River Soča (Slovenia) 


The Soca has its source in Slovenia on the Julian Alps, in the Triglav National Parks. It runs through Slovenia and then Italy (where it is called Isonzo) for 140 km and then flows into the Adriatic Sea near Monfalcone. Here a report of one day fishing in the high part of the Soca, in the reserve that stretches from the bridge n the village of Vas na Skali down to the bridge of Cezsoca.

The Soca River is definitely a unique gem of nature: the turquoise colour of the water is so intense almost looking unreal. Its rich fish population made of golden grayling, marbled trout and brownies along with a number of hugh rainbows, makes it a place each fly angler should visit once in life.

We had the chance to fish in the Soca one full day. After arriving at the river and having agreed to meet for lunch at the bridge on the road, we spread in direction of the water. After crossing a small suspension bridge I begin to study where to start fishing. The day is very bright and the water crystal-clear. A glimpse of small rings in a flat current. I approach the bank with caution and after a couple of casts, here it goes, my first grayling of the Soca, beautiful, with a complete golden livery. I spend the entire morning in this spot and catch several nice grayling on a small cripples mayfly pattern with deer hair wings with a 0.12 leader.

At lunch time we meet on the bridge, where while biting a sandwich, the eyes keep on gazing into the turquoise water, where glimmering silhouettes dart on insects beneath us. Meanwhile we have time to tell our stories and adventures of the first half day and so I get to know that...

.. that Bob caught a giant rainbow on nymph that would not fit the landing net ..

A similar experience is reported by Sven, who caught another huge rainbow not far from Bob. But is is not just about fish, we are all enthusiastic about the gorgeous sceneries and charmed by the beauty of the river in this silent valley.

After the frugal lunch it is time to go back to the river, I head to a new spot now and where there are several grayling raising. In spite of the thin leader here the grayling are more suspicious then in the morning, till I manage to hook a big one that unfortunately spit the fly after a short fight. The place looks now spoiled and so I decide to move downstream.

A series of runs alternate to turquoise pools. I spot a nice fish raising and I decide to spend some time with him. I stop at a dozen meters from it and I try to get the fly in place without dragging. After a couple of casts the fish takes the imitation of Ecdyonurus, I feel immediately that it is not fighting like a grayling and in fact after a minute I net a marble trout.

It is a beautiful young specimen of marble trout, that after the photo can swim back free in his element. Here marble trout reach truly remarkable size (10-12 Kilo); after the kilo weight, they feed almost exclusively on other fish. The best time to try to catch one of these monsters on streamers is said to be with colored water, after some rain. In any case I have devoted today to the dry fly and so I go back to my grayling.

The fishing permits are here limited to about a thousand per year and there is noone else around. I catch some more rainbow and brown trout, but the time to leave this paradise is getting closer and I decide to go back to where I had lost the big grayling in the early afternoon.

The big grayling is still raising in the center of the pool, or at least it is his brother. I mount a fly that always brought me good luck on difficult grayling. A fly that today I have not used yet. I knot a CDC Arpo on hook 18 on the leader. And there it goes, it took it at first cast.

It is really a nice fish and also the last of the day for the time to leave has come. Amazing place, just the time to get to know it and on the way back I feel already a growing desire for coming back to valley of golden grayling.