Bosnia is a venue for those that like Clearwater fishing, and the joys and anguish that come with it. The giant chalkstream-like rivers of Bosnia will bring you hours of enjoyment… and frustration. These rivers, begin life deep underground as rain and snow seep down through porous limestone into big natural reservoirs before bubble back up to the surface as a nutrient rich and cold stream. It is this process that makes it the perfect habitat for fly life, grayling and brown trout.
It is not wilderness fishing like you find elsewhere but the scenery and fishing can be truly world class. The dry fly fishing is hatch dependent but we have found that June with big stonefly and large mayflies and late September/ October with blue winged olives and flying ants to be the most consistent times for dry fly action. The destination focuses on big grayling but there are some large wild brown trout to be targeted too. It is a venue where anglers using light rods, fine tippets and small flies will find success.
We focus on two main river systems in the country, both of which offer large fly fishing and catch & release only sections.
The Ribnik is a ‘karst’, a spring-fed limestone river. It runs for just 5.6 kilometres before joining the Sana. The river is 20-30 metres wide in most places and the soft gravel makes wading easy. The depth varies from just ankle deep to waist deep with the odd deeper hole.
Home to good numbers of both grayling and brown trout, this is a fantastic river to start your Bosnian trip. The fishing can be challenging but the Ribnik is a great river to learnt he art of Bosnian induced nymphing and downstream dry fly techniques. Be prepared to hook some very big fish on some very light tippets!
The Pliva is similar to the Ribnik but generally deeper and wider making wading harder in most parts. It is 33 kilometres in total but the fly fishing section focuses on the first 5 kilometres of its course. At first it shoots out the side of a mountain, and tumbles through pocket water, before it quickly becomes flatter and meanders through farmland.
The prized catch here are the big grayling, they are some of the hardest to deceive but well worth the hours spent chasing them. Brown trout also reside here but are usually hidden from sight under the banks or in amongst fallen structure. Long leaders and patience are key for anglers to succeed here.
Bosnia is a very humble country, the people are lovely and friendly and whilst their English speaking is on the whole extremely limited they are delighted to show you their home. The accommodation on offer is simple, clean and comfortable but certainly cannot be referred to as luxurious. The food, like the accommodation, is simple but good. Produce is locally farmed meats, vegetables and often served as grills and stews. It is possible to cater for different dietary requirements within reason.
For more information on fly fishing in Bosnia contact Alex Jardine or call our office on +44(0)1980 847389.
About the author: Alex Jardine