River Savinja (Slovenia) 


I had the chance to visit the Savinja during the Conclave of the International Fly Fishing Association (IFFA) in October 2008. Great company and great fishing. Here a reports of the day.

The Savinja rises in the north-west versant of the mountain Oistritza, which belongs to the Kamnik Alps mountain range, near the border to Austria. The river flows for 96 Km through the Savinja valley and it ends into the Sava River at the town of Zidani Most. It is a typical alpine stream, with stony bottom and clear cold waters. The water is categorized as 1st class quality from the spring to the village of Radmirje, that means that all the reserve falls within the 1st class category.

The river is surrounded by the scenic limestone alps and their beauty was enhanced, in this period of the year, by the chromatic effects of the Autumnal season.

We had the opportunity to fish the Savinja just one day but it was clear that the potential of this river is 1st class in regards of fly fishing. The dry fly offered good chances despite the fact that we did not come across heavy hatches...

... however when it came to catch the largest fish, the nymph ruled.
In the picture the river downstream the village of Luce, the regulation allows in this lower part, to keep one grayling (above 50cm) or 2 rainbows, the brown trout is protected throughout the all year.

The upper part of the stretch, upstream of Luce, is a trophy area and the regulation is strictly No Kill.

I started fishing under a bridge where a sort wooden catwalk allowed me to to gaze in the middle of deep pool. At the first cast a nice rainbow fell prey of a caddis larva nymph, next I managed to get a couple of more trouts only reducing the size of the hook and using a 16 sedge nymph. Bigger trouts were in sight but the fish seemed to have become very suspicious after a few catches.

The green water reflecting the lushy vegetation was very inviting and I kept on catching trouts - mostly rainbows - in almost any riffle or pool by using small to mid sized nymphs. Key factor for success was to sink the nymph down, very close to the bottom.

While I had a small rainbow on the nymph in shallow water, a huge dark shadow materialized from some riffles nearby and bit the small trout at the end of my leader, an impressive 60 cm. bronwnie that alarmed by my presence, spat the small fish and disappeared. Following attempts to get in touch with her returned some mid size browns and some more rainbows but the "giant" did not show up anymore. .

The more one proceeds upstream, the wilder becomes the landscape.

Here each riffle can hide a capital surprise.

It is not always easy to convince the huge torpedoes feeding on the drift at the bottom.

In the picture Bob from Montana, who got the largest fish of the day, this monstrous rainbow - estimate 4 Kg - caught on a tiny 18-hook nymph ! Bob is a very experienced and passionate fly angler and the soul of the IFFA (International Fly Fishing Association).

The day was so fast over that the wish to come back and explore the other areas of the reserve is still alive. Worthy to mention the lunch at the local fly fishing tavern, where it is possible to have a meal on the terrace, enjoying delicious cutlets and the local beer.

Many thanks to Milan Wutte (fly fisher and fishing guide) who drove us and showed the best places on the Savinja.