Personally, not appreciating the fishing pressure some Slovenian Rivers are facin’ in normal times and will therefore always be on a lookout for new fishing opportunities other could provide. For me, the quest starts with a chance on wild trout fishing. Guess, it comes with age, to refine your fishing goals and to return to some rivers that hold a special memory in your heart. Not willing to lose direction, but you all heard the old adage, coming upfront in fly fishing talks: »Remember a good fishing this river, or the other, provided ten, twenty years ago? What an abundance of fish, etc. “
In today’s blog, am touching a small River gem Reka flowing through green Slovenian Karst. Possibly you heard a notion of Škocjan Caves, which the Reka River formed in finding its way through soft limestone and after kilometers of underground passage flowing into Adriatic Sea. Due to its exceptional significance, Škocjan Caves was entered onUNESCO's list of natural and cultural world heritage sites. In my memories, the fishing over there will always be linked with wild fish, which haunt me with their multi-color palete. Don’t mix this with trophy fish, although few larger marble trout are caught each year too by members of the club.
After a hiatus of almost a decade, have decided to revisit the River and try it again. Expectations were not very high, as the first visit came mid-March. The water temperature low due to last snow thawing on the higher peaks and some bora wind added into the mix. Nevertheless, the buds were slowly opening and first green was already showing through the grey-brown of first spring days, which made the day at the River enjoyable.
After the sun warmed the Valley, first takes indicated possibility of a good day at the water. The mood was getting higher. By mid-day the small olive mayfly hatch (Baetis) was slowly blanketing the surface and few smaller rings indicated sporadic fish activity. On one of the slower parts of the River, the fish was explosively taking tiny ‘sailboats’ from the surface and wasn’t willing to pass on an opportunity like this. Climbing out of the water and getting in again 20 meters above the fish. Naturally, I would have liked to get behind the fish, but due to a deeper pool below the position, that was not feasible. The fish was cruising in a circle of good meter, just under a dead tree. The decision was made instantly to tie on an unweighted olive nymph, which prove itself after three casts. The casts made well above the fish with a bit of a slack, which enabled some free drift, plus some tip shaking brought the fish into hard take. Noting big, just a wild hybrid trout of plus thirty, still slim from the long winter. Unfortunately, the hatch ended as soon as it started, therefore we moved to the C&R district, where before the late afternoon caught few smaller hybrids and ended the first day. The decision was taken already at the drive out of the Valley to return - soon.
Due to lockdown, this had to be postponed to mid-May. The first visit in mid-May was rather unsuccessful, bringing additional few, but small wild trout to the net. A tad better activity just before the evening, had me rethinking the strategy for the next visit.
A week later, just after a great day at Idrijca, decided to head back in the Valley again. The strategy was to go-on with the mid-day activity focusing on a hatch of big Mayflies and the activity window a good hour before the sunset. Late mid-day activity was hyped by just another hatch of smaller olive-grey mayflies, finally the fishing activity was getting a bit better with few smaller hybrids and marbles. I had to refocus on faster passages and in eddies behind larger boulders or in the back eddies, where I was picking them up at with dries and emergers. As the activity window faded, few takes came on large Mayfly nymph pattern. Still, no larger fish to the net. After a pause of a good hour, to put some solids into drenched body, have decided to move a good kilometer higher, for a look-out of potential spots, that will possibly provide some active fish in the late part of the day.
The first rings were observed only an hour and half before the dusk. Decided well before the time to explore the various caddis pupas from my caddis dedicated fly box. Guess the fish were cooperative to the idea, as the first larger rainbow trout of the day snatched the fly. Another rise and the next rainbow trout took it willingly. Waiting for some more action, while moving to the next spot. This time, a heavier fish intercepted the pupa on the slow swing and initiated a harsh pull to the alder roots in the undercut bank - Lost. Not willing to speculate the size or the species, but that memory of fish seeking refuge, will see me coming back - to the roots ;)
I started with the notion: “Is the River Reka still a gem of Slovenian Karst. “
Not, an easy answer to be given in return. In its simplest form the argumentation could go along like this: “Unquestionably, a gem of the River, whether worth of visit, dilutes down primarily to the individual preferences. “
For myself, I may say: “Eagerly awaiting next fishing day over there, when the water levels and along the fish activity gets just right. “
Explore, more, fellow angler!