This winter downloaded immense amounts of snow right at its end. February was as magnificent as I remember snow-rich winters from my childhood. One day I even had to shuffle the snow three times as the clouds gave their best to blanket our small capital, Ljubljana. Even on 6 March, the latest shipment of white stuff came falling down as on doom’s day. The trout season which opens on 1 April on most rivers in Slovenia seemed promising with so much snow providing perfect water levels in about 1 month. Heavy snowing in early March made you wonder if the winter will ever end.
Anxious fly fishermen await the start of a season as kids waiting for the summer break. And we like to believe the same of trout. April weather gave the fish some additional slack as the rains poured down on deep snow covering the hilly river drainage basins. So it happened that our club’s annual CleanUp Event at the end of March was canceled due to heavy rains and higher, dangerous, river levels. Season Fly Opening was to be opened later in the month, at for those that prefer easy going fishing.
Having a small surgical operation at the beginning of March I was unable to move freely and definitely not in waders, I was somewhat bored during a month and a half of recovery and didn’t really await the season in my usual excited mood. To be honest, I was even lazy to go fishing. I managed to grab my rod and head to Idrijca River only in late April, for a brief afternoon session with my friend Urban. As with recent contest from KeepemWet Fishing: IT’S NOT JUST THE CATCH – “WHAT MADE YOU SMILE?”, it wasn’t about getting hero shots but just wading in, feeling the motion and freezing river flow around my lower limbs, and listening to a mantra of water trickle over stones and pebbles. That very first day of the season, I saw one fish, had one take, haven’t fought any fish, landed nothing but put my mind to rest as I watched her flow by.
One week later, after morning gardening in Idrija, I took myself for another afternoon joyride to the river, this time solo, to unplug and get soaked with smells of rocks, gin-clear mountain water, and flood leftovers of a sheep carcass hanging in branches scenting the air with the likes of my old & wet neoprene waders. On these sort “missions” I always go out of comfort zone and seek the unseen vistas of my River Idrijca. Zone B is by far my favorite; no other humanoids smudging my gaze down the rapids. After a couple of takes from rainbows, I finally landed a handsome brown trout, pure string, which I haven’t caught before this far downstream from Idrija. Nymphing was the game I thought until I noticed a huge rainbow frantically slurping and smashing dry flies. After some 20 dry flies and an hour of watching and pondering which one will be the 21st fly, I decided to tie on a larger CDC brownish-greyish mayfly from my friend, the professional fly tier Aleš Lukmar.
After a couple of casts right in the feeding zone of the fish that was changing river lanes and swimming across the river, I thought the shop is closed for the day. Crazy as its feeding movements were, the fish suddenly turned downstream and just crashed my fly, surprising me as I already took down my guard. Still, I managed to set the hook in and started praying for it no to get loose. Since I didn’t have any success on the first 20 flies, I thought that I should also use a thinner tippet, some 0,12 mm should suffice. With a fair sized rainbow that just went mental in the air, I tried to put as much pressure as possible to land the fish fast and not break the tippet. Smart fish used its huge body to make a bow-curve in the current to resist me. After it made few runs I finally landed it, a huge and beautiful rainbow buck. Haven’t caught a fish of this size on a dry fly in a very long time. Now the evening seemed perfect to call it a day.