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Old 29.11.2011, 03:41
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Re: Fly Fishing In Switzerland

Dear Derek,

I am delighted to have seen your post; I drop by here very seldom. I am delighted as it turns out I am not the only fly-fishing enthusiast who has seen the idiotic decisions made about fish and fishing here in Switzerland on a regular basis.

However, my rant doesn't end with the authorities but includes the local fisherman too who all seem to date from the 1970's and represent very likely the lowest common denominator here in CH.

But let's start with the "all kill" rule. It gets worse. Switzerland has this pure and pristine (and commendable) strategy of only stocking trout in rivers from populations already present in the river. In very few rivers this is actually done by stripping roe from local fish and rearing hatchlings in canals alongside the river. However, the news I got is that...the "all kill rule" will not go hand-in-hand with a stepped-up restocking programme. Yes. WTF?
However, prior to this rule, I have never, ever witnessed a single bloody local fisherman ever releasing a fish. They kill 'em all anyway.

Recently I heard of a rule which cancelled the closed season for Pike fishing on Lac Leman a few years ago, brought on by 'democratic' pressure from Perch netters who claimed the large Pike are eating all the Perch. Within a few years all the glorious large Pike in the lake has been decimated with the result...that small Pike are thriving in Lake preying even more heavily on Perch stocks! Previously smaller Pike were kept in check by large Pike, everything in equilibrium - until the idiots in charge messed everything up! I can give you countless examples of this type of ecological blundering by a country voted by Time magazine as the most "greenest country in the world".

However, the worst of it in this country are the fishermen themselves. I come from a third-world country (South Africa) where fly-fishing is the ONLY allowed method of fishing EVER allowed. On the numerous dams and lakes it has always been a true joy to see fly-fishing only done. I have been told the reason why every possible crude method is allowed here is the respect for the 'democratic' ability of the common man to fish for the table. As you say - this is not a starving population, but the wealthiest in the world, so I can only guess this idea dates from the 1940's!

The biggest joke of all is that restocking of lakes are all on a published schedule; so after each cycle this “army of hungry and poor” fishermen armed with every conceivable method under the sun will decimate the entire stock of artificially planted fish within two weeks leaving the lake effectively a desert until restocking takes place. Now – let me be clear on this – I too fish with the intention of catch and release; but there is nothing wrong by taking the odd fish for the smoker or the pan. I have taken some of these farmed lake fish home – they are disgusting. The flesh is typically grey with a muddy flavor – so I really don’t get it. But you can forget to find mature, top condition trout in these lakes.

Switzerland has missed a real opportunity here to become a major summer-time destination for international fly-fishing enthusiasts by making fishing as inaccessible as possible for visitors and tourists.

However, what gets to me here is the amount of trash and rubbish found around so-called pristine Alpine lakes.
And, my goodness, kilometers and kilometers of discarded fishing line!! What the hell is up with that? Every single time I return from a lake I collect a bag full of either plastic bottles or fishing line.

I have no clue where this idea comes from that local Swiss people care about nature, as this is certainly not what I have seen. I usually make a big show of it picking up discarded trash right next to the local fishermen, saying something amongst the lines of “if nobody else care for Switzerland, this foreigner will” in French. The idiots just stare at me. Luckily there are so few of them, despite their best efforts, nature will probably survive here.

No, Derek, I am close at giving up my favourite hobby here in Switzerland, rather spend my time and money in places you mention across the border.

All the best.
Thanks for letting me vent. Finally.
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  #22  
Old 29.11.2011, 15:06
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Re: Fly Fishing In Switzerland

Cheers Fly-Fisherman.

Vent away please! I believe that this is the only way that there could be some potential change in the fishing landscape here in Switzerland. Maybe not in our time, but down the road there will be changes - there must be. The exploitation of this fantastic resources is obvious for this intelligent community of people. But, as you say, these old ideals of Catch & Keep are not only engrained in the Fisher-person, but also the common person. If you ask nearly anyone in Switzerland about the benefits of Catch & Release, they would look at at you like you have horns growing on your head. The people of Switzerland were taught that the fish are for eating, and not for putting back in the rivers. They know no other way. My wife said to me once "what is the point of fishing if you are not going to keep and eat the fish?". To be honest, this is a great question. But one we Fly-Fishermen and new generation of Catch & Release Fishermen must push and push and push on common people and Fisher-persons alike. Even my father, born in 1945, still has a hard time understanding why NOT to use worms, or corn or maggots if the fish are biting.

I believe we all can agree that only stock lakes (i.e. Put & Take) can afford a Catch & Keep policy. Private rivers, large lakes and even Club stretches of rivers must be Catch & Release.

I live quite near to the Reuss River (near Bremgarten - Canton Aargau). 3 years ago, I had the pleasure of obtaining a 3 month license from the local Fishing Store in Bremgarten for 80 CHF (must have a SaNa now). All I could fish, 3 months straight on a beautiful stretch of river - and 10 minutes away from my house. 16 times out, 50 different flies and one fish later, I figured something was a bit weird. I had seen many Fisher-persons pulling out fish after fish after fish. They of course were using maggots or corn or whatever they put on the end of their line, but the funnies part was the the owner of the Fishing Store had to PURCHASE those fish - 2'500 of them to be exact, then dump them in the river to be caught by the people who purchase fishing licenses. He told me that these fish last about 2-3 weeks after they are dumped in, then the river is dead again for all but a few smart ones that got away. So, we are seeing that many of these rivers and lakes ARE dead, as you say, and if it wasn't for individuals or clubs whom would benefit from memberships or the purchasing of licenses, there would be NO fish to be had.

Again, and as you mentioned, for a beautiful country who claims to be the "Greenest" in the world, chalk another one up for a wonderful dose of animal ignorance. What an unbelievable waste. But then again, Switzerland sometimes tries to keep (in general) people out of this country, instead of inviting them in - SOMETIMES, not all the time. And if Switzerland becomes a Fly-Fishing utopia, not only will tourists increase, but you would definitely see an increase in Families moving and benefiting. Maybe there is a reason for the ignorance, and one that we are not aware of? I really don't know.

Thank your for contributing, for keeping the banks of the lakes and rivers clean and for practicing C & R when possible. If you need any resources or times for fishing in Austria for next year, let me know.

Take care and Tight lines,

Derek
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  #23  
Old 29.11.2011, 15:57
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Re: Fly Fishing In Switzerland

Thank you Derek - and all the best to you too!
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  #24  
Old 29.11.2011, 16:41
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Re: Fly Fishing In Switzerland

PS: Just to let you know, me and all the fly-fishermen I know of here on the French side flatly and openly ignore the "all kill" rule.
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Old 29.11.2011, 17:01
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Re: Fly Fishing In Switzerland

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I have no clue where this idea comes from that local Swiss people care about nature, as this is certainly not what I have seen. I usually make a big show of it picking up discarded trash right next to the local fishermen, saying something amongst the lines of “if nobody else care for Switzerland, this foreigner will”
In my neck of the woods (Greifensee) 90% plus of the fishermen are not Swiss. And yes there's a lot of trash including fishing lines which become a death trap for waterfowl.
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  #26  
Old 29.11.2011, 18:57
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Re: Fly Fishing In Switzerland

It is a real disgrace.
I am not sure if it is a lack of education of the dangers of discarded nylon fishing line, but some things in life should be common sense. How stupid must one be not to think for oneself to simply roll up discarded line and put it into your own bag do discard at home or in a bin. The mind boggles! I simply do not understand the mentality of throwing or leaving plastic bottles or beercans around, especially in this beautiful country. What must be going through such a person's mind?
Especially since these fisherman are supposed to have a relationship with nature, the wellbeing of the fish, and lakes they fish in!

PS: Do you know what nationality those fishermen are Andreas?
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Old 29.11.2011, 19:37
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Re: Fly Fishing In Switzerland

Used to volunteer for an animal hospital in the UK - and discarded line and nets, plastic bags, cans and bottles (left by fishermen) was a huge problem there. Never come across any discarded line, etc, around here, must say. Apart from one on Lac des Taillères - I pulled it and attached was a very nice Swiss Army knife.
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Old 29.11.2011, 20:48
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Re: Fly Fishing In Switzerland

I hope one day human beings will evolve into thinking, responsible creatures.
But then again, these idiots in Switzerland cover their vineyards during a certain time of the year with fine plastic netting, resulting in the agonizing death of countless birds. I cannot tell you how many times I had to save birds, taking several minutes to carefully cut the dozens of tangled strings around their little bodies and releasing them again.

I am practically running a cat refuge from home for wild cats in the neighbourhood. I have captured and sterilized no less than 12 cats in the last two years and feed countless more. I have caputured countless wild kittens who all have found good homes via the SPA. Nobody cares for these cats, and they are the result of human neglegence. If I wasn't here, this would have been a mini-eco disaster. But the Swiss don't give a f**k, it is up to me, a foreigner again. And worst of it, I am from a supposed third-world country, and have never seen anything like this, nor the level of apathy.

If ever I get in a conversation again about how caring and eco-friendly the Swiss are, I certainly can tell them a thing or two. My image of the Swiss has certainly been tarnished over the years.
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Old 29.11.2011, 20:56
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Re: Fly Fishing In Switzerland

Where abouts are you in Valais? This stray cat thing seems to be particularly problematic in the Valais, for some reason. A friend of mine lived in the Val d'Hérens and also ended up with so many cats and kittens- also working so hard to catch and sterilise/castrate strays- and the local population either laughted at her or even threaten her. In the end they had to leave as they just couldn't stand it anymore. How dog was found by them abandonned by the roadside - probably because she won't hunt and is terrified of shotguns.
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  #30  
Old 29.11.2011, 21:18
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Re: Fly Fishing In Switzerland

Choex. Quite close to that area. But I used to live in La Tour de Peilz (Vevey) where we had similar problem (but not to the same extent) in what I would say was a very high-end neighbourhood.

That is a terrible story. Yes, I have found the people around here very, very backward. Hillbilly-like, like the deep south of the US. I knew there was a catch to much cheaper rent, taxes, everything!
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Old 29.11.2011, 21:58
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Re: Fly Fishing In Switzerland

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Cheers Fly-Fisherman.

Vent away please! I believe that this is the only way that there could be some potential change in the fishing landscape here in Switzerland. Maybe not in our time, but down the road there will be changes - there must be. The exploitation of this fantastic resources is obvious for this intelligent community of people. But, as you say, these old ideals of Catch & Keep are not only engrained in the Fisher-person, but also the common person. If you ask nearly anyone in Switzerland about the benefits of Catch & Release, they would look at at you like you have horns growing on your head. The people of Switzerland were taught that the fish are for eating, and not for putting back in the rivers. [...]
This is so very true... A lot of people here do not see the point of fishing without keeping the fish.
As much as I support Catch & Release, I have to say the one has to be careful when advocating for C&R, especially to non-fishing folks. Pushing for total C&R everywhere provides an argument to the people who would love to see fishing banned completely. The whole point of this new Catch & Kill law is "animal rights protection", it has nothing to do with conservations efforts; in fact it's incompatible with conservation. However, the law passed, because a lot of people, unfortunately, dislike the whole idea of fishing, and especially fishing for fun. The only reason fishing is not yet banned here is that it can be argued that it is no more cruel to fish your own dinner than to buy it from the supermarket. If catch & release was imposed everywhere (even if it would be really great for the rivers), it would give much more weight to the arguments for total fishing ban. As much as I hate to say it, I'm not optimistic about the prospects of fishing in Europe in general. It seems that the general trend is towards restricting fishing more and more, and I wouldn't be surprised to see my favorite hobby banned completely. In Germany, 30-40 hours of lessons are required to get the license. In Switzerland, there is SaNa now. I think one of the reasons for this new exam is to discourage people.

BTW, this may be useful for whose who still need to pass the SaNa exam. First, it's a very simple exam, the questions are trivial. It's also a federal exam, so you don't need to pass it in the canton of residence. Some cantons try to make fisherman's life harder more than others, so in some German-speaking cantons the exam involves 2 days and over 100 questions. If you speak French, some French-speaking cantons (VD, also VS I think) are easier - 3 hours and 25 questions. Hope this helps.
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  #32  
Old 30.11.2011, 01:27
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Re: Fly Fishing In Switzerland

2x2 ... PETA sunk it's claws into Germany & Switzerland. This backwards thinking is amazing.

In any case, and moving forward, do you think we can do anything to divert the flood, so to speak? Does anyone know anyone who has any kind of voice or such? I know I am searching in the dark on this one, but just from the small conversation we are having on here, anyone could understand that this thought process towards Fishing in general could lead to a decimation of the sport which we love. People really don't understand that there is a right way to fish i.e. conserve nature - don't trash the watersheds or areas where you fish, take out the garbage you make, and treat the fish with respect by using barbless hooks and gently releasing the fish back to its home.

A great quote "Common sense is not so common".
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  #33  
Old 30.11.2011, 02:40
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Re: Fly Fishing In Switzerland

The biggest problem in Switzerland is the obsession and the extent to which democracy is practised in matters which are technical and specialized in nature. If run in this matter, democracy is nothing more than mob rule of the ignorant.

The process for change in this particular area Derek requires you to draw up a petition to get those that will be affected by such a proposed law-changing vote to sign their support. That means you will have to get the buy-in from the very Neanderthals we have been complaining here all along. You see the dilemma.

So regardless of the best research in the world which clearly shows fish are not affected in any way after a successful catch and release, the muppets in charge are effectively bound by the knowledge-nullifying democratic process of the masses. So even if you can convince a "specialist" (and he might even agree with you), it is of no use.

Wonderful system isn't it?
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Old 30.11.2011, 14:30
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Re: Fly Fishing In Switzerland

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Peet -


Yes, your correct, wobblers are crank baits ... used often here also for big Lake Trout in the Bodensee. Greifensee also has great Hecht fishing from what I understand. I know little about it, but my friends at HRHebeisen Fly Shop in Zurich say they go up there and toss around big streamers and the Pike go crazy (certain time of the year, of course).

All the best,

Tight Lines
Now you are just making want to go Thurgau. I saw some very nice lake trout near the shore of the little park where the Schiffs depart from Kreuzlingen. And a Vietnamese girl fishing for them with float and bait (unsuccesfully while I was watching). But these fish were large and swimming in schools, and got me very excited.

I wonder what the locals will think of a guy on a float tube paddling around in the Bodensee and throwing rapala's and Mepps Black Fury's? What do you think, Digikre8, workable? I have thermal waders...
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Old 30.11.2011, 17:49
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Re: Fly Fishing In Switzerland

I think Derek can give you some advice here but I have sent you a PM.
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Old 07.12.2011, 20:05
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Re: Fly Fishing In Switzerland

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Now you are just making want to go Thurgau. I saw some very nice lake trout near the shore of the little park where the Schiffs depart from Kreuzlingen. And a Vietnamese girl fishing for them with float and bait (unsuccesfully while I was watching). But these fish were large and swimming in schools, and got me very excited.
Cheers Peet -

I don't want to go against the eyes of a fellow fisherman, but typically if there are schools of fish trolling around the shorelines of lakes, most of the time they are the beautiful Döbel, or of the Whitefish variety. I have seen the same around the shores in the Zurichsee, Agerisee and Halwillersee here in Canton Aargau. Lake Trout tend to be in the deeper areas of the Lakes until the freeze comes then they tend to move a bit more shoreside at times. I am by no means a Lake Trout expert, so take my above with a grain of salt. That being said, YES, throw anything you can at those buggers !! From my understanding, the guys who troll around all day in the Bodensee for those lunker Lakies typically use D-Riggers with Crank-baits close to the bottom.

Good luck to you. Stay warm and Petri Heil ! Let us know how it goes.

Derek
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Old 07.12.2011, 20:37
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Re: Fly Fishing In Switzerland

I have to agree with Derek here. (Peet this is part of what I wanted to write to you).

Lake Trout is a very interesting ecotype of Brown Trout but peculiar enough in behaviour to have its own scientific name: Salmo Trutta Lacustris.

They only approach the shallow water in winter when they swim up rivers to spawn. It is illegal to catch them in rivers in winter, but they may be fished for in the lake near mouths of rivers. Fly-fishing for these fish are almost impossible. Motorboats troll up to eight lines with special vanes to keep them apart with spoons, spinners and diving plugs. Some even use a horizontal downrigger with 8 or 12 vertical rigs with spoons to catch these illusive fish.

This all is hardly sportfishing and all trout are killed. They are very, very tasty and a very lucrative black market exist in winter. It is interesting to go on such a boat (charters are available) but a little boring and bloody cold.
As winter progress they return to the lake and go deeper and deeper as the season progress. In mid-summer they are confined to the deepest parts of the lake (but not as deep as the Arctic Char, another interesting fish of deep lakes in Switzerland).
It is interesting that the "normal" brown trout you catch in summer in the same river effectively shares the river with Lacustris in winter, but those do not go to the lake in summer. Weird.

Here is another interesting thing: some of these have been known to grow up to 90 pounds - 40 kgs a century ago. That is not a typo. In Lac Leman (Geneva) specimens of 20 kgs were not uncommon up to 60 years ago and formed the basis of an active commercial fishery there. These sort of sizes can still be caught in places like Great Bear Lake in Canada. Today a catch of 5 - 8 kgs is seen as an achievement. The main reasons they have become scarce are overfishing, pollution and the damming of the watercourses that feed the lakes which the trout use to spawn.

However, Peet, the lakes are still great for Perch and some Pike; but I have found smaller lakes and dams far more productive. There are very few coarse fishermen around the big lakes, but you will do well as an enthusiast if you are into that sort of thing.
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Old 07.12.2011, 20:40
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Re: Fly Fishing In Switzerland

From a Thurgau Fischverein letter:

"Beim Tiefsee- oder Schleppfischen mit Seehund im Hohen See, kann sich jeder seinen Traum von einer grossen Seeforelle, einem prächtigen Saibling oder einem grossen Hecht erfüllen."

They seem to make a distinction between Lake Trout and Saibling, which are both salmonids, as far as I can see. From looking at the pitcure of a Saibling on German Wikipedia, I would venture I was looking at Saibling. Very trout-like. Not the same erratic movements or slight form of the Doebel.

See you in Switzerland.
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Old 07.12.2011, 20:45
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Re: Fly Fishing In Switzerland

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I have to agree with Derek here. (Peet this is part of what I wanted to write to you).

Lake Trout is a very interesting ecotype of Brown Trout but peculiar enough in behaviour to have its own scientific name: Salmo Trutta Lacustris.

They only approach the shallow water in winter when they swim up rivers to spawn. It is illegal to catch them in rivers in winter, but they may be fished for in the lake near mouths of rivers. Fly-fishing for these fish are almost impossible. Motorboats troll up to eight lines with special vanes to keep them apart with spoons, spinners and diving plugs. Some even use a horizontal downrigger with 8 or 12 vertical rigs with spoons to catch these illusive fish.

This all is hardly sportfishing and all trout are killed. They are very, very tasty and a very lucrative black market exist in winter. It is interesting to go on such a boat (charters are available) but a little boring and bloody cold.
As winter progress they return to the lake and go deeper and deeper as the season progress. In mid-summer they are confined to the deepest parts of the lake (but not as deep as the Arctic Char, another interesting fish of deep lakes in Switzerland).
It is interesting that the "normal" brown trout you catch in summer in the same river effectively shares the river with Lacustris in winter, but those do not go to the lake in summer. Weird.

Here is another interesting thing: some of these have been known to grow up to 90 pounds - 40 kgs a century ago. That is not a typo. In Lac Leman (Geneva) specimens of 20 kgs were not uncommon up to 60 years ago and formed the basis of an active commercial fishery there. These sort of sizes can still be caught in places like Great Bear Lake in Canada. Today a catch of 5 - 8 kgs is seen as an achievement. The main reasons they have become scarce are overfishing, pollution and the damming of the watercourses that feed the lakes which the trout use to spawn.

However, Peet, the lakes are still great for Perch and some Pike; but I have found smaller lakes and dams far more productive. There are very few coarse fishermen around the big lakes, but you will do well as an enthusiast if you are into that sort of thing.
You seem to have filled in all my gaps. My theory about Saibling is on thin ice if you say they go even deeper than Seeforellen. We were there in mid- September and I am pretty confident I saw a salmonid species. Oh well...
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Old 07.12.2011, 21:11
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Re: Fly Fishing In Switzerland

Let me help you out here: Saibling / Omble Chevalier is in fact that Arctic Char I was referring to. It looks very different to a trout but very pretty, and there is no way you would ever see one in a big lake. They are deep-deep water species and a left-over from the previous ice age (!)

They breed in the big lakes - not like any other salmonid - on the bottom on rounded rocks. They are caught by very specialised commercial techniques and are some of the tastiest fish you can find in an exclusive restaurant here. So, yes, they are different to the Lake Trout.

Just to confuse you even more - all of this is different to Brook Trout and the rare Canadian Char (Cristivomer) that is found in some lakes here!

The fish you may have seen could have been Whitefish (they call it Renke in German) or Fera which are also an ancient offshoot from the trout family. They look a bit like a cross between a Grayling and a Bonefish, so maybe a bit like a trout.

Peet I cannot tell you how many times I have mistaken trout sightings here with something else - especially Chub in rivers! Drives me crazy!

Alles van die beste.
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