Due to my failure to catch a Danube Salmon or any fish in Slovenia the previous year, a return trip had to be made in order to correct this discrepancy. Sure, I’ve failed to fish and catch an Atlantic Salmon in Scotland but at least, I still caught fish the next day while saltwater fishing. I didn’t have that chance with Slovenia so this was the time to do it for Marble Trout! A chance for redemption! And like the Zebra Trout in Spain, Marble Trout is a subspecies variation of Brown Trout that can only be found in Southern Europe around the Adriatic basin countries of Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, and Bosnia. So for me, this was a special type of fishing trip to undertake since this type of Brown Trout is just not an everyday occurrence.
Maybe after all that fishing experience gained from the trips I’ve made since the last time that I was in Slovenia: California, UK, Germany, Portugal, Czech Republic, and Spain. So I thought that I was truly ready for this time around with a good belief that I won’t go with a “blank” on this trip: fish will be hooked and landed! No ghost bites either. Real fish will finally be landed in Slovenia! And after getting my fishing practice in the last month by going to the Czech Republic and most recently in the UK, I wanted to think that I would be ready! I even thought that going to Spain was a major help as well. But perhaps, the Fishing Gods will watch me in trying achieve fishing success in this country where previously I was unable to.
It was harder than expected due to the sheer amount of people at the rivers either fishing, kayaking, or playing around. That does not make a good place to fish as all the trout are easily spooked. And all that casting practice? Well, I had to re-learn my fly-fishing cast because of utilizing different mechanics from big deep waters to short surface casting. Oh man…. I got a few bites but no takers. Until I finally caught one small Rainbow Trout! All right! Maybe the Fishing Gods listened to my Slovenian fishing plight. Although the targeted species was Marble Trout, I’ll take at least one landed fish as a good sign to come. That also eliminates the “BLANK” space I had for this country so that at least has been eliminated from my traveling and fishing history.
The second day was better, much better. I think it was because there were less people resulting in less pressure on the fish that I got more quality takes. And before I knew it, bam! I finally got a fish to take and landed it!
As for the Marble Trout – I think kept losing my marbles over them. I finally hooked one spooked Marble Trout and after a few seconds, the fly popped out! Nooooooo! This would happen again and again that losing some Marble Trout seemed like a regular occurrence. And then my perseverance paid off. I finally did it! I finally caught a Marble Trout! I can now cross the Marble Trout off of my bucket list!
Note: Marble Trout is not a separate fish/trout species but it’s actually a subspecies of Brown Trout, kind of like the Zebra Trout that I caught in Spain. The markings are significantly far more different on Marble Trout and makes them look like the pattern on a stone marble on their skin. The big threat to them is no doubt over-fishing (which conservation efforts are taking place), pollution, habitat loss, and hybridization with regular Brown Trout. Like I stated before, these fish are only found in the Adriatic Sea river basin so I think it’s a great idea to make this trip to go catch an elusive Marble Trout!
And what made this second day even better was that I also caught an Adriatic Grayling on a fly as well! I caught the Slovenian Triple Slam! I was extremely happy since many people don’t ever catch a Grayling in that upper stretch of the river. And even fewer catch a Rainbow Trout, Marble Trout, and Grayling all on the same day!
The rest of the second day was quite difficult as I would hook fish but I couldn’t get them to stay on long enough to land them.
On the last day of fishing in Slovenia, the pressure to redeem for last year’s failure was well passed so it’s all about having fun catching whatever fish I could. And I have to say that it’s already been a great trip so far since I caught a Marble Trout and the Triple Slam. So yes, it’s been great fishing unless you count my early morning struggles of trying to hook and land a fish. Gosh, that third morning was tough despite the river being completely free of other anglers. Just a few sun-bathers and kayakers. That was it. But after several hours of casting and moving and casting, I finally hook a Rainbow Trout!…. only to lose it because it broke the line. Damn….. back to square zero. Of course, I was disappointed but after some more moving around and casting more, I finally hooked onto one and landed it!
Now the momentum was on and I started catching more and more fish despite some of them being really spooky and wary of taking a fly. All Rainbow Trout, no Marble Trout nor Grayling. It was a lot of work but it was worth it to finally hook and catch fish regularly!
And then it happened! I catch something that completely catches you off guard! At first, my guide and I were conversing, “Alright a fish!…. Ah man. It’s another Rainbow Trout!” We both thought Rainbow Trout because this fish jumped up in the air as it was hooked in the mouth. Rainbows generally jump to do aerial acrobatics in order to spit the fly out. However, as I fought the fish and brought it closer for my guide to net it, he couldn’t find the fish. “Where is the fish? I can’t see it!” And then he says the words I’ll never forget, “Oh wow! It’s a hybrid! That’s why I couldn’t see the fish!” After a few more seconds of struggling, he finally nets the fish for me. Yes! I caught something weird, something RARE! According to him, very few people catch a Marble/Brown Trout hybrid in the wild. It was probably years since he last saw one. So basically, in the span of one week, I have caught another Fish of a Lifetime!
Tip: There is not that much to do in Slovenia unless you are going to Lake Bled or do winter sports. That’s why I recommend going fishing – it’s highly underrated because no one knows about it and the Slovenes actually take care of their environment and natural resources – someone told me that the fishing is better in Slovenia than in nearby countries such as Croatia, Serbia, Montenegro, and Bosnia. Having never gone to Serbia nor Bosnia and never fished there, I can’t debate it so I’m not sure. But for me, I had my fishing opportunities and I took them in Slovenia!
Tip: Slovenia has emerged as a big-time tourist destination due to a variety of reasons so going to this country during the summer will be full of tourists, tourists, tourists. I thought most of the people would be gone by the end of the summer which was not the case. It’s still barrels full of tourists, overwhelming the locals. Even the fishing conditions are very different from season to season, week by week. So expect the unfamiliar and unusual such as extreme rain and wind during the summer! You never know!