Have any Questions? +01 123 444 555

News reader

Quo vadis Idrijca?

When I was in the twenties, the Idrijca was always the epitome of a perfect water for fly fishing for me, the queen of Slovenia's waters, so to speak. It was known for large marmoratas, grayling and strong rainbow trout, but above all for its abundance of insects. This prompted me, as the then coordinator of FFF-Europe (now EFFA), to hold the first large instructor meeting in Slovenia about 20 years ago. We also fished Soca and various stretches of the Idrijca. None of the many fly fishermen we met on the water fished without using the fly line correctly. I fished this prime fly water several times after that. After many years of absence, I was recently back on the Idrijca and was excited to see what would await me there. I had avoided it for years because it was considered to be quite crowded. Instead I fished the top waters of the Austrian Fishing Association (OEFG), such as the Salza, Steyr Grünburg, the Pielach, the Erlauf, and so on, which were not far away. The stretch of the Idrijca is divided into two areas, that of the Idrija and that of the Soča Fishing Family (club). The trophy part of Idrijca (area A) is situated near Idrija. The water stretches downstream for more than 20 km (see map) to the border at the Cestni Most.

Fishing Regulations

The fishing rules of Idrijca are simple and clear. Only one fly, no additional weight like lead, tungsten or whatever on the leader, no indicators... It seemed to me that a lot of effort was made to ensure that all fly fishermen fish correctly and carefully. Everything looked fine and good. On the water, however, I saw something completely different. I started further downstream in area B. The first fisherman I saw there had already mounted two flies and was heading straight across a meadow to the nearby pool. Another had a large indicator on the leader, another had mounted a Czech Nymphing indicator. In the pool diagonally above me, an angler had such a heavy streamer at the end of his leader that his line pointed deep into a pool downstream. The leader was taut like a wire and was moving extremely slowly through the pool. I just shook my head and went back to the car. I decided to drive further up to the trophy part.


Forbidden Lures and Crazy "Fly Fishing" Methods

I fished a little off to the side in a section that a friend recommended to me. Within an hour I caught a good 20 fish with the dry. Among them were several marmoratas, brown trout, rainbow trout and also a grayling. Suddenly another fisherman got in about 20 m below me. He hadn't noticed me. Since I wanted to change places anyway, I looked in his direction to see if his dry fly was about to be attacked by a fish. Instead, I saw a strange casting movement and with a pop a streamer disappeared under the water with great certainty. This was repeated and his cast reminded me very much of that of a spin fisherman. I climbed up the slope behind me to have a look at the situation from above. The fisherman had obviously mounted monofilament and had connected a meter of fly line between the monofilament and his 3.5-4 m long leader. He swung his bait backwards and cast over his head like a spin fisherman.

What he was fishing at the end of the leader turned out, upon closer inspection, to be a pristine pink rubber twister with a jig head weighing around 4-5 g. When I asked him where he was from, he replied: "From Poland". When I then wanted to know whether everyone there fished like him in Poland, I got a "Yes, why?" for an answer. He said he hadn't been aware that you weren't allowed to fish with twisters on the Idrijca...


I left the spot because, it was not pleasant for me to see how primitive our hobby had become. There had to be other fly fishermen there, who fish traditionally by using the fly line. So I went into the bend above the bridge at Spodna Idrija. I could hardly believe my eyes: There were seven anglers from France and Poland, all of whom were thundering large micro worms (10-12 cm) on multi-gram jig hooks into the channels. These are usually used by spin fishermen on spinning gear. Of course, they were all casting like spin fishermen too, because at least three of them were using thin monofilament only instead of a proper fly line. And that despite the fact that fish were rising everywhere! I took a photo as a souvenir (see right) and left the river that once fascinated me so much the next day. Either this type of fishing was tolerated there, or there were so many fly fishermen using these methods that the fisheries authorities were completely overwhelmed. However, people certainly recognised what was going on, because you could see  distance how they fished  and that "streamers" being used couldn't be cast uby sing a fly line. It doesn't matter whether a streamer or a heavy nymph (Czech Nymphing) is cast with its own weight on monofilament or 9 m and longer leaders, fly lines are not needed. This is fly fishing anymore and IMHO these methods should never be allowed to be fished in fly-only waters.

Rubber worms of 15 cm on heavy jig hooks were fished there. That is not fly fishing!

A Sad Development

I was very disappointed by the way many "fly fishers" fished this beautiful river and also that they were not stopped doing this despite the regulations were clear. Not even the beautiful trout I caught on dries could compensate the sad feelings that overcame me on my way back home. What a sad development!

Go back

Copyright © Günter Feuerstein