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fishing the alpine rhiver rhine

Time to Harvest

The Alpine River Rhine above Lake Constance is the longest undammed part of a river in the Alps. Nevertheless the dam at Reichenau built in 1968 has destroyed the fish populations below and the pond and release of dozens of power stations in the tributaries above and below the dam has contributed to the situation as it is today. In regard of the fish population the river is only a shadow of what it was like in ancient times. Even 50 years ago a good fisherman could catch dozens of brown trout and grayling a day. Today the river is more or less dependent on stocked fish as self reproduction in the Alpine River Rhine has turned out to be impossible. More or less because there are still fish from Lake Constance that migrate up the river to spawn. Whitefish (coregonus lavaretus) are plentiful in Lake Constance due to stocking programs of the local fishery boards. A part of them migrates up the river for spawning in the river not knowing that their eggs will later be destroyed by the power stations whos deadly gush of water makes the river rise up to more than one meter 2-3 times every day will wash the eggs away or cover them with silt. Some of the lake resident and also the stocked river resident rainbows spawn in the river with the same success but a big part of them enter the spring creek like tributaries in the Principality of Liechtenstein, Sankt Gallen and Vorarlberg and reproduce successfully there being protected in these streams from October to April which makes them enter and leave these tributaries without being caught by anglers.

The Alpine River Rhine has a quite good waterflow between middle of September and April which makes fishing possible there. Until the beginning of November the season for rainbows and whitefish is open in Vorarlberg while the fishing for brown trout is closed after Sept. 30. In Sankt Gallen and Liechtenstein the trout season closes Sept. 30 but the whitefish can be caught until the end of October. After that these fish are closed for a period of 6 weeks due to spawning. Only the grayling season is open till the end of January. However there are only a few grayling caught every year due to the present pond and release situation. The best time to fish the Alpine River Rhine is in September and October when it is time to harvest some white fish and eventually some of the big rainbows that show up close to the end of the trout season. You might have also the possibility to catch the one or other bow at the beginning of the season(after Feb. 1st) but most of them have already gone back to the Lake again. So use the chance and enjoy the river in autumn!

Copyright © Günter Feuerstein