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Bucket List Check: Doubs Zebra Trout On Dry Fly

The mystique Doubs river in the Swiss Jura is famous for its endemic zebra trout. For years, I haven’t managed to catch one of the super clever and spooky fish. It wasn’t until a friend from France, who prefers to stay anonymous, introduced me to some secrets I didn’t knew.

It's very easy to fall in love with the Doubs river. For me it's one of the most beautiful rivers in Switzerland. "Doubs" translated means something like "The undecided", which originates from the fact, that this river completely changes direction several times.

Still, I had a kind of a love/hate relationship with these waters for a long time. Every time, I have been there, the outcome was hours of nerve wracking stalking and zero fish. So, I urgently needed some advice.

Morning mood on the Doubs.

The friend from France

Lucky, how I am, I met a guy from France, who fished and studied the Doubs river for several years and cracked the code to catch nice tiger trout regulary.

Together with him, I went stalking trout and on the second time, I finally managed to get a glimpse of this rivers fly fishing potential.

Approaching the tigers

Nice Doubs zebra trout on the dry fly.
Don't expect the zebra trout to behave like you are used to from brown trout, and don't expect them to be at the same spots.

Without telling you every secret, which would spoil fun of the whole thing, some interesting learnings will may give you a head start.

  • The Doubs is a long-leader-river. Don't show up with your normal 9 feet 5x leader. Fishing a Leader of 20 feet or more is not uncommon.
  • Doubs zebra trout are not usual trout. Don't expect them to be at the spots, you usually associate with brown trout.
  • Doubs zebra trout behave different. Watch and study them.
  • Patience, patience and patience. Did I say patience? You will spook every fish in 100m range by entering the water. So, stay out of the water, approach the river ducked and in super slomo mode and wait - for a very long time.
  • Shiny stuff like your rod's blank, your chrome bling reel and so on will send alarming signals to the zebra posse.
  • The Doubs trout and also the grayling are well educated and super picky with flies. Don't use the common Size 14 golden bead head nymph.
  • This river is a small diameter tippet river. 6x to 8x is not uncommon.
  • "Coup du soir" which means something like: "the days glory evening hour" before sundown, is an oportunity, to catch one of the beauties, even if you are less experienced.
The Doubs holds beautiful grayling as well.
(They are protected, so keep em wet and handle them super carefully!)

Something very important to mention

Although the law doesn't prohibit you from fishing the Doubs river in the summer time, this is an ethical decision you really should think about. The water temperatures during the hotter months rises far up higher than 20°C which, for me and my friends, is an absolute no-go to go fly fishing. Fishing pressure in general is high on this river anyway, the best time for the Doubs river is the spring season. Autumn can be nice as well, but due to global warming, the time span you can go fishing, without feeling bad, is unfortunately getting shorter and shorter. But this is a topic for another blog post..

This is how you will spend most of your fishing time at the Doubs.

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