Well last but certainly not least Matej had advised us that the Lipnica was a hidden gem worth a visit. He kindly got in touch with one of the local bailiffs to check water levels, they were all good so we set off for this little-known tributary of the mighty Sava. As yet none of us had managed a Brown trout which is surprising considering the amount of water we had fished. We had picked up breakfast from the now firm favorite bakery in Bled and set off for the venue. The sat nav was taking us one way but Graham thought it would be better if we tracked the river and have a look at the beat. I was driving and I can tell you now the roads were not for the faint hearted! At one point Del thought I was going to drive down a set of stairs and when he screamed out like a girl I was thinking the same. Anyways a long story short we managed to get to the spot in one piece with only a few of my nerves frayed.
We got out for a quick look at the river, this was a much smaller river than what we had been used to over the previous few days. It was running pretty clear despite a bit of rain the previous day. As we ogled a few fish over the bridge it was only apparent just how many fish were there when I started to drop a bit of my breakfast over the side. In the space of maybe twenty yards’ fish started appearing from everywhere. They were not just small fish either some pretty impressive specimens were showing their hand. I was to partner up with Del today and we were to have the water that we were looking at. Graham and Graeme were going to walk down to the confluence where the river meets the Sava and fish up. I told Del he was welcome to the water at the bridge as I had spotted a small run about fifty meters up that I really fancied. I stayed and watched Del for a bit taking a few photos before eventually moving up to the good looking run.
I decided to approach this run carefully on my hands and knees, keen to try and maximize the number of fish from it. Fishing the very tail of the run with a tiny Mary #18, Only a couple of casts and I was playing a spritely little Rainbow. I netted the fish and it was one of the prettiest fish I had taken the entire trip. The careful approach was paying dividends and more fish began to come increasing slowly but surely in size. I had to change to a heavier bug as the flow began to increase and the run became deeper. The change met with instant success and another few fish came to visit. I was in my element but running out of the water. Up ahead there was a small weir, always a promising sight. I dropped back to get Del and we approached the weir together Del on the left and me on the right. The first few casts saw us both take fish nothing very big but most welcome. We thought we were in for a beano but were brought back down with a bump when the takes began to dry up. By this point, we were both right at the edge of the weir. I was now changing through various weights of bugs to illicit a take. I had gotten to a .6 of gram heavy bug when at last the rod went over it felt like a better fish than the ones before and fought deep. As I brought it under control I could see it was a Brown trout outstanding the grand slam beckoned. As it slipped over the brim of the net I gave a triumphant shout of get in! Del only a short distance away did the honors with the camera. It was a stunning looking fish with the red spots looking really vivid. I was over the moon. Del moved back down to the run I had fished earlier and managed to winkle out another couple of fish. We were due to meet up for lunch and that time was fast approaching. So we moved back up towards the bridge we had looked down from that morning. Ten minutes till we were due to meet up it would be rude not to. I slipped into the water and dropped to my knees shuffling into position. Only a couple of casts and I was playing a healthy Rainbow, a great way to finish the morning.
Over lunch the other boys Graham and Graeme told us that they had not fared so well and that the water below the bridge up to railway bridge had not been up too much. After lunch, Del and I headed down to the railway bridge to start fishing up but the water was too skinny and narrow for both of us. I finished that section for nothing, when I had moved up I could see Graham planted on his backside pulling fish out on the dries regularly. Graeme was fishing just about every other bit of water. As I had moved up to the bridge to watch Graham from a higher vantage point he hooked into a cracker of a fish than ran wild through the pool. He eventually netted the fish which would have been in the 2-3lb bracket. It was a stunning fish and I got in close with the camera to try and capture its beauty. After the excitement of the big fish, we decided to explore the water above the weir. It was stunning water and fish though small were rising steadily. I had moved up into some sweet looking water but for all my efforts I could only manage a few sprats.
A change of location in the afternoon saw us in the middle of the beat. I was really pleased to be on hand when Del caught a Brown trout to complete the grand slam and got some nice photos of it. I spent some time sorting out a new tapered leader in preparation for the evening rise. Once I was set up though I decided to have a wee stroll up the river and found some quite magical water. Well, it certainly looked the part, I could not winkle out anything bigger than about 25cm. I had kind of lost track of the time and when I glanced at my watch I realized it was nearly five. I hot tailed it back to the car before the search parties were sent out. Graham reported catching a Brown trout as well so a great afternoon session was had by all. The decision was to stay on and fish the evening rise?
Matej had advised that we fished the confluence at the very top of our ticket. We duly drove up there and had a walk down to the river. There were already two anglers on the spot and it looked as though the river was on the rise. The clarity was pretty poor as well and there was much huffing and hawing as to what to do. This would be our last chance at an evening rise so if we packed up now that would be the end of our fishing trip. After ten minutes’ deliberation, we decided to call it.
This was my 50th birthday present from my wife and I could not have imagined receiving anything else that will make me grin from ear to ear for some time to come. I would like to thanks her from the bottom of my heart for putting up with not only me being away from home but my constant banging on about fishing. I would also like to thank Graham Lumsdon whose meticulous planning and sound decision making makes all the trips I have been on with him a real joy. Thanks also to Del Spry and Graeme Sharp for their company on the trip.
My final thoughts on Slovenia…. You will be hard pressed to find a meal that you won’t enjoy, the food was superb. Don’t stick to the beaten tracks The Soca and Sava are breathtaking but there are other venues within this country worth exploring. The people are very friendly and mostly speak very good English. There is a lot more to do than just fish, I know this may be a bit alien but I could easily come here with just a camera and be happy.