This year has seen me visiting River Vipava on few occasions. One of the reasons has been the post-lockdown and therefore less guided fishing trips with clients in June, begin July, but also it has to be said, that my interest for specific stream grows exponentially, when wild fish populations are vital enough to justify the drive-in ;)
The first day at Vipava in June started relatively slow. The blue skies greeted me entering the valley and the scrubs and trees have bathed in green. By changing into waders, few fine rings have been observed, nothing wild though and absolutely no flies above the surface. A half-educated guess made me believe one of mid-sized caddises may be hatching. Few pyramidal splashes latter, the decision was made to tie on the pupa.
The fishing started good right away. By that I mean fishing – not catching. A missed take on a sighted solid marble (trout) and few smaller hybrids put to rest … hmmm, what a difference to former days at Idrijca, where trout have been harassing the flies. Was pulling the trigger just right with a deep caddis CDC pupa on one of mid-sized hybrids at the back eddy. The trick was to start casting well before the fish could see you waving the rod. But, on the flat part I was on, that wasn’t so easy to pull off. I mean, the longer (fishing) casts technically are not the real problem, even with the 3 wt and the obstacles behind, the mean thing is to control the drift app. 20 m away and by way of mending not spooking half of the shallow flat. Guess, if the hatch would be heavier, the action modus of the fish would enable me to get closer. But as it was, I could pull a smaller marmorata from under overhanging willows on the far side of the stream. Pure thing didn’t fathom what was pulling it from the safety of the shadows. Released a minute after. Sight fishing at its best, just size wise, wasn’t where I wanted to be…
Moving to the settlement Vipava. From the vantage position on the bridge, was spotting few nicer trout holding in a knee deep water, actively feeding. Heart picking up the pace and after swapping few nymphs and pupas, the final outcome was a duo of mid-sized natural rainbow trout to the net. Huh, just wasn’t getting together the ‘realization’ part of the game. One of the reasons, was that sighting the fish wasn’t that easy from the up-close. I could come into zone of 7-8 meters, but didn’t wanted to go tight-contact nymphing game. The wind was picking up and clouds have been seen racing above the Valley. Only a good quarter hour later, the mid-day shower has seen me running to a parking lot. A sandwich was filling the stomach and decision taken to drive the next highway stop down river.
The rain transitioned to the light drizzle and the water was slowly shadowing. The look from the concrete bridge has made me aware of a starting hatch, while the water was on a rise putting on a green-grey hue. A good sized hybrid trout spotted and put down with a mediocre drift of the Baetis mayfly ‘nymerger’ size 16. The same fly offered to a solid rainbow trout later, has done the trick, but hasn’t put a big smile on my lips, as I knew I was just not getting my act together.
Moving upstream and keeping my head clear, while trying to spot the rising fish and waiting for pre-evening Baetis hatch. The first rises were just soft swirls at or near the surface, not that easy to spot, when not fully attentive, especially in a rising water. Putting on a size 16 olive soft hackle fly and delivering it a half meter in front of the swirl, with a bit of slack has been enough to get in touch with the first solid fish. Another hybrid trout later, all the world seemed to get into fit. In the later stage of the hatch, have been able to observe two larger shadows cruising leisurely just below the surface taking regularly from the surface of one of the pools. Looking to get behind the fish, moved backwards and climbed down the steep bank, positioned well behind the rising shadow. First switch cast from the underhand side didn’t do the trick, the second cast and the corresponding drift was enough to steer the fish into taking the half floating emerger. The rodeo started, fish taking the fastest route downriver - direction sunken roots. Fortunately, the tippet held and the fish was changing direction, rushing the other way to the deeper parts of the pool. Few minutes later, I could steer her into the net and took the deep breath. Thinking about it, that fish made my day and everything that followed, was just an outro to the great wild-trout day at the water. One of the better days from the year.
Queen Vipava – longing for days like that.