While tourism is booming in Slovenia, to the point where over-tourism is now an issue at the most visited locations, figures from August 2019, at the heart of the high season, show that the average visitor spends just 2.5 nights in the country.
There’s thus much room for growth, and for encouraging people to go out and see more than Bled, Postojna and Ljubljana Castle. Not only see more, but do more, be it through food tourism, cycling, hiking or any of the hundreds of other activities the varied climate and topography of the country enable, along with the infrastructure that exists to support them.
One such activity is fly-fishing, a meditative sport that requires the participant to go out in nature and watch and wait, gaining a deeper understanding of their immediate environment, and – in Slovenia – an appreciation for the clean waters that run over the riverbeds and play a vital role in various ecosystems.
Eager to learn more about this sport without getting wet, we got in touch with Matej Godec, of Flyfishingodec, a boutique tourist agency specialized in organizing fishing and other excursions around Slovenia, and he was kind enough to answer some questions.
How long have you been fly-fishing?
I’ve been fly-fishing since 2005. When I started I found it offered me a new dimension on life, and a new way of seeing myself. With fly-fishing, I realized that it pays to be persistent and committed to the things you love.
Of course, back then I never imagined that this commitment would mean I’d eventually have my own travel agency that could offer guest first-class guided fly-fishing tours and an excellent fly-fishing school, one that can organize complete fly-fishing holidays and other excursions around Slovenia.
When did you start running fly-fishing tours?
At the beginning of 2019 I decided to offer my guests a full service through my own boutique fly-fishing tourist agency. Flyfishingodec Slovenia is now fly-fishing tourist agency specialized in the organization of guided fly-fishing adventures, accommodation, daily fly-fishing trips and fly-fishing courses.
What different parts of Slovenia do the tours go to, and how are they different?
My organized fly-fishing tours or daily guided trips and fly-fishing school take place on all Slovenian rivers.
In my organized tours, I want to offer my guests only the best that the country has to offer for such holidays: excellent fishing, beautiful nature, outstanding cuisine and friendly people.
With the Best of Slovenia Fly-fishing Tour package my guests have the opportunity to enjoy fly-fishing on the top 7 rivers in Slovenia. The package offers the best that a guest can wish for when deciding on a fly-fishing holiday in Slovenia.
All the best fly-fishing areas in the country are included in the package: the Soča River with its tributaries Lepena and Kal-Koritnica, the Sava Bohinjka River, the Unica, the Krka, the Idrijca River and the Savinja.
It’s the River Soča that’s the most in demand among my guests, though, and the number one destination.
The Soča fly-fishing tour package is intended for anyone who wants to spend their fishing holidays in the Soča River Valley, enjoy the crystal clear alpine beauty of the air and water, and the high-quality fly-fishing.
I’d also like to highlight the Wild & Pure Package, which is designed for anglers in better physical condition who aren’t looking for the easiest places to fish. The Wild & Pure package covers fly-fishing in deep gorges and canyons of alpine rivers, which are sometimes very difficult to access and require well-prepared anglers. But in the end, the effort is always worth it, with beautiful catches of wild marble trout and brown trout, as well as incredible views and the peace and quiet that come with such locations.
What fish can people catch?
The fish that people go for the most during the regular season is still marble trout. The second most desirable fish is grayling, and then brown trout.
A marble trout
Fly-fishing in Slovenia for experienced and novice anglers
Do you do custom tours, if people want more than fishing?
As a travel agency, we specialize in organizing fishing holidays. However, in addition to fly-fishing, guests sometimes want to experience more than just spending a day by the water. That’s why we also offer a combination of guided fly-fishing tours with sightseeing and visits to major attractions near at fishing location.
For example, guests can fly-fish in the morning on the Sava Bohinjka, and in the afternoon spend the day at Lake Bohinj or Lake Bled, where they can bathe and enjoy their free time with some sightseeing, hiking, or whatever they want. Anyone interested just needs to send me a message and let me know their wishes.
We also offer daily guided tours, which are intended for all travellers and others who want to spend at least one day of their vacation fly-fishing, experiencing nature that way. For those trips there’s free rental of fly-fishing equipment – a fly rod and boots/waders – so people don’t need to bring anything special with them.
A Danube Salmon
It’s now winter, can you fly fish at this time of year?
The winter is very special time in our regular fly-fishing off-season. The winter is reserved for the King of Fish in Slovenia – Danube Salmon aka Huchen (Latin name Hucho hucho).
In recent years it’s become very popular to go fishing for Danube Salmon with a fly-fishing rod. Of course, you need to know some of the peculiarities involved in fishing for this remarkable species, but this is something we can teach you.
Anything else you want to say?
As I said at the start, fly-fishing is one of the most beautiful things that has happened to me in my life, and someone who fishes in a river is really spending quality time in nature, at the kind of slow pace that’s hard to find today.
As such, fly-fishing is a great form of anti-stress therapy, one that’s open to anyone who wants to go outside and try something new. Also, I think that if you haven’t been to Slovenia before then you can’t postpone your visit any longer. Fly-fishing is great, we have beautiful rivers and the landscape is just amazing. And we, the people of Slovenia are very welcoming and kind. So come and visit us soon, before the rest of the world discovers us. You won’t be sorry!
You learn more about Matej’s work, and book a tour, at his website, and see more pictures on Instagram. If your planning a fishing trip and not everyone in your party is an angler, then check out some of the other ways you can enjoy the River Soča and its surroundings - the ideal location for an active vacation.