The Ambleve is one of the most splendid rivers in Belgium, so in our Rodtrip mindset we wanted to show and share our views and experiences during the 2014 season on this particular riversystem.
The Ambleve is situated in the Belgian Ardennes, next to the Haute Fagnes region. It’s a medium sized river full of schist rocks, creating some perfect spots to hunt for brown trout and grayling.
It’s important to know that one Belgian river can be devided in several beats, owned by different fisheries. So it ain’t always easy to find out which license should be obtained where. Luckily most of them offer no-kill day licences, which enables us to explore several beats on different rivers.
Rodtrip chose the fishery called ‘La truite Stavelot’, a rather young organization keeping up to 30km of riverbank on the Ambleve and two of it’s tributaries: l’Eau Rouge and La Warche. These sections are all taken care of with a spirit of sportfishing and the fullest respect for the fish who live in them.
The majority of banks are very natural and the surroundings are just astounding, offering a true solitude fishing experience on top of it. If you fancy the beat beneath the ‘Rocher de Warche (Warche Rock)’ the river is simply breathtaking.
On one side you have green meadows and on the other side of the river is a magnificent forest. It was our favourite beat to shoot our rodtrip because of the sheer beauty of this spot, but also for the quality and quantity of fish.
When continuous rainshowers or the upstream dam give you high and dirty water, there’s always the possibility to fish the Amblève’s tributaries : l’Eau Rouge and La Warche.
The Warche is situated between woods and an industrialized village, which visually might not be the most attractive part of ‘La Truite Stavelot’s beats, but there’s a very healthy population of good sized trout. As for the l’Eau Rouge, we’re talking small river about knee deep. The wild trout which inhabit this stream are very challenging but rather small in size.
When you fish the beat at the centre of Stavelot village, you’ll encounter grayling. Jeff tells us his stories about good catches on the Czech nymph method with his friend Pieter. Other species are present on this fishery like barbell, ide and even pike. But it is mainly a salmonid river.
Our Rodtrip team went several times fishing the Stavelot-beats in 2014. The most memorable day was at the end of april, when water levels were perfect and we encountered very active surface feeding fish.
The trout were taking sedges eagerly. We had lots of fun fishing very nice trout on a dry, casting for the bigger ones feeding under branches, in front of rocks or currents close to the bank.
If you fancy to go out there, do take some deer hair sedges, klinkhamers, mayflies, and small BWO. Should rises not occur, the Ambleve can be rewarding in fishing wet flies.
In the more powerful currents, nymphs fished under the rodtip will allow you to fish the deep holes.
A handy tip that we learned in these conditions, was fishing a big dry fly with a small nymph 80 cm underneath it. If you read the stream and fish upstream, we’d be surprised you’d not connect to some fish. And if the fishing is really hard, insist fishing very near to hot spots.
Depending on the different beats, a rod in the 8 to 10″ class, for a fly line rated 4 to 5 is ideal. The 8″ is for fishing under the trees avoiding too much trouble when casting or fighting these pure liquid gold bars.
The 10″ is of course for nymphing and Czech nymphing under the rod tip. The length of this rod will help you in controlling your flies, while still being a little further away from your quarry.
The Ambleve river is definitely worth a stop-over when passing Belgium, especially for you flyfishermen and women out there. Clear water containing a good stock of healthy fish situated in a beautiful region. What would you want more, right?
We’d like to say thanks to the current fishery management who have been improving the quality of fishing nonstop over the last three years. Thanks to their efforts and time spent, they are able to offer us lots of quality beats.
We wish them good luck and hope they’ll be able to continue the good vibe in flyfishing, and protect our rivers and fisheries along them.
No kill : 30€ (1 year)
Year license , wading : 50 €
Day ticket : 12,50 €
They also offer the possibility to fish a lake at the Stavelot Abbay, which inhabits a good population of pike and white fish.
License lake for fishermen who own the river license : 20 €
Year license lake only : 50€
Day ticket lake : 10 €
Feel free to check out their website for further details on prices and reductions for youngsters.
- Flyrod 8 to 10’ for flyline 4 to 5
- Waders, and boots with studges or felt (very slippery bottom)
- Wading stick for the less experienced or less mobile people
- Spare clothing should an unvoluntary bath occur.
- Polaroid glasses to read the water and hidden rocks.
- Deer hair sedge
- Pheasant tail
- Czech nymph
- Gold ribbed hare’s nymph