Radovna, the river of Browns

I received a call from my good friend Uroš Kristan asking if I would be keen to go on an adventure.  Never one to turn down an adventure, I just said “YES”, without even knowing where we would go or when. I realized then we were going to go to Radovana. A bucket list Brown trout water, high up in the Alpine Bled area with crystal waters and free stone base. I’d always heard of this river in particular about its very pure strain of Dunabe Brown trout, this also always seemed to follow with “They are small but perfect”.

So off we went and we both decided that the river less waded was our direction of destination. We both took 10ft nymphing rods as well as 9ft dry fly set ups. First flick on the dry fly and we both raised fish. It was one of those moments where we both looked at each other and realized that this was to be a great day. Uroš landed a gem of a brown and mine came undone on a barbless stone fly. We both landed a few fish in little pockets of water before heading to that “there has to be fish in there” spot.

We moved down stream skipping more popular spots to fish to the more unknown sections. Lots and lots of small Browns were caught along the way and we were having an absolute blast. Unfortunately we checked the clock and realized that we were far down steam and time was not on our side. So we started the walk away from the river only to be stopped by a local resident who wanted to chat. I don’t think she saw many fishermen come down this far. Turns out that she knew a short cut that would save us around 45 min on the return to our vehicle.

Delighted we set off on the path ahead and that’s when it happened. I saw her, a big sow of a Brown. She was right next to a very steep bank just feeding adlib. I’d lost a big fish earlier in the day and wasn’t going to let the opportunity pass so I made my way down the bank on all fours. Slipping and sliding, I had to be cautious to not spook her. The only way to get a chance was to approach her straight up front in her line of sight. Uroš gave me lots of encouragement and kept an eye on her from a way off. I manage to sneak in behind a tree but still had lots of brush in the way. I was going to have to get her with a nymph as that is how she was feeding but was stuck with this almost impossible cast ahead of me.
If I tried a dry fly I was pretty positive that the line would have spooked her. So swinging the secret nymph I gave it a go.

Too short. Far off. Just right. She was turning to the fly.

Bang …..out of nowhere a smaller Brown hit the nymph just before she got to it. I was on but not to the right fish. So I landed him and after a quick photo released him. Still, I felt the joy!
Well we can’t always get the big fish but rather return to some unfinished business in the future!

Well until the next time………..


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