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Old 20.11.2011, 20:46
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Fly Fishing In Switzerland

I am an avid river fly-fisherman and have lived here in Switzerland for 6 years. I originate from Portland, Oregon and have lived in and fished in Washington, Idaho, Montana, British Columbia and Alaska. Fishing and catching fish (mainly Salmonid species) on beautiful rivers and lakes is something I feel I know well. I have read posts and heard people say many good things about the "fishing" in Switzerland, but in my time and though out my numerous outings in many different parts of this country, I would have to say that Switzerland is one of the worst places to Fly-Fish I have ever been. Here are some things I have learned from my Swiss fishing friends that may assist fisher-persons. Honestly, a small part of me is hoping someone will tell me that I am full of it and that fly-fishing in Switzerland is spectacular. That would give me hope.

1. First and foremost, many fish populations (mostly Salmonid - this is what people eat the most) have been on even more of a rapid decrease since the implementation of a catch and kill policy for most fish populations throughout Switzerland in 2008. In no Canton (every Canton is regulated in its entirety by the Canton itself) is it "legal" to Catch & Release. For example, in canton Bern, there are only traces of a the once abundant Grayling (Aesch) populations that littered the Canton only years before - you can see the charts online at http://www.vol.be.ch/vol/de/index/natur/fischerei.html.

2. If you aren't going to 'pay' to fish, you will, most likely, be doing a bunch of 'Fishing'. If you like to 'Catch' fish, more often than not you will either need to know someone, be a part of a club that owns and stocks sections of rivers (i.e. The Sihl for example) or travel to other parts of Europe.

3. For the Swiss Federal Parliament (also the Swiss Fishery System) to proclaim that they are protecting fish-species by implementing a catch & keep (minimum 6 cm) along with a 5-6 fish per day (this is not in every canton, but it is common) limit is perverse.

4. In my experience, "dead" rivers are quite common. 6 hour days where we would have 4 or 5 guys go out and not see one fish. From the smallest fry up to even a good size fish. This is a HUGE problem. This is a warning sign for the status of a river. This has happened in all seasons and in various cantons.

5. I would really love someone to tell me different on this one, but most prevalent fish species now in Switzerland are of the White-fish varieties. I believe they are called Döbel and also Barbel or River Carp. Salmonid species are becoming less and less prevalent. Again, a healthy rivers system needs a balance. This is not happening in this country.

6. Swiss nationals and people whom have been involved with the fisheries are very protective of their waters and the information related. The Swiss nationals know that if they tell someone of a 'public' honey hole, that this hole will be eradicated of its population of fish within the year. If there was a nation-wide catch and release policy, the Swiss nationals and also expats could share their fishing holes with confidence knowing that the individuals are not going down there to poach for meat, but to fish and humanely release the fish back to its home.


In my opinion, ridding this country of it's ludicrous Fishing Regulations and it's Catch and Keep policy should be first priority for Fishing Expats and also Fishing Swiss nationals alike. This beautiful country could hold countless opportunities for fly-fishing and also meat-fishermen. The revenues from these fishermen could benefit many individuals, businesses and even new Hotels that would be "Fly-Fishing Only Hotels" - just as they have in Austria, for example. The ignorance of such will lead to only Put & Take Lakes and the beauty of this enchanted place will be only left to an elite few. Individuals SHOULD be taking a course on catch and release. Killing a fish after you have a 30 second fight is not humane (i.e. PETA). It is o.k. to gently release the fish (you can EVEN do this without touching the fish) back to the river is humane. The fish will survive, thrive and even may go on to lay eggs so that there will /may be more fish there for the fishermen to catch & release next year.

WOW. What a novel idea.

Typically, fish populations are taken out for sustenance. i.e. Native indigenous people who count on the meat for the winters stock. But we live in one of the wealthiest countries in the World. People and families do not need have fresh river caught fish-meat to survive. A minimum of 5 year mandatory C & R policy would be a fantastic start to make Switzerland the river fishing paradise it could be.

I have numerous resources, places to fish, Fishing Shops and general websites for Switzerland, Deutschland and Austria if needed. You can get in touch at digikre8(at)gmail.com or here on the forum. I also have uploaded some pics under my profile.

Petri Heil and best of luck on the waters.
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Old 21.11.2011, 18:15
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Re: Fly Fishing In Switzerland

Hi

Nice to know a fellow fisherman. You have confirmed my worst fears about the fishing situation In Aargau the Hallwilersee looked OK and there were a lot of good fish swimming in the Aabach when I walked around. Will be nice to meet up and catch some fish!

PS - I heard there are some bass in Ticino...
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Old 21.11.2011, 18:44
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Re: Fly Fishing In Switzerland

Not looked into fishing yet but will certainly be looking into it on the spring, since we live in the same canton would be good to have a fishing buddy.
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Old 22.11.2011, 14:42
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Re: Fly Fishing In Switzerland

Cheers Peet -

My father-in-law lives in Seengen. From what I understand, unless one has a SANA or lives in the Gemeinde, you cannot fish in either the Halwilersee or in the Aabach. Of course you could try and cast from the shore and what-not, but in general if there are any fish to be had, they would typically will not be rolling around the edges unless they are of the whitefish variety. One could check into it, but from In the Aabach, I have seen plenty of fish, but again, those are whitefish (i.e. Döbel / Barbel / Rivercarp). Not that these fish wouldn't be interesting, but rarely would they be interested in a fly. Typically corn, bread or maggots. For me, meat fishing is not really that fun since I do not want to keep the fish.

I heard there were some Bass in the Lakes down there too. Ticino isn't a bad option for fishing if it were put on a catch / fishing scale. There are tons of rivers and lakes down there to choose from and like Canton Bern and Canton Glarus, as a 'tourist' you can snag a day-license for a small fee. If you haven't yet, check out this website for more places to fish in Ticino (http://www.flyfisher.eu/en/)

Tight lines
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Old 22.11.2011, 14:54
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Re: Fly Fishing In Switzerland

Cheers Markarina -

Spring is a great time for the rivers to start heating up. For me, I tend to get to Austria asap (March or April) as the Brownies and Bow's are hungry after the winter. Best options are to spend a weekend at a Resort which caters to fly-fishermen. I will put you back a few hundred CHF's, but 9 times out of 10 you will have tight lines when you are out there walking around on the waters. If you don't have a SANA, Canton's Bern & Glarus are typically your best bet. But I would still put my money on Austria.

This website has some great resources for places to stay and fly-fish in Austria next spring. Just watch for the opening times. Typically they open up May 1st. But some earlier. Just depends. (Website is in German & Italian http://www.fischwasser.com/index.asp?MenueID=01)

Tight lines.
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Old 22.11.2011, 22:37
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Re: Fly Fishing In Switzerland

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[...] I have read posts and heard people say many good things about the "fishing" in Switzerland, but in my time and though out my numerous outings in many different parts of this country, I would have to say that Switzerland is one of the worst places to Fly-Fish I have ever been. [...]
What are you doing?!? Ever since I moved here from California, I've been trying very hard to convince myself that all is not lost and there must be some fish here, somewhere. I just need to find the right places. Now you're ruining my hopes.

I could not agree with you more. These new regulations are a real setback for the local rivers. I'm sure that people who truly love fly fishing would respect the fish too much to kill it. But over time, a new generation of fishermen will grow, and they might think that "no catch and release" is normal. This, plus the warmer water due to the climate, will kill the rivers.
It's a real pity that there is no strong sport fishing culture here, like there is in the US, UK or France, so most people don't know about this situation, and don't care.
Thanks for your post, and thank you for the information about Austria. I should definitely check it out.
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Old 22.11.2011, 22:56
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Re: Fly Fishing In Switzerland

The river Areuse near me is a great fly fishing river- but they do have a problem currently has the lack of rain means the fish are not able to go back up the river to spawn currently.

Mountain lakes around here are also good for Pike- record here is 24kg- and the other day 17+ for a neighbour.
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Old 22.11.2011, 23:01
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Re: Fly Fishing In Switzerland

I used to know a J. R. Hartley who was a terribly keen fly fisher. Even wrote a book on the subject. Out of print these days.

Cheers,
Nick
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Old 23.11.2011, 00:26
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Re: Fly Fishing In Switzerland

The catch and kill policy is absolutely ridiculous -- a real shame to destroy the fantastic fisheries this country could have.

I have done some flyfishing down in Zermatt but with a guide on a stocked private lake up on the mountain side. Great time, tight lines and beautiful scenery...

Here are a few pics...




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Old 23.11.2011, 15:59
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Re: Fly Fishing In Switzerland

Cheers 2x2 -

Couldn't agree more. I am just assuming, but knowing what you and I know about Salmonid trout (fly) fishing in rivers and Mountain streams in Washington, Oregon and California, we can see how detrimental the politicians, PETA, and old-timers have been to this countries overall Salmonid fishing industry (if it has an actual fishing industry of such sorts). The funny thing is that this country is quite Democratic, and the people could REALLY do change if they needed to, or knew how. Unfortunately, as you said, the people, old and new really couldn't care as such. Some may, but the numbers are not great enough to make a real change.

Last year I met the nephew of the gentleman who introduced and got the 'bill' passed for the Catch and Kill policy into Switzerland a few years back. Good guy who comes from the French part of the Country. He said his Uncle was "really f'in proud" of passing that Law in Switzerland. He said it was even worse before with the killing of fish, but that is really hard to imagine. For a typically forward thinking country, this Law, and furthermore the general fishing policies in this country are extremely archaic. Quite a pity. People who don't appreciate or even have a clue what the potential of this industry and resource is. Austria get's it. The revenues and tourists and advertisements the country gets from fly-fishing are vast.

Maybe there is something were missing, or that we don't know.
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Old 23.11.2011, 16:07
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Re: Fly Fishing In Switzerland

Cheers Odile -

You are right, the L'Areuse is a great little river, and you can get a day pass at the Town Hall for 20 CHF or so if I remember right. I was there 2 summers ago and caught a nice little Grayling and a Brownie with my friend.

Any tips on when to go, when the river is open etc.? High Lakes?

I don't remember exactly the specifics of what I am going to write, but what I remember is that during a specific time of the year either Salmon, or big Sea Trout run up to the Areuse in large numbers. Only the locals are allowed to fish for them. Pity.
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Old 23.11.2011, 16:30
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Re: Fly Fishing In Switzerland

** FISHING IN SWITZERLAND UPDATE **

The Aare in Bern is fishing well right now for Grayling. Other salmonid species are closed until April or May (if you catch one, you MUST release it). Of course the C & K (catch & kill) policy is at hand there, so you must watch out if your tossing flies around. The meat & bobber guys don't like that C & R stuff, and they know fly-fishermen are typically there for the sport and not the meat.

If you can get out there during the week, all the better. Weekends can be a bit of a cluster*ck with all the maggots, corn, worms or bread being tossed around.

Typically, and for some weird reason, I have yet to land a Grayling in Bern! They get really close and then they just miraculously pop off my barbless hook! Darn! Every time! These fish are amazing and beautiful and for them to be put in a freezer or fried in oil is crazy. Please practice good C & R when handing the Grayling.

Register here and print out + sign a day license for the Canton for CHF 25:

https://www.elca-services.ch/tnsa12/...nguage&lang=de

You will want to check out the .pdf on this page which shows were you can and cannot fish. There are a few places that are Sanctuaries for all fish. Also on these same pages it shows you the open times for the specific fish species.

http://www.vol.be.ch/vol/de/index/na...gewaesser.html

Then check out my Google Maps for two places to go (you will have to zoom in to see the specific places to park etc). I have caught fish at both places. Of course, there are many more to choose from, these are just two that I have had "success" with:

http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?ie=UT...b9d59cd815215d

Grayling can be caught on dries or nymphs. They will come up when the hatches are out, but the hatches can be quite quick (i.e. 20-30 minutes). Typically dries need to be of the 16 - 20 size variety. Small parachutes or midge patterns. I have done well with 12 - 16 sized nymphs. Usually with some orange in the pattern.

Please keep the rivers clean by taking out all of your fishing waste and practice covert
C & R with single, barbless hooks whenever possible. As a side note, and if possible, try not to use felt soled wading boots. Aquatic Invasive Species are typically hitchhiking on felt. Not good for the any water and it's aquatic resources
(http://www.simmsfishing.com/site/cleanstream.html).

Tight lines everyone

Derek
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Old 23.11.2011, 16:33
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Re: Fly Fishing In Switzerland

Cheers Bubba -

Gorgeous pics. Beautiful fish. Thank you for sharing.

Tight lines,

Derek
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Old 23.11.2011, 16:58
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Re: Fly Fishing In Switzerland

Fly fishing here is certainly not comparable to the US, where I started, but I've been here for close to 7 years now, joined some fishing clubs with access to river sections, and found some decent places to flyfish, mostly remote alpine lakes. Naturally it's a small country, with more fishing pressure on a far smaller amount of river and lakes.

The catch and release thing is tragic, I agree. Most people in my fishing clubs, especially the fly fisherman, recognize the benefit of catch and release, and I know a ton of Swiss fly fisherman that release fish. (One stretch of a river near my house has a fly fishing only section and a bait section, guess which one has the most fish. I'll keep stocked trout from lakes and ponds, but if they're wild or I caught them in a river, back they go. I don't really think all that many more fish are getting killed, it's a pretty difficult law to enforce.

On the other hand, the aim of the law isn't to help or hinder fish populations, it's an animal rights issue and the perspective here is very, very different and takes quite a bit of getting used to from an American perspective.

That said, I still greatly enjoy fly fishing here. It's never really been about the amount or size of the fish, it's about experiencing some of the most beautiful scenery in the world. The last time I was in the mountains we had a july snowstorm, drank beer at the base of a glacier, and caught lots of eager but very small, vibrant, healthy Brookies. Amazing memories.
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Old 23.11.2011, 17:08
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Re: Fly Fishing In Switzerland

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The catch and release thing is tragic, I agree.

On the other hand, the aim of the law isn't to help or hinder fish populations, it's an animal rights issue and the perspective here is very, very different and takes quite a bit of getting used to from an American perspective.
So are they actually trying to promote the idea that hunting and fishing are activities designed for the purpose of food production, as opposed to a rather bizarre form of 'sport'?

Good on them, if that's the case.

I used to fish when I was a kid, but could never understand what the point of it was if you had no intention of eating the things once you'd caught them. All that effort for nothing...
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Old 23.11.2011, 17:15
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Re: Fly Fishing In Switzerland

When questioned about the sanity of catch and release fishing, I always compared it to having protected sex. It's about the act, not the end result.

At the same time, if it was about food production for me, I'd save thousands of francs by buying some smoked trout filets at Coop.
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Old 23.11.2011, 17:28
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Re: Fly Fishing In Switzerland

The fishing season on the Areuse opens on the 1st of March every year. You can get day passes, as you say. For a season pass you need to do a compulsory course.

For pikes etc, many lakes around here. The smallest Lac des Taillčres is near la Brévine, also Lac de Joux near Vallorbe and very close by but in France near Pontarlier, Lac St Point.
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Old 24.11.2011, 00:06
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Re: Fly Fishing In Switzerland

Cheers Ace -

There are always two sides to the coin, and with Salmonid fishing (Trout, Grayling, Salmon etc.) the subject is sensitive, especially in Switzerland. With catch and release one is Fly Fishing for the sport of Fly Fishing. When someone fishes for meat, this is 'typically' for sustenance. Like Discordia, in my opinion, catching then eating fish is not what Fly Fishing is about. Fly Fishing is about being in nature, walking up and down rivers or lake shores, reading the hatches, tying my flies, being outdoors with friends who understand and enjoy Fly Fishing and enjoying the whole process involved in the sport of Fly Fishing.

Catching a fish for meat/eating purposes makes zero sense to me. For most fly fishermen, the sport and the processes involved outweigh everything related to killing and eating fish. These fly fishermen and women understand the their resource NEEDS preservation and the resource NEEDS people to release fish unharmed back into their natural habitat so they can produce potential offspring so that the Fly Fisherman can keep the sport and the processes alive for himself/herself and potentially for future generations. Catching a fish, pulling it from the water, knocking it on its head and eating it doesn't do much for preservation. You have 500 guys on the water every day doing this with just 2 fish per person. Numbers/Populations go down quick. This is a resource that is in steep decline.

Don't mean to be Apocalyptic or anything here ... but in general, when humans kill animals, they can kill in numbers and they can kill very, very fast. Especially when those numbers are finite and in a small country like Switzerland.

Then what?

Individuals who love and respect the sport and related processes of Fly Fishing understand that there is only one way. Preserve the rivers, preserve and protect the fish and their habitat(s), especially the high-demand fish which are typically all the Salmonids.
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Old 24.11.2011, 10:43
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Re: Fly Fishing In Switzerland

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Cheers Peet -

My father-in-law lives in Seengen. From what I understand, unless one has a SANA or lives in the Gemeinde, you cannot fish in either the Halwilersee or in the Aabach. Of course you could try and cast from the shore and what-not, but in general if there are any fish to be had, they would typically will not be rolling around the edges unless they are of the whitefish variety. One could check into it, but from In the Aabach, I have seen plenty of fish, but again, those are whitefish (i.e. Döbel / Barbel / Rivercarp). Not that these fish wouldn't be interesting, but rarely would they be interested in a fly. Typically corn, bread or maggots. For me, meat fishing is not really that fun since I do not want to keep the fish.

I heard there were some Bass in the Lakes down there too. Ticino isn't a bad option for fishing if it were put on a catch / fishing scale. There are tons of rivers and lakes down there to choose from and like Canton Bern and Canton Glarus, as a 'tourist' you can snag a day-license for a small fee. If you haven't yet, check out this website for more places to fish in Ticino (http://www.flyfisher.eu/en/)

Tight lines
What is a SANA?

I read a post (2011) from a guy on Petri-heil who fishes the Aabach for Bachforellen and Hecht, and he mentioned he caught his biggest trout in the Aabach (53cm). He says he uses Rapala "wobblers" - I assume crankbaits.

What are the rules in terms of using artificial lures like spinners and crankbaits? That is my world, large- and smallmouth bass fishing, and I do some flyfishing when my mind has forgot about the previous frustrating fly line tossing outing.
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Old 25.11.2011, 17:11
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Re: Fly Fishing In Switzerland

Peet -

SaNa (http://www.anglerausbildung.ch/) is the permit you get from the mandatory course one must take (only given in German & French) to obtain long-term (or short-terms I guess) fishing licenses for the Country (there are a few exceptions to this rule, such as Canton Bern, where anyone can get a day-license but they still must follow the general "SaNa rules" of fishing in Switzerland i.e. Catch & Kill). I believe the test costs over 100 CHF, is only on specific times of the week and must be booked by appointment. The whole cataclysmic process is 8 or so hours, with the test having 150 multiple choice questions ranging from quite easy to moderately difficult. Yes, you must have a certain percentage correct to collect the ultimate prize (I believe it is 80%). Once the SaNa is passed, you can get your Switzerland Fishing Permit for the whole of Switzerland. ** If someone knows different than the info above, please inform me **

A bit from the www.myswitzerland.com website concerning the rules/terms etc:

<I>
Laws have been promulgated to protect fish from over-fishing and loss of habitats. The Swiss Federation’s laws pertaining to fishery regulate the no-fishing seasons and minimum set for the amount of fish that can be caught. All rules pertaining to angling are also applicable to fishing in private water bodies such as private lakes, ponds or streams.

Permission is not required if fishing is done from the shore in the large pre-alpine lakes and the lakes of the Mittelland (ex. Lake Zurich, Halwillersee). Fishing authorities of the cantons will provide information about which lakes or rivers are on the list of those where fishing is permitted and which preconditions regarding angling equipment have to be met. In general, free angling is only allowed with a hand-held fishing pole with or without fishing tackle and with a simple fishing rod. The use of artificial bait and live or dead baitfish is not permitted. </I>

The only people who can fish on the Aabach "legally" are residents of Seengen and surrounding small towns with a SaNa Permit (i.e. Towns that the river runs through). If you are caught fishing illegally, there are steep fines and gear can be taken. For me, not really worth it. I guess it can also depend on where one fishes. For me, I have only scouted the stretch from the Halwillersee down through Schloss Halwill and downstream about 2-300 yards. I term these kinds of "rivers", like the little Aabach, drainage ditches or more less water supply as typically they are not for the proliferations of fish species and marine ecosystems, but for the benefit of the Landwirtschaft (i.e. Farmers)

BUT, I have seen fish in the Aabach in the 70+ range (whitefish).

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
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