Flyfishing Slovenia

Flyfishing Slovenia: soca and tributaries

In august 2008 a team of biggame-fishing went to the beautiful country Slovenia. The team consisted this time at Bart Alders and Leon Pennings. We had been there before in 2005 and discovered the fishing could be very hard. Cristal clear water and considerable fishing pressure made the fish very selective in taking the flies.

We decided to go by car so after about 11 hours drive we arrived in Kobarid, Slovenia. We would sleep in “ hotel Hvala”. This hotel was mentioned in a Dutch fly fishing magazine and should be a very good place to stay. We met the owner Alec and made the fishing plans for the next five days. Alec told us the Soca was in beautiful condition and should be our first choice for the first days of fishing. What a punishment?!

We ordered a cold beer and slowly acclimated at our new environment! What a place to fish!

Picture 1: soca river

First the hotel and its people. Hotel Hvala is a very clean and a nice place to stay. The people are very friendly and helpful. Breakfast is very good, and too much to mention, what is served. All things are fresh and tasteful. The hotel also has a very good restaurant and is well known for its freshwater fish and local products! Wine of all kinds ( local as well) can be chosen by yourself, or when this is a problem, Alec can be very helpful in taken care of this problem! Each evening after a good day of fishing, it is heaven to enjoy a good meal and wine, of this kind and level! So Alec and your team thanks again!

So now the fishing. Bart had brought some 5.000.000 flies all in different boxes, so he had a hard time carrying them in 30 Celsius degrees. But what the hack, he had the best flies available in whole Slovenia! And he was positive in using all of them them, if necessary! His goal was to catch a so called “Marmorata trout”. They can crow to incredible sizes! And, what is most important, are very beautiful fish. We chose a nice part of the Soca and already saw some nice trout swimming . But catching them was another thing! You really had to spot the fish and then carefully cast towards them, with of course the right fly. This, I can tell you, can be a very hard. With some small sedges size 18 we managed to catch some grayling and a few trout of reasonable size.( up to 40 cm)  But what a nice nature and what a beautiful river. And what a big fish in it. You can see trout up to 80/90 cm swimming in the current and in the deep pools!

That evening we enjoyed a lovely dinner and wine. We slept well, after a good day of fishing, knowing we had four more to go!

The next day of fishing went pretty much the same as well as the evening dinner. But when we arrived this day, at a different part of the Soca, Bart saw a marmorata cruising a nice pool! After 2 cast he managed to hook up, but after a nice drill, the trout got rid of the hook. But nothing wrong with that I can tell! What a nice site. We also discussed what to do the following day? We heard trough a guide arranged by Alec, that a so called ‘’ Trophy part” could produce well. But again, also could be very difficult in catching our beloved trout. We decided to go there the next day.

After a good breakfast we arrived at this part of the river. Two Italians were already fishing a big pool in the beginning of the stretch, and were using the Tjech nimphing technique. Not my kind of fishing, but they were catching a few small fish. The guide had told us to search for places where you wouldn’t expect the fish should be. So we avoided the big pools and I decided to spot the banks for big trout. Carefully wading the current I saw a big rainbow lying just 10 cm from the bank taking dry flies!! This was really a nice size fish. With shaking hands and fingertips, I managed to tie a hairy sedge size 16 at my 12 tipped leader and went for the kill. You can’t afford to throw over this fish because he would be gone for shore. I casted the first time to short, so no problem, the fish was still there. Second time perfect cast and the sedge was disappearing in the fish his mouth. He took off like a rocket and a I realized I had problem. I love to fish dry flies with my 3 aftma fly rod, but this situation needed heavier equipment. So this was a challenge. Big rainbow, small leader tippet and fly rod. But what a fight. After 15 minutes  I managed to get the fish nearby and released it after Bart had taken some nice pictures.

Picture 2. Nice size rainbow 55 cm

Still impressed by this event I went a little bit upstream. And there it was, an ever bigger fish, sipping dry flies from the Soca. Again shaking fingertips and a sedge disappearing in a big rainbows mouth. And what a fight! This happened once more while Bart was still tying his leader tippet and fly to go into battle! He was too busy taking pictures. Thanks again Bartje!

That evening we stopped by a very nice local bar, which is situated at the Soca, and had our well deserved cold beer. What a day of fishing!

That evening when we went to sleep, it started raining. What would bring the following day?

After breakfast we arrived at the Soca and it wasn’t fishable anymore. Water level to high and dirty. We had to go another river and our chose would be the so called “Trebuscica”. This is a smaller river which flows into the Soca and isn’t affected as much from the rain as the Soca. Through the guide we arrived at this river witch wasn’t that easy to find! The river was beautiful clear and we already saw some nice fish swimming. Bart got a hook up with a nice rainbow beneath a bridge and broke his rod at this bridge when the fish suddenly got loose! Downstream we saw a nice fish swimming in a pool and Bart managed to catch this one on a dry. We managed to catch a few more and decided to take two of them for dinner. In the beginning of the river is a small restaurant and the lady would prepare the fish for us. Very good dinner with river few and mountains all over the place eating your own trout. Live couldn’t’ got any better for a fisherman!

Next day we went to the same river because of the rain and had another day of beautiful fishing!

The following day we already had to drive back for the Netherlands. After a nice ride we were back together with some nice memories!! I’m sure we will fish the Soca and his tributaries again another time !!

For more info : site hotel Hvala and restaurant