Flyfishing in SloveniaPosted on 10 September 2011 by Vincent
Just imagine your perfect trout stream. What will it be like? Maybe beautiful and clear water? Maybe white sandy bottoms? With some skatered rocks in there? Some nice variation in river structure? Some remote spots where you won’t find anyone else? A lot of insect life? Beautiful surroundings? And to top it all off, some big, beautifull, but difficult to catch fish? Well, look no further and read on!
To most of us this will sound like a river you will never find. Well, I can assure you, these rivers DO excist. Enter Slovenia!
Last week I visited two Slovenian rivers. First we fished the Sava Bohinjka river, near Bled. And later on we would fish the Savinja river near Mozirje. We knew it would be difficult due to low waterlevels. Usually I fish the Sava Bohinjka on the opening weekend, the first weekend of april. Waterlevels are somehow always perfect in april. So I didn’t know how fishing would be on the Sava Bohinjka with low waterlevels.
As expected waterlevels were lower than normal, but still fishable! A good reference point is the bridge near the clubhouse from anglers at Bohinjska Bela. You can hover over the next image to see the difference in waterlevels. The first one is the summer level, after hovering you see the april waterlevel:
(hover over the image to see difference)
Licenses in Slovenia are a bit expensive. Cheapest day licenses are around €30,-. Best rivers are around €90,- a day. Normally I would say that’s too expensive for a “normal” trout stream. But in Slovenia most rivers are very wel maintained. By maintained I don’t mean the riverbanks have nice sidewalks and they stock the rivers with stocky rainbows till the horizon. Because Slovenian rivers are populair flyfishing destinations, the rivers have to be stocked with new fish. They have very solid stocking programs. Wild local fish are caught and they fertilize those eggs in local hatcheries. The hatcheries are fed with water from the river itself. They produce realy nice and beautiful semi-wild fish. Furthermore there’s a good anti poacher system. You can expect to get licence checks every day. Should they catch you fishing without a licence, or killing fish without the right permissions, you have a big problem.
Another good thing is, rainbow trout can reproduce in a lot of Slovenian rivers. Because rainbow trout aren’t native in Europe, most rivers don’t have reproducing rainbow trout. When fishing the Sava Bohinjka, with a bit of luck you will find some realy nice wild rainbow trout.
Small, but wild!
Nice wild rainbow from the Sava Bohinjka
We stayed at our good friend Emil Pintar, who has some nice apartments for rent. Finding a good place to stay isn’t very hard in Slovenia, it seems everyone has rooms for rent, and they all have one thing in common: they make sure you feel at home! And for a fair price.
Fishing on the Sava Bohinjka is always a lot of fun. There’s plenty of fish in this river, and the river is one of the most beautiful rivers I have ever seen. Due to the low waterlevels fishing was somewhat difficult. We saw a lot of fish, but catching them is a different story. Some fish where taking dries, some would only take a heavy, but very small nymph.
Iron blue paradun, one of my favourite dries!
Sava Bohinjka, if you don’t mind walking a bit, you can find some beautiful unspoiled fishing spots, full of grayling
Sava Bohinjka is full of nice grayling
Lovely Slovenian “lady of the stream”
Rivers are full of food, you can find stonefly nymphs under every rock
Beautiful canyon part of the Sava Bohinjka
Wild rainbow on a dry fly
Huchen (Hucho Hucho)
The Sava Bohinjka is also famous for it’s winter Huchen fishing. I haven’t had the opportunity to fish for these magnificent salmonids, but I had the luck to see several of them. Huchen can exceed 150cm in lenght, and weigh over 50kg. They are close relatives of the Mongolian taimen. Huchen season is from 15 november to 15 february. So no fishing fishing for huchen this time.
Can you spot Hucho Hucho?
Our host/guide Emil Pintar with a respectable sized Huchen
The next river was the Savinja. I have never fished a river so full of fish.
A lot of fish in the clear water of the Savinja…
Long story short: We caught massive amounts of beautiful trout. Rainbow trout, brown trout and some grayling. There were also some nice trophy-sized rainbows in this little river. Could the fact that the next world championships are held in Slovenia have something to do with these massive amounts of fish? Don’t know, but we sure had a lot of fun!
Nice brown from the Savinja, on a heavy tungsten jig nymph
Also a few grayling
Rainbow from the Savinja
Good sized rainbow
Stocky rainbow, but a lot of fun on a 4-weight!!
Lot’s of browns in the Savinja
Nice colors on the rainbow trout
They loved my Iron Blue Paradun for sure!
We stayed at the tourist farm Bukovje. Perfect accomodation for an incredibly low price. They have their own distillery, so make sure you try some of their home made schnaps or wine!
When does the next plane to Slovenia leave?
That’s the first thing that comes to mind when you arrive back home. Flyfishing in Slovenia is an amazing expierence, and I can recommend it to everyone! Slovenia has a lot more amazing rivers to offer, so they can be sure they will se me again, soon! Maybe a big Hucho Hucho next winter?