|Mark on the Idrijca|
|An Idrijca rainbow|
|The meat room at the B&B|
At 9 AM the next morning we met Matt for a thick cup of coffee, and headed down into the Soča Canyon on foot. We immediately saw a good sized fish rising, but we put him down as we approached too closely. (Matt thought it was my height that scared him off, I blame Mark)
Car sized boulders and a fast current made progress slow, but soon enough I came across Matt watching a feeding fish. We lost sight of the fish but Matt generously gave me first crack, and after I bounced a royal wulff off of a boulder into a pocket, I set the hook into a nice fish. It didn't take long for us to realize it was a marble, and a nice one at that. Matt netted it, and Mark took some photos, and I was on cloud nine. I did what I came here to do, and everything else was just gravy. Now I just wanted Mark to hook into a marble as well. Alas, these two fish were the only active ones we came across. We exited the river for a cup of coffee, and Matt headed back home to Austria, and Mark and I headed back down to the Soca. We threw streamers as there was no surface activity in the drizzling rain, and I ended up hooking a few rainbows and another marble, while Mark hooked a few bows as well, and we called it day and headed back to the B&B for a simple yet hearty bowl of mixed grilled meats and vegetables and good Slovenian beer.
|Casting to the fish...|
|And a nice marble is the result.|
|A Soča Marble with a compley twist bugger|
The next morning, we decided to visit the Bača River. Lousy weather was predicted, but we were pleasantly surprised by some warmth and the occasional rays of sunshine. We dropped into the river and started working our way up. I dropped a black magic nymph in a likely looking hole and hooked a decent Marble, while Mark stuck with a dry and was having luck there as well. Shortly we came across what looked like a small fish feeding a few inches off the bank, but when Mark cast to it and hooked it, I quickly realized it wasn't a small fish after all and Mark landed a big, beautiful brown on his 4 weight.
|The Bača River|
|The Bača River|
|Mark hooked into a brown|
|Mark's dry fly-caught brown|
|Another Bača Marble|
We worked our way upriver slowly, methodically spotting rising fish and fishing the pools carefully, trying to leave the fish at the head of the pool undisturbed while we peeled off the ones from the rear. In some cases we succeeded, in most, we did not. These fish are wary, they see lots of flies and fishermen during the season. Another memorable moment came when I spotted what I thought was a fish in a riffle, I dropped a nymph next to him a few times, then asked a perplexed Mark if I could borrow his dry-fly rigged Morgan for a moment and handed him my H2. I dropped a fly over the fish, and brought a nice marble to hand. Shortly afterwards, Mark took the next rising fish and it was a beautiful marble. The pressure was off, and we wound our way through the beautiful Slovenian countryside, catching visible rising browns and marbles as well as coaxing fish from likely looking spots on dry flies. Mark came across a World War 1 artillery shell casing, not an uncommon occurrence around here, as this region suffered greatly in the first World War. The Soča Valley was one of the bloodiest fronts of the war, 1.7 million died here as the Italians tried to drive into Austria repeatedly over a span of two years. It was hard to imagine this valley as anything other than a verdant and serene angler's paradise. The sun set and we made our way back to the car, grateful to have enjoyed one of those days that makes a trip memorable.
|The scenic countryside|
|A fire salamander.|
|A WWI artillery shell.|
The next morning we decided to revisit the Bača and try to recreate some of the magic of the previous day. Unfortunately, the weather didn't cooperate. We spotted a few rising fish during the occasional break in the driving rain, and Mark spotted, cast to, but unfortunately spooked a monster of a fish, with a head as thick my fist, and I managed to catch a rising marble and a grayling, but other than it, the fish stayed down and weren't interested in what we had to offer. We loaded our soaking wet gear in the car, and headed back to the airport, already plotting 2017...
|A Bača grayling|