Fishing In Serbia: An Unexpected Paradise For Anglers

river-flowers
Tara River, Serbia

When it comes to tourism, Serbia is famous for many things. From beautiful mountains, untouched wilderness, to delicious cuisine and hedonistic nightlife, this region has it all.

But what about recreational activities such as fishing? Sure, the country has no sea. However, Serbia has an abundance of rivers, streams, lakes, ponds, and canals that are rich in fish species such as carp, pike, catfish, zander, trout, trout, barbel, whitefish, and many more. 

Today, we are going to take you on a journey through popular fishing locations in Serbia, and prove to you why this country is truly a one-of-a-kind experience for passionate anglers. 

Belgrade

Fishing during the sunset
Fishing on the Danube

Once you arrive in Belgrade, believe it or not, you can instantly begin your angling journey. When it comes to fishing in the vicinity of Belgrade, you will probably have success if you fish from a boat. So, we recommend that you find a private boat fishing tour and try out your luck on both the Danube and Sava rivers with an experienced captain that will take you to all the secret spots of these two ancient rivers.

Sailing on these two rivers to their confluence is truly a one-of-a-kind adventure. As you gently glide and search for the perfect spot, you will hear interesting stories about ancient fishing techniques that are used in this area to this day. 

Whether you’re an experienced angler or a novice angler, you are bound to have a great time. You’ll get a chance to try out various fishing techniques such as artificial lure fishing, live bait fishing, trolling, vertical jigging, and many more. Your prime targets will include catfish, pike,  zander,  asp,  perch,  carp, and if you’re lucky, you might even see a sterlet, a relatively small species of sturgeon. 

North Serbia

Apatin
River spurs in Apatin

Now, let’s head to North Serbia, to a little town called Apatin, which is home to the famous Serbian beer brand‒Jelen Pivo. The town is located on the left side of the Danube river and is famous for its abundance of swampy regions and backwaters. The people of Apatin say that the Danube is the main street of Europe, and often joke that their town is the capital, as it is located exactly halfway from its source to its confluence.

The fishing locations near Apatin are part of the protected reserve ‘’Gornje Podunavlje’’. Due to the preserved originality of the water regime, characteristic marsh features have been preserved in this area. There are large fragments of natural marsh forests, composed of willows, poplars, and oaks, as well as numerous backwaters, deadlands, and ponds, which rank this marsh among the most important hatcheries in the area of ​​the entire course of the Danube.

Over the last decade, the town has become a famous destination for anglers looking to catch giant catfish. The number of catfish weighing about 100kg has tripled over the last few years, and smaller specimens are caught almost every day.  

The technique for catching catfish with a rod is just like anywhere in the world. All you need is a simple deep fishing system, some live or dead baits such as small fish, green worms, and leeches, and present it about 40cm above the bottom. 

If you’re into artificial lures, the locations near Apatin are perfect places to try out your zander fishing skills. In this region, the Danube is relatively narrow. However, the river flow is faster and the flood zone is substantial. The coast is protected from erosion by countless stone regulations(spurs), which create a diverse terrain on both the coast and bottom. Once the water level is low enough and fishing spots are available from the mainland, this region is a paradise for zander fishing. 

The many ponds and swampy areas of this area are also rich in European carp. Whether you use canned corn, boiled corn, or dough balls, you are bound to have success.  As you know, swampy areas are also known for giant pikes. So, if you’re a pike addict, the many ponds backwaters, and swampy areas of Apatin won’t leave you disappointed. 

Western Serbia

Gradac river
Gradac River, Valjevo

Source: Wikimedia

Now, our journey leads us to western Serbia to a city called Valjevo. Just five kilometers from the city stands the canyon of the river Gradac, which is one of the most attractive fishing locations in Serbia. The canyon is only 11 kilometers long, with its width varying from five to twenty meters and an average depth of one meter. The chemical and biological composition of this river is so clean, that you can drink it on the spot without any problems. 

So if you’re an angler, and we know you are, since you’re reading this, clean salmonid rivers like this mean two things ‒brown trout, and grayling.  Furthermore, in the lower reaches, you can also find species such as brook barbel, European chub, and various types of whitefish. This location is known for its exceptional flora and fauna and has been declared a national park, and when it comes to catch and release fly fishing, the river Gradac is one of the key locations in Europe.

The brown trout that lives in the Gradac river can grow up to 70 cm, however, the ones that usually get caught range from 25cm to 45cm. 

We recommend that you begin your angling journey from  ‘’Crna Vrela’’, then downstream to the city zone and the water intake of ‘’Ploče’’. Remember, From Ploče and 4 km upstream to the Erosive Dam, fishing is allowed on artificial flies and lures. As you go upstream from the erosive dam towards ‘’Crna Vrela’’, fishing is only allowed using an artificial fly.

The fly fishing season begins on April 15th and ends on September 30th. The artificial flies that are mostly used at the beginning of the season include hare’s ear, quill nymph, prince nymph, wooly bugger streamers, and in June and July,  we recommend stonefly nymph flies and elk caddis. We also recommend that you visit the famous guest house ‘’Tetrebovac’’, where you can buy flies that locals use, and gain knowledge about the best spots on this beautiful river.

Now, we're going to head to the River Drina and explore what this powerful river has to offer. The Drina is one of the cleanest water sources in both Serbia and the Balkans and offers countless locations for all types of anglers.

The river is home to a variety of fish species including trout, catfish, barbel, and the famous huchen which is known as ‘’Queen of Drina’’. Catching this fish is no easy task, as the largest specimens of this species in Europe were caught in the area of Bajina Bašta and weighed over 30kg. 

fish
Serbian Huchen

A great place to try out jour fishing skills against this powerful fish would be lake Perućac. The lake was created after the damming of the river Drina to power the hydroelectric power plant ‘’Bajina Bašta’’. Every year, an annual huchen fishing competition is held, where competitors have a chance of catching the famous ‘’Queen Of Drina’’. 

If you prefer river fishing and are eager to try catching a ‘’Mladica’’ (huchen), there are many locations to try your luck on this mighty river. The Drina is 365km long and forms a large portion of the border between Serbia and Bosnia and Hercegovina. 

As autumn comes and the water temperature drops, the huchen moves from summer places to deep whirlpools and goes hunting in those places that have a slower water flow. As for the temperature, the rule is the following: The colder the water, the longer huchen stays in the depths. Thus, this fish goes hunting before the water rises to the crosses from the depths to shallower places, where it patiently waits for flocks of common nase. 

if you are planning to go huchen fishing, you must have extremely high-quality lure equipment. The methods of angling can be divided into three categories: light, medium, and heavy.

Light huchen angling involves fishing in small and clear water. This method is practiced mostly in Summer using wobblers on the surface and rapids. Your rod should never be shorter than 3m and its weight of throw should be 40g to 80g. This way, you will be able to control your wobbler in this powerful river. 

When it comes to angling with medium-sized lures, the method is used for catching bigger specimens in the middle and surface of the upcoming turbulent waters. This method requires a 3m rod with a throwing weight of up to 150 g, which is flexible in the upper third of the length of the rod. 

Finally, heavy huchen angling involves fishing during the winter, when the huchen is at the bottom. This usually involves heavy jigs for which you will need to choose your rod carefully. You must have a two-part rod, about 3m long, with a throwing weight of up to 250g.