Let’s not start complaining of just another Easter lockdown at Slovenian Rivers… But here comes another Spring, where fly fishing normally lifts off, and here we were - stuck again in space and time. Also, this year’s guiding log looks pretty empty. One reason more, we want to use the spare time at our waters. Guess, that is why the first fishing day at Vipava, a day after lockdown, was so anticipated.
A week ahead the rainy days have brought some water in river systems and already start of the week the water levels were returning to April average. The only reservation I had was: “Where to start the day?” Rather an easy choice, as the lower part of river Vipava, is where I mostly get my fishing job done. Wild trout is what keeps me coming, whether a marble trout, a hybrid or a brown trout, all fit my bill. For those not in a knowing, the Vipava is mid-sized river, flowing through a green Valley, between vineyards with just a tad too much human interference into bank protection, which tamed its former meandering glory.
I could get all high by trying to put the mid-April at Vipava, but green is a great approximation of the stream and its surroundings. No early bird necessary, at least that time of the year, so I switched into waders well after nine. First stop at the bridge. One look upriver and already first hybrid spotted, levitating just below surface. Speedily, clipped the light nymph and CDC Baetis emerger on. The water was a bit on a high side still, therefore also the terminal part of leader was lengthened for a third to get slack into drift. It would be easy to exaggerate wildly, how easy it was to put the fly just right for the fish to take. In reality, first few cast were well placed, but the mid current took the line to fast to manage good two seconds of a drag-free drift. Few casts later the trout was down and out of water myself. Trying to spot the silhouette again. Fortunately, fishing gods were with me and fish rose few minutes later, three meters above first spot. This time aerial mending did the trick and two casts’ latter, the fish nosed the fly. The fight was a relatively lousy job, as the fish wasn’t fighting well. One look at it and fins not proportional to the size, gave out its provenience.
First Baetis sailboats spotted in the current and a dimple good five meter higher in the back eddy. Few minutes later, few nosing(s) later, the fly placed on right current lane and bang fish darted to the nearest cover. Obviously wild trout on and a good minute to bring it to the net. This time, the hybrid was spot on, good 16 inches of wild hybrid trout. A good mix of marble and brown trout gene pool, and the world was fine with me. Took another 10 minutes, nothing rising and decided to go full-head into dry fly fishing today.
Crossed the bridge and upriver I went. Early spring bloom at Vipava is just amazing and I caught this feeling right from the start. All dizzy for few moments, just feeling in harmony with birds singing, leaves rustling in the wind… First 5 minuting passed, no fish spotted, therefore no fishing for me. At the mid pool spotted the next solid silhuete hovering just below the surface. A change to the soft hackle, which proved many times on difficult fish, made the trick on the third pass. Just… yes, the fish spitted the fly after a fight of few seconds. Possibly, the reaction was too sudden or the fly just haven’t caught the maul. Nothing to worry, as I still had a full day in front.
Few minutes later, the hatch was getting in full swing and spotted a good number of wild trout on feed on a longish glide. A sight that made me all smile. A gray CDC emerger size 16 was tied on a long tippet and after putting the sling pack from a shoulder, wadded really deep into a slow moving water. First few ‘training’ casts were just for a measure, to not spook the three trout in front feverously feeding. Next few drifts on first fish were for real, but not easy to get them into taking. One of them intercepted the fly and trout started for the nearest cover. I had to stop it, not an easy task with a 7x tippet. At least old Winston three weight is supple enough to provide some cushion for hard spurts. First solid hybrid landed, soon later and interestingly one fish still on the feed, just a tad closer to the overhanging branches. This time I finally got my act together on a first drift. The fish took and all was tight; I call it a pumping action – pulling directly to the bottom - a feeling which transcends to the rod tip as constant bumping. As sure sign of a wild trout on as any. The fight went on for additional minute or so, few times the fish was brought close to myself standing in a water almost reaching the waders top, and the fish exploded into action. From nearby it looked like a solid brown trout, but hybrids are more common at Vipava. Right away, started to put more pressure on the fish and surfacing it, then the rolling action started, which finally made a fly unstuck from maul. Nothing wild, but one more LDR. Out of the water to shake off the cold and already spotted two more at feed. Life was that good that day! And so it went till the evening hatch slowed down. A successful day at the water. On a drive out, already planning my next outing.
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