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Hot summer in Slovakia
Maybe the best refreshment for a fly fisherman during very hot summer.
This year’s summer in Slovakia and in other parts of Europe was extremely hot. Many rivers struggled under very dry weather conditions and some of them almost dried up.
Fish behavior over these tropical days was consequently passive and for fly-fishing interesting only in the early mornings or late evenings due to the cooling down of the water. The question was: what should a fly fisherman do during the course of day under such conditions?
Should he wait for few minutes of morning and evening hatch, or should he try to catch those passively behaving fish?
The second option led mostly to frustration.
Paradoxically, thanks to such extreme weather conditions, I was able to find one of the most beautiful fly fishing destinations in Slovakia. Sometimes you need these external influences to go and try something new.
In my case it was the search for high-lying area in central Slovakia with river-systems in which water supply is independent from rainfall – known as spring creeks.
After some internet and Google-earth research I made the choice. My pick was a small mountain river in a natural reserve, far away from any civilization. In central Europe such a large uninhabited area is almost a wonder.
The air temperature
in the town was climbing to 40 degrees Centigrade, and after purchasing the day license my adventure could start.
The car drive to my fly fishing destination was in itself amazing and overwhelming. It is only allowed to drive in the area with a special natural reserve car permission. The road leads through serpentines and thick forests, and after 20 minutes I arrived to the spot.
I will never forget the impression I got after the first look at the river and untouched landscape surrounding it.
Amazed and impatient
I got ready to explore this unique river system hidden in the Slovakian mountains and forests. The air temperature had dropped to something more adequate for the elevation, but was still about the tropical 30 degrees Celsius in the shadow.
For such occasions I use special wading equipment. Instead of wearing waders you put shorts over thermo pants and wear wading shoes. I brought this idea home from New Zealand. Kiwi-style wading is very handy especially in hot weather or on long distance fishing expeditions. You get cooled down by standing and wading through the river - and it dries fast.
Backpack with provisions,
photo-camera, fly rod and I was ready to go. I entered the river and moved upstream.
The river flowed through a narrow canyon. On both sides were majestic pine trees. The river banks were overgrown with huge butterbur plants, some bigger than me. After about 200 meters I came to the first pool, so beautiful and perfect. Just a dream pool.
On the left side of this pool there was a high cliff, stretching deep under the water. A fallen tree reached from on bank to the other was, witnessing the power and rules of nature in this uninhabited area.
The water temperature
was enjoyably refreshing with its 10 degrees Celsius, very clear and beautifully colored due to the multicolored river stones. The surface was gentle and quiet. No signs of hatching insects.
I was examining underwater stones to find the right fly pattern. My choice was a small black nymph imitating a dun larva.
After few casts I had the first bite, strike and my first fight with one of these native wild brown trout was on.
Their power was truly amazing compared to their size. I haven't seen such nice colored native brown trout in a long time. Then natural reserve warden told me few days later, that there are only native fish. No stocking was ever done.
I released this unique brown trout shortly after quick photo session and tried my luck again. Despite the extremely hot weather brown trouts were actively feeding. A lot of takes and three more trout all about 35 centimeters or about 14 inches was the result from my first fly fishing experience on this highland mountain river.
At first I thought
it must have been pure luck, that I found such a great fishing spot just after few minutes wading and that the next good pool would be far, far away from the first one.
But to my astonishment the opposite was the case.
Only few steps upstream, behind a river curve, was another even more beautiful pool before my eyes.
And again full of active, strong, fighting, wild brown trout jumping out of water and trying to free themselves from the fly and using every possible underwater obstacle to escape.
It was almost
a dream come true: The combination of untouched, majestic landscape and strong, healthy brown trout.
Constantly these words came out of my mouth: “It cannot be true” as I hurried to explore more of this unique mountain river.
Never before had I been so lucky to fish and explore such a river-system. I was able to cover only 2 kilometers of more than 17 kilometers long river stretch during 10 hours of fly fishing and upstream wading. That is one mile and a bit out of 10. The reason was that there were so many great spots and pools to fish within such a short distance.
I caught nice brown trout not only in perfect pools, but also in shallow river parts. There were trout hiding almost behind every bigger stone, fallen tree or drowned branch.
I didn't want to stop to fishing and exploring, but the darkness came and reminded me that I should pack my stuff and hit the road back to car.
After this experience
I realized how important nature as God it created is to me. It is not only important how many or how big fish we catch, but in what kind of environment we fly fish.
I also like
to shoot landscape pictures so I took use of this opportunity and got some nice pictures.
„He who seeks finds“ - sometimes it is necessary to be moved by external circumstances to go and search still hidden, untouched rivers. In my case it was hot tropical days.
My effort was rewarded in the form of “Maybe the best refreshment for a fly fisherman during very hot summer”.
You can find more information about fly fishing in Slovakia through the links on this page.