of tourist and dogs that stopped not far from me.

IMG 1785
IMG 1787

As our departure time neared I called it a day as I had to walk all the way back to the car in this
extreme heat while wearing waders.
I was cursing myself now as I had not taken a long sleeved t-shirt with me.
The horse flies where out in force especially in the just mowed meadows and they had it in for me.
Halfway along the path I met my friend who had the same idea as me, call it a day.

We had postponed lunch during midday to make most of our fishing trip.
I had checked for an Italian restaurant in the small village near to the hatchery  and found one that
would surely be a good place to end the beautiful day.
The cool beers hit the spot on this hot day and the food was as expected, pretty good.
We topped our dinner off with ice cream and vowed that the Aar river had not seen the last of us.