Record angler on sheet ice.

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Intro

Fishing is a top attraction in the winter resort of Melchsee-Frutt. There is an abundance of big trout and char in the nearby lakes. After a record catch in summer, enthusiastic angler Ueli Fankhauser was keen to put in a repeat performance in winter too. This time with the help of local guide Gusti Berchtold.

Melchsee-Frutt

Melchsee-Frutt lies on a high plateau at 1,920 metres above sea level and is surrounded by mountains. The holiday resort is one of the most popular in Central Switzerland and is around one hour from Lucerne.

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Overview
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루체른 - 루체른 호수 지역
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Fishing paradise on Melchsee-Frutt.

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Ueli Fankhauser

For the past 18 years, the Lucerne angler has been fishing in Melchsee-Frutt. The highlight for him so far was in summer 2017, when he caught a Canadian lake trout measuring an impressive 94cm and weighing more than 9kg. A new record for Melchsee-Frutt.

Ueli Fankhauser with his record catch
Sunrise over the Melchsee chapel and Tannenbach stream

Six types of salmonid

Fish in the salmonid family are delicious and extremely popular. There are six different types living in the lakes on Melchsee-Frutt. Rainbow, lake and brown trout as well as just as many types of char. Brook trout and Arctic char as well as the king: Canadian lake trout. This is the fish that Ueli Fankhauser has set his sights on for his ice fishing debut.

Equipment all packed and off to find the fish.

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Winter equipment

The equipment for ice fishing is quite different to what you use for fishing in summer. First, you need a shovel to clear away the ice; then the hard work begins. Powered by hand, the drill’s super-sharp blades penetrate through the ice. 

The ice is particularly thick in spring. It was 1.90m only this year.
Gusti Berchtold, fishing guide in Melchsee-Frutt
Drilling the hole takes quite some effort, but this makes the stillness of fishing afterwards all the more enjoyable.
Ueli Fankhauser, record holder at Melchsee-Frutt

The ice fishing rod

A short special rod that is around 70cm long is used to fish on the ice. As it is only possible to fish in the drill hole, there is no casting and a longer rod would therefore just be a hindrance. The fish also has to be pulled out of the hole by hand. Anglers should therefore sit within reach of the hole.

Huge choice of lures

Vertical fishing is what it’s all about. This literally means you always drop the line dropped down vertically. What you attach to the end of the line as bait is less clear-cut. Depending on the feeding mood of the fish, this might be a jig (rubber fish with lead head), a soft artificial fishing lure that is attached centrally to the line or perhaps even bait fish.

The catch is always the best bit.

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First success on the ice for the record angler 

Ueli Fankhauser didn’t have to be all that patient. Thanks to Gusti’s tips, it took him around 1.5 hours to get a bite from a lovely namaycush, as the Canadian lake trout is also known. With a length of 55cm and weighing in at more than 2kg, it was an impressive specimen.

You have to wait until the line is fully reeled in to see what is on the hook. Totally different to summer fishing.
Ueli Fankhauser, record holder at Melchsee-Frutt

Finding fish…

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… it is a matter of experience

In summer, little waves, birds circling overhead and currents often reveal where the fish can be found. Winter offers up no such clues. So, it is important to know the waters including the structures and inflows beforehand. Unless you go with someone like Gusti!

“Mister Fish”

Nobody knows the waters around Melchsee-Frutt better than Gusti Berchtold. For the past 20 years, he has been a fishing warden, teacher and guide. Having grown up here makes this all the more special for him.

Showing guests from all over the world my stomping ground is simply wonderful.
Gusti Berchtold, fishing guide in Melchsee-Frutt
That was such fun, and really quite different to fishing in summer. I will definitely be back.
Ueli Fankhauser, record holder at Melchsee-Frutt
  • Around 1,000 fish … were caught last winter.
  • 800 ice anglers … try their luck each winter.
  • 92cm … is the length of the largest fish that has been caught here.
  • 16 years … is how long guide Gusti Berchtold has been taking guests on the ice.

Savour the tranquillity – recharge your batteries.

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Ice fishing for novices and experts alike

The fishing guides on Melchsee-Frutt look after their guests, accompanying them on the ice and sharing top tips. The offer includes a daily fishing permit, which anyone can buy, and all the equipment. Snow-shoes are essential as they virtually eliminate the risk of breaking through the ice. This trip can be booked online and costs CHF 50 per person.

The Frutt Lodge & Spa and Family Lodge in Melchsee-Frutt

Fish prep made easy

All anglers have access to a fish cleaning station, where they can clean their catch themselves. There is even a vacuum sealer available they can use. Guests of the Frutt Lodge & Spa and Family Lodge also benefit from an additional great service free of charge.

From lake to plate

Fillet, vacuum pack and freeze. Staying guests can use this complete service free of charge. This means trout and char will keep for a slightly longer trip home. And that’s not all. On request, the hotel chef will prepare any fish guests have caught for them. This ultimate fresh fish is available for CHF 20.