In last post we shed some light on basic characteristics of marble trout (Salmo trutta marmoratus), from its distribution areal, to general description of the species, co-existence with other trout and specifics unique to the species. If you haven’t done so, it could be a good read, before you move to this sequel. The focus of this post is to provide you with directions to fly fishing for marble trout in Slovenia.
Locations and lies
We hear this assumption stated many times: “Big fish could be anywhere in the river. Such idea is usually regularly put out in the media and a theme of many fly-talk”. In general, big marble trout could be anywhere, but usually they’re not. To simplify it - trout have only a few basic requirements for survival: cold, well oxygenated water, protection or cover from predators, readily available food, and a break from the force of a stream’s current. In our guides eyes, there are two prime lies where big trout reside – resting and a feeding place.
The structure aka resting place is a number one big trout preference. The prime resting places provide both excellent cover and nearby feeding opportunities for the largest trout – providing premises for most of the day, and even through the night. The prime feeding places, besides prime lies – enable the dominant marble trout to get the most food intake with the least energy input. Insect hatches brings even large trout from the resting place into best feeding zone, where the insects are most concentrated. Although, in heavily fished waters, the large trout prevail by taking a bit less prominent feeding zones, nearer their resting place.
Vice versa, we may state juvenile marble trout take the less perfect places in the stream, where they may still cover their daily nutrition needs, with least resistance. The survival instinct pushes them away from best holding places where big trout reside. Due to territorial behavior of mature marble trout, not to mention big brown trout, they have to take hold in more exposed lies. The survival rate of small native fish in high-fish populated waters is relatively low. As a fisherman we are eager to pursue the mature fish, but should be aware that preserved population age-pyramids shall have the highest priority in natural and semi-natural kept waters.
Marble trout are somewhat alike brown trout, in being more solitary trout species. They commonly like to hide out alone, either near structure, in quiet backwaters or slower parts of the pools. Targeting marble trout, angler has to be focusing on eddies, parts of the pools, where currents meet and the insects in the drift are pushed downriver, but also prominent resting places, underwater logs, undercut banks, large boulders in the stream. Most of fisherman make the mistake to overlook the shallow eddies, longer glides, shallow sections just before the rapids – in our eyes the prime spots for your quarry. Therefore, reading the water, recognizing the prime lies, and fishing them properly, not only increases the likelihood of catching marble trout, but of catching trophy size trout.
Approach – reading the water
The way to spot more marble trout, but we generalize it for most trout species, is to systemize your observations – reading the water. The first step is to simply take few minutes before fishing to observe the water. Even, when fishing with the guide, a good place to start is to observe the river from vantage point, above the river, in order to not spook the trout at the feed or rest. The first thing we like to do is to look for a trout on feed. If you are able to spot trout rising, then is time to determine what they are feeding on. If no fish rising, we try to see if there is any insect activity starting, look for a potential trout positioning or movement in the depth. A good cue is to look for the trout shadow.
If you must approach the observation area upstream from the trout, take special care. Use streamside vegetation to cover your approach, crouch down and peek out from vegetation for a quick look. Always try to keep the sun at your back. Be aware of the eddies, where trout positions facing downstream. When approaching the area downstream from trout, use the vegetation to cover your silhuete an try to stay in the shadows. The approach to water shall be slow and gradual, making the second scan of the water, before tying on the fly.
The tactic of randomly covering the water may pay off in faster stretches of waters, in slower pools or longer glides we advocate to avoid such approach. In our guides opinion a much better tactic is to spot the trout, stalk and move closer by trying to decipher its feeding rhythm. As the marble trout are wary, we would like to mention the importance of wading carefully to avoid sending out vibrations that will send the trout scurrying for cover. Don’t resolve to wading before checking the wind conditions, current direction(s) and the obstacles behind you. Wade only if you cannot present the fly to the rising or nymph feeding trout, otherwise approach it from the bank and make an “educated” cast.
We’ve got you covered with basics information to lies and the approach to water. Now we leave you, to move in next post to tactics and techniques. The season is slowly approaching!
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