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Fly fishing on the last day of the season in a never fished trout river in the Slovakian back country
The month of September is one of the best times for fly fishing in Slovakia. The feeding activity of the fish throughout the whole day makes it especially interesting.
Nights get colder and with it the water temperature sinks. The fish are waiting for first sunbeams warming the river and preparing the right conditions for the hatches to start. Under normal circumstances the September weather is stable and makes fly fishing trips to remote parts of the rivers safer and more comfortable.
The fly fishing season
on trout waters in Slovakia ends with the 1st of October. The last day of September has become the day when I say goodbye to trout waters by visiting new, not yet explored rivers or unknown parts of rivers I have already fished.
This year’s pick
was not hard to make. I was invited by good friend of mine, who happens to be the manager and ranger of my favorite mountain river in Slovakia. We could spend one day fly fishing on one part of this river, which was closed to public for past 10 years. 4 kilometers of virgin nature.
The fact that my flies would be the first artificial flies these fish had ever seen made the night before this trip almost sleepless.
Knowing that this was
the opportunity, which comes only few times in a lifetime, I tried to prepare myself as well as possible. I packed my favorite 6.6 foot fly rod, which would perfectly suit this small mountain river. A fine reel with a floating line, small dry flies and nymphs imitating duns hatching during this season of the year. Camera and small action videocam to capture and document as much as possible.
Waking up early and driving the 150 kilometers to our meeting point was no problem at all. Excited and motivated, I was only hoping and praying for good weather and water conditions. My prayers were heard and the weather couldn't be any better. Blue sky, no clouds at all were accompanying me on my drive to the promised destination, high up in the countryside of central Slovakia.
Meeting my friend
on time, setting our strategy and the fly-fishing exploration of this one of a kind mountain jewel could start.
Even though the sun was shining, this section of the river lies hidden in a deep valley and most its parts stay in the shadow. This was important for choosing the right fly fishing tactics. In the areas where the sunbeams make it through to the water surface, flies were hatching almost immediately. On the other hand, shadowy stretches had no signs of hatching insects.
To be able to fish both situations effectively, I decided to use a very simple method of using both a dry fly and small nymph, which is very popular in New Zealand.
The scenery of the river
and landscape was almost indescribable. The colors of the fall were visible on the trees and contrasted with the still green pine trees. Some of the trees had already lost all their leaves, showing us that the time up in the mountains is moving faster towards winter.
Full of expectation I made my first casts and the reality trumped my imagination, hence the name of this article “Perfect day”. In the first pool I could land a few native brown trout and one 50 centimeters big wild rainbow trout. That might not sound very special, but I knew that it was still very early and cold and would just get better.
The feeding activity
started increasing with the rising temperature. Almost every cast produced a take, not only in the deeper pools, but also in the shallows, faster water, slow stretches – basically everywhere. The fish were taking both the dry fly and nymph very aggressively and without any hesitation. Their fighting skills were remarkable and using a very fine rod made the whole experience even more intense.
Catching fish of every size was a clear sign of very healthy and natural trout and grayling population with no stocked fish.
After three hours of fishing I had landed more than 40 fish and missed or lost at least the same number.
I thought that two extra batteries and a 16 GB SD card would be enough for one day of filming. How wrong I was – after just three hours of my perfect fly fishing experience all batteries were empty. Doing a lot of underwater filming needed more energy than I thought. And the SD card was already full. Nonetheless I was able to film more than 36 fish takes, strikes, fighting, landings and releasing in just three hours, which is my personal record.
to explore this magnificent piece of nature and fished for another five hours. Pools, shallows and currents were full of hungry fish, all set in a fall colored scenery.
After eight hours of this unforgettable adventure on an untouched and unique mountain river hidden in the Slovak back country, we ended the day with more than 100 trout and a few grayling in total - not mentioning those lost.
I have been fly fishing
for 30 years, but until this last September day I could not imagine that I would be able to catch so many beautiful fish on such small river high up in mountains.