Fishing in the mountains – Lepena
With the sun gleaming and an hour or so’s drive ahead I sat eagerly waiting to get fishing. Lepena was the venue for the day and what a stunning part of Slovenia it is. It has a very Austrian feel to it with scenery and views to match. After arriving and purchasing our fishing permit, we got tackled up and set off.
The previous days river was stunning, but Lepena was another level. Snow capped mountains for a back drop and an emerald coloured river winding down through the valley. And not to forget clarity as you’ve never seen, making UK chalk streams seem dull.
The area in which we started our days fishing comprised of two relatively deep pools. Each had fast water rushing over large rocks before entering each pool. A number of fish were visible and showed signs of interest towards Surface food. Each pool was extremely clear and bared very little in the way of flow. This proved to be a problem as the residents had enough time to effortlessly move with the flow inspecting each fly we presented.
Change of tactics.
After multiple rejections on the rise and no interest showed to any of the nymphs presented we decided to change tactics slightly. The entrance to one of the pools (one in the above picture) was fast and swept tight against the large rock formation on the opposite bank. the water there was around 10 feet deep and under the broken surface a handful of large fish were visible. Studying the fish for a short while I noticed a couple occasionally sipped off the surface in the faster water barely making any disturbance before falling back into line. Stimulator was definitely the weapon of choice for this scenario. So after tying on a fresh tippet I stuck the fly on and gave it a cast.
Dealing with drag.
The cast was a tricky one with a swirling eddie in front of my feet and two sections of fast water beyond that. Obviously the fly needed to be in the furthest one away so getting the drift right took a fair few attempts. The fly was near invisible throughout its drift so worked on the basis that any visible rise would require a strike.
Eventually the cast came together and the drift was swift with no drag, a quick splash and a glimpse of a tail was enough to strike at. An angry rainbow chugged around on other end with the occasional flying display with some strong shakes of the head. First fish of the day took some time and effort so off we went for a dinner break.
After a quick bite to eat we moved down onto the river Soca for a few hours. Climbing down the steep bank from the road we broke through an opening in the trees. Again the river was absolutely stunning. Nearing the water’s edge we could see there was around 20 feet of slack water before hitting the main flow. Quite quickly I noticed a rise on the edge of the faster water.
Still tackled up with a Stimulator I jumped onto a rock which gave me a good vantage point to cast from. First cast I watched a fish appear from no where and absolutely smash the fly from the surface. The fight was short-lived as the hook slipped when nearing the net. The next couple of hours was spent casting into the faster channels and carefully tracking your fly through the fast waters. Many a take never connected or the hook pulled almost instantly after making contact with the fish.
At dinner we had discussed the idea of fishing the Soca, then returning to the Lepena and fishing into the evening. With this we decided to move back upstream and off up the Lepena as everything had began to go quiet.
A Marbleous evening on the Lepena.
Arriving back at the Lepena we decided we’d start where we left off. A storm had followed us up the mountain and was just starting to catch up with us. The heavy rain took the calm out of the pool which sat in front of us and made me wonder if it may help with a fish making a mistake. Not pushing my luck I decided I’d still cast into faster water and let it drift into the calmer section. After a few casts it seemed as though no one would come and take a look. But then a Rainbow who previously had shown no interest couldn’t resist this particular drift.
Moving further up as the evening drew in we started negotiating steeper faster runs of water with lots of rock formations. I was in front of Richard and came to the Goldfish bowl first, the rain was still spitting and as it began to stop the pool came alive. I cast my fly into a section of water about 6 inches deep which glided over a rock into the main pool. As it entered the pool I watched a fish rise from around 15 feet below and spiral its way to the top before sipping the fly from the surface. The fish gave a spirited fight, the unhooking isn’t worth talking about as the fish tied me in tangles and caused all sorts of havoc to my leader and fly line.
With all the activity in the pool I turned and whistled to Richard to get him to move up here quickly. I stepped aside and let Richard have a cast, which after some work got a very confident take. Quickly downing my rod to man the net I moved into place. As the fish neared the surface I was gob smacked, I turned to Rich and said it’s a Marble, I’m sure. In turn this caused some panic, with Richard in not so many words telling me to hurry up and net it!. Indeed it was a Marble which now sat in the net and gave us both a great big grin!. The timing of the capture couldn’t have been any better as we were both just considering calling it a day. For those of you who have never seen a marble in the flesh then I must say you are missing out. They are very peculiar fish and very attractive in and out of the water, it is easy to see why these fish grow so big when you see their habits in person.