Europe offers some great river fly fishing not far from our doorstep and at a accessible price point. Bosnia is a great venue for those that like clear water fishing, and the joys and anguish that come with it. The rivers of Bosnia flow over limestone and much of the water is similar in nature to our English chalkstreams. These rivers, begin life deep underground as rain and snow seep down through porous limestone into big natural underground 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.
Fly fishing in Bosnia is not always set in wilderness like you may find elsewhere but the scenery and fishing can be truly world class. Although the dry fly fishing generally consistent, it is hatch dependent so timing is key. We have found that in June big stoneflies and large mayflies are most prevalent, this changes as the season moves towards late September and October where blue winged olives and flying ants provide the most consistent dry fly action. In Bosnia much of the focus is on catching big grayling, despite this there are some large and beautifully marked wild brown trout too. It is a venue where anglers using light rods, fine tippets and small flies will find the most success.
Our fly fishing trips to Bosnia focus on two main river systems in the country, the Ribnik and the Pliva, both of these offer large sections of fly fishing and catch & release only water.
The Ribnik is a ‘karst’, a spring-fed limestone river. It runs for just 5.6 kilometres before joining the Sana. In most places the river is 20-30 metres wide with a soft gravel bed which makes for easy wading. Although there is the odd deeper hole, most of the water varies from ankle to waist deep.
The river is home to good numbers of both grayling and brown trout and whilst the fishing can be challenging the Ribnik is a great river to learn the 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 in nature to the Ribnik but generally deeper and wider, this makes for more difficult wading in most parts. In total the river is 33 kilometres but the fly fishing section focuses on the first 5 kilometres of its course. From its source the Pliva shoots out from the side of a mountain, then tumbles through pocket water, before quickly flattening to meander through pastures and farmland.
The prize catch here are big grayling, they are hard to deceive but well worth the hours spent chasing them. The river has a healthy population of brown trout but these usually reside hidden from sight under banks or in amongst fallen structure. Long leaders and patience are key for anglers to succeed here.
Bosnia; The Destination
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.
Bosnia 2023 Availability
8th to 15th October 2023: 2 rods – Aardvark McLeod hosted week
Cost: £1,140 per person, shared room / shared guide
For more information on fly fishing in Bosnia contact Alex Jardine or Olly Thompson or call our office on +44(0)1980 847389.