Fishing in Austria

Whether it’s the peaceful solitude of an Alpine stream or the challenge of a large river, Austria provides a rich angling experience set against some of Europe’s most stunning landscapes.
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About Austria

Austria is a landlocked country nested in the heart of Europe. Three fourths of the country are mountainous, occupying the eastern ranges of the Alps, and the country is known more commonly for its Alpine skiing than its angling opportunities. However, Austria’s crystal-clear lakes, streams and rivers provide a surprisingly rich fishing experience. The northeast of the country, where the capital city of Vieanna is located, is dominated by the mighty river Danube, with its numerous oxbows, tributaries, and lakes, where recreational fishing is often organized. As the rolling hills give way to the majestic Alpine regions, one finds mountain rivers and streams, that offer classic fishing for brown and introduced rainbow trout. Austria’s commitment to environmental conservation ensures well-preserved water bodies, making it a pristine angling destination. You are going to need a fishing permit, different for each federal state that Austria consists of. You may not need a license, however, if you’re fishing at an “Angelpark”, as special fishing operations are known. Finding your way about and following other rules and regulations may be difficult for a visitor. Hiring a local guide, or going to a commercial pond, is therefore the recommended route for anyone who wishes to experience fishing in Austria. The country’s continental climate, with warm summers and cold, often snowy winters, is also a factor to consider when planning a fishing trip.

Fishing Types

Austria’s numerous rivers, from the mighty Danube to smaller Alpine streams like the Salzach and Inn, offer fantastic opportunities for both fly fishing and spin fishing. Anglers can enjoy the scenic beauty while targeting riverine species. The Alpine lakes such as Lake Constance and Lake Hallstatt provide tranquil settings for targeting trout and char. These lakes are often deep and clear, offering boat and shore fishing opportunities. Both smaller lowland lakes and highland lakes are often stocked with fish, usually carp in the plains and trout in the hills, for the sake of paying clients. However, wilderness backcountry adventures are also available, especially in the Alps.

Targeted Fish Species

Austria's freshwater ecosystems are home to a variety of fish species that appeal to anglers of all skill levels. The Alpine rivers and lakes are renowned for their trout populations, including brown trout, rainbow trout, and the highly prized char, which thrive in the cold, oxygen-rich waters, as well as grayling, known for their distinctive dorsal fins and appreciated by fly fishers for their challenging catch. In the larger rivers like the Danube, fishermen can target pike, zander, and the European (wels) catfish, which grow to impressive sizes. The Danube also hosts unique species such as the sterlet, a smaller relative of the sturgeon, historically revered in Austrian cuisine. Other notable species include perch, roach, and the commoncarp, which is found throughout Austria’s lower altitude lakes and rivers, and enjoys a cult status among anglers in Europe.

Fishing Techniques

With its fast-flowing Alpine streams providing the perfect conditions for trout, Austria is a haven for fly fishing. Spinning is also popular, especially by beginners who don’t yet trust themselves to the sophisticated fly-fishing technique, and when trout fishing operators offer gear rentals, it’s mostly spinning gear. One hook rule can be the order of the day. Spinning is also favored in larger rivers and lakes, where anglers target pike and zander using various lures. The climate in Austria contributes to distinct seasonal fishing opportunities, including ice fishing, which becomes popular during the harsh Alpine winters on frozen lakes, particularly in regions like Carinthia and Styria, where pike and perch are common catches. And of course one can’t fail to mention carp fishing, which in Europe has evolved from simple coarse fishing with floats and feeders to a state of a high art - try landing a really big, trophy carp, and you’ll see what we mean!