The Jewel of Podravina

The Jewel of Podravina

Podravina, north west part of Croatia isn`t considered fly fishing destination since there`s no river nor lake that holds trout or gralyling, most popular species among fly fisherman. Not to mention part of the year when season`s off, there`s nothing else to fish for. Not much to do apart to tie some flies and dream of next season or to switch to spin fishing. Hell NO!
For me autumn/winter means one thing. Pike! Being surrounded by who knows how many lakes in close driving distance one might be so unlucky to pick wrong one. Meaning, going to a place and spending whole day with no action at all, even worse doing it in a row couple of times. That`s fine when you have time and will to explore new places, gives whole new perspective to real situation in the region.
Among all of the lakes there`s special one named Ješkovo near village Gola just next to Hungarian border. Old meander of Drava river that is couple of hundred meter away.

Whole past season especially autumn and winter part were more than great. As the water gets covered by lily pads throughout spring and summer some slight adaptations in fly design are more then helpful in such fishing conditions. Adding various types of weed guards on fly patterns is great but to go even further and tie some great working simple patterns on weedless hooks worked much better in more situations. Such approach made fishing possible on some previously unimaginable places producing at least more heart stopping action while seeing takes as well as on fights. Landing fish on the other hand from such a place can be tricky thing to do when you use light tackle (#6) unusual in such situation, but the fun is guaranteed for sure. Add some frustration when you loose the big mama and one has great playground for a lot of interesting stuff to try out and learn there.

Highlight of past pike season was most definitely Stephen`s day, when is common thing to close fly fishing year season. Season closing used to happen on Gacka or Klokot river fishing for trout but i have no information if it`s still happening but this time decision for my fly fishing buddies and myself was to make our own version of it on Ješkovo. Warm December no snow but Sun on forecast for a given day. Perfect!

As it all depends on weather conditions, fishing was rather slow that day with couple of small pikes caught among us. Sometimes they are blasting all over the place, sometimes not, some action is guaranteed for sure no matter the conditions. But in the end day was just perfect for me. Nice, healthy, fat, pre spawn fish made my day.

Fat mama

Not enough room is just no excuse not to go fly fishing there since there can be two of you without problem, if you know what you are doing. If you don`t know, hoping there`s not many people on the water you might injure while trying to place fly somewhere near the fish is the only option left. There are seventeen easy access settled positions from where you can fish along kilometer long bank. Fish size is increasing but still using light weight tackle will bring you a lot of joy. They didn`t believe it is possible to fish for pike there with same tackle they are using for trout (#5) until they tried. Now they love it.

Main reason for such a healthy population of fish are C&R regulations that allow artificial bait only. Such a regime isn`t much popular among local fisherman but to contradict them guys from ŠRK Ješkovo together with regular ranger controls managed to turn devastated water into a true jewel nowdays visited by a lot of people from around the country. Not so much by fly fisherman like spin fisherman but the numbers are increasing. Constant ranger controls and preserving water from all types of human cormorants is the only way to keep it in great condition as it is now and develop in to even better fishing place. It is great shame that local people don`t realize what potential Ješkovo has, hopefully this will change soon, for everybody`s sake.

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Lovely, barely touched lake scenery fades away as Sun is setting below horizon. This year is almost gone so is the fishing till April unless it gets warm enough during January so the ice melts off.

As the weather can be strange mistress in this time of the year so was the day after Stephen`s day. Clear night with severe temperature drop surprised fellow fisherman that arrived all the way from Zagreb with not so thick but enough ice on water surface to prevent them from fishing until late afternoon. Same icy conditions caused by low temps held almost throughout January with couple of warm periods unusual for the time of the year at the end that made it possible to fish for couple of days prior to pike season closing. As always some action in tough conditions happened just to make it more easy to endure throughout spawning period and to be more impatient at the same time for new season to come.

Janko Bartolec

Author Janko Bartolec

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