Embarking on a scouting expedition, I set my sights on a river nestled approximately 70 kilometers from Vilniaus, near the border of Belarus. But, before immersing myself in the wilderness, I had to navigate the world of permissions and bureaucracy to gain access to the border zone. A tedious affair, no doubt, but I successfully completed the necessary formalities.
My journey began with a tip from a fellow angler’s video, which guided me to a promising location. Passing through a border checkpoint, an armed guard inquired about my intentions. With unwavering honesty, I stated my purpose: fishing. His nod of approval and well wishes set me on my way. After another five kilometers of travel, I arrived at my destination. Eagerly preparing my gear, I embarked upstream, only to find that the river revealed itself quite differently from my preconceived notions.
The water levels were disappointingly low, but their clarity mirrored the transparency of a crystal. The reason for this phenomenon became apparent—the beaver dams, once dotting the landscape, had been dismantled. These structures, had they been intact, would have created inviting pools for the larger trout to hide in. Nevertheless, I forged ahead, encountering a constant procession of dismantled dams along my path. With each cast of my line, I glimpsed small trout attempting to snatch the lure, but alas, they remained too diminutive to make a worthwhile catch. After covering approximately two kilometers downstream, I decided not to squander any more time and opted to explore further downstream.
Consulting my map, I resumed my journey, arriving at a new patch of water just twenty minutes later. This time, a glimmer of optimism. The flow of the river sculpted deeper recesses, providing ample hiding spots for the elusive trout. Eager to make my presence known, I commenced casting, selecting the Bassday Sugar Minnow 50s as my weapon of choice. It was on the third or fourth cast that I witnessed small trout darting and lunging at the lure. At one particular spot, trout had five tries. Yet, perseverance eventually rewarded me with the first trout—a small specimen not worth a photograph. Tenderly releasing it back into the current, I watched as it swiftly returned to its natural domain. Around thirty minutes later, I discovered a breathtaking pool—a textbook sanctuary for trout. The first cast proved fruitless, as did the second. I aimed closer to the bank where the current carved its most profound groove. With a single turn of the reel knob, the line tightened, and the battle commenced. A fighter it was, yet I handled it with calm resolve, gradually reeling it closer. Its length approached forty centimeters, vibrant in colors. Capturing a few photographs as a testament to our encounter, I released the trout, watching it effortlessly glide back to its sanctuary.
Soon, I encountered what appeared to be the remnants of an bridge, prompting me to halt and indulge in a well-deserved lunch break. I opted for a Lithuanian army MRE, uncertain of what to expect. To my surprise, everything tasted superior in nature’s embrace and after a rigorous trek. The pork stew proved to be a satisfactory 6 out of 10. As for dessert, crackers with jam, a handful of almond nuts, and a piece of chocolate combined to create a rather decent conclusion. In terms of convenience, a solid 10 out of 10. Refreshed I returned to my fishing endeavor.
Further upstream, the river underwent a transformation, revealing a shallower character. It was there that I managed to catch another small trout before deciding to bid the river farewell and head home. A return visit would be in order once the beavers had completed their renovations, transforming this place into a haven for trout. All in all, a highly productive expedition, rewarding both in the tranquility of nature and trout.