On Sunday, we discovered a fun, new “shopping” destination to buy fresh fish in Germany. The only catch is, you have to hook them yourself.
Tucked away in the tiny village of Pöhlde, a small lake called Angelsee is open year round for fishing. Popular with locals, the lake is stocked with half a dozen species of fish, including trout, carp, and eels. Though only a couple of meters deep, it’s fed from from an icy cold, fresh-water creek that flows from Harz National Park in a small arc around the lake. This provides a constant supply of nutrient-rich freshwater.
Our fishing guide for the day was a friend who’s an avid recreational angler, a sport fisherman with a checklist of species he’s caught and a wish list for those he hasn’t. Perhaps you’ve met him on the water before. A right proper angler, he’s the type of guy whose tackle is organized with the precision of a military doctor, who knows what kind of bait to use for which species of fish, and who actually uses more than just corn and worms.
Amazing, I know.
Though our friend, the Angler. has a permit to fish in Germany, we do not. The process of getting one is lengthy and costly, involving a class (30+ hours of coursework for $200+), an exam, a license, and finally, when the moons align, a permit. Since it’s unlikely Travis and I will ever tackle the bureaucracy of it all, it was off to the fish pond for us. Fishing Angelsee doesn’t require a fishing license.Don't have a license but want to fish in Germany? Try fishing Angelsee in Lower Saxony. You're pretty much guaranteed to hook a nice little rainbow trout!
Borrowing tackle from the Angler, Travis geared up our single fishing pole he bought at a pawn shop in Switzerland and dropped his line. Graciously loaning me a pole, the Angler put it together for me, then even threw on some nice wriggling maggots for good measure. Typically one who likes to do things myself, I was only too happy to let him bait my hook for me.
Worms are fine. Maggots? Yick.
With all three of our lines in the lake, we kicked back to wait.
Wait and relax.
With the sun shining and the cool crisp air, it was just nice to be outside. The caretaker at the lake had kindly allowed us to bring our dog, merely asking us to keep her out of the water so as not to scare the fish. While we fished, she chased her ball and ran off energy, which we appreciated.
After several hours without even a nibble, we were starting to wonder if we had bad fish karma. It’s one thing not to catch a wild trout, but in a stocked lake?
We eyeballed a couple of young guys on the adjacent shore as they landed several fish in quick succession, bagged their catch, and left. Moving around to their vacated spot, Travis almost immediately landed a nice, plump rainbow trout.
Within minutes, I reeled one in as well. I credit the Angler for my catch, since he spent a fair part of the day prepping my pole, fixing a snag in my line, and even baiting my hook.
Clearly, we’d found the sweet spot, but just as the Angler’s daughter was expertly scooping up my trout with a net bigger than her, the caretaker sent a holler echoing out to us across the lake that it was closing time.
The fishing gods were clearly not pleased with us. Bummed to have to leave right as we started landing plump tasties, maybe it’s for the best. If we’d caught too many fish, it would’ve gotten expensive quickly. Prices at Angelsee are fixed based on weight, so we paid €4.90 for just one of our rainbows that weighed less than a kilo.
The price was well worth it, though! We had a fun day outside, I enjoyed the refresher on casting, and it’s always fun to land a fish. Plus, once we got our rainbow home, cleaned, and fried in butter, garlic, and spicy red pepper flakes, he was really, really tasty.
Many thanks to the Angler for letting us tag along for a fun day of fishing Angelsee!
- Angelsee closes at 4 pm in the winter and 6 pm in the summer. If your favorite time of night is twilight, as it is for me, you won’t be able to enjoy it on the water at Angelsee. They’ll be closed.
- You’re almost guaranteed to catch fish at the lake. If you have kids who like to fish or just don’t want to hassle with getting a permit to catch wild fish in Germany, Angelsee is a nice option.
- Official website for Angelsee-Pölhde