Cold Croatian Trout

October 27, 2010

Determined to use every bit of kit I’d hauled to Croatia, I arranged with Ana to flick fluff in the River Krka. Little did I know when she offered to arrange guides she’d come up trumps with half of the Croatian fly fishing squad.
Cocky in my packing and my low tech approach to fishing in sunshine in the mid 30s, I’d packed Crocs and swimming trunks intending to wet wade. What I hadn’t counted on was a constant water temperature of a balmy 9 degrees. Thank God for prepared guides and neoprene waders. Appropriately kitted out, I leapt into the shallows…only to find myself waist deep. Crystal clear water makes it impossible to judge distance and depth. While you would think I would have learned my lesson, I had a series of near dunkings that kept my guides in stitches and Ana in giggles (fortunately, the disparaging insults required no translation as she was breathless with mirth).
Lack of a common tongue and Ana’s inability to translate technical fisherspeak led to an amusing half hour of ‘I’ll show you mine if you show me yours’ as we compared tackle boxes. I’d packed my Orvis Zero Gravity 5 weight as a precautionary measure (it is my go-to rod for new and unknown situations), and a Mach reel. Casting wet nymphs in every direction, I was trying all sorts to get the measure of these tricksy Croatian trout. It was only when light levels dropped with the onset of dusk that fish started rising to flies on the surface that I had any success. Having switched to dry flies with the first rise, I spent my last hour before dark picking my way upstream from one fish to the next (scrupulously avoiding pools).
Despite near-drownings and a novice Ana catching the biggest fish of the evening, I’m sold on the joys of Croatian water…although I may add thermal legging to the suncream and snorkelling kit next time.