Sunday, June 28, 2015

Fly Fishing in the Balkans: Montenegro and Serbia

I just returned from one month long trip visiting Serbia and Montenegro. I had about eight days to fly fish various streams and rivers and I must admit that I "fished" more using my camera lens than my fiberglass fly rods. However, the experience was more than worthwhile for me. I was able to reconnect with waters of my youth and also with many old friends across the region.

Montenegro waters (Plav Lake, River Lim and Ljuca, in particular) are mind boggling! I had only three days to fish this area and I barely scratched the surface. I dedicated my time spent on river Lim to grayling fishing, but a keen flyfisher can also test his/her luck fishing for brown trout, lake trout ("blatnjaca" or "mud trout") and Danube salmon aka huchen. I just can't wait to go back and spend more time in Plav. If you are thinking about visiting Montenegro, you can find the most updated river info thru and

 Plav Lake and River Lim, Montenegro


Serbian streams presented here are located in Eastern Serbia. They were my home streams. These are spring-fed creeks which flow through rugged canyons and valleys, often in the shadow of ancient monasteries. Medieval kings and monks had penchant for hard to reach places, hiding their churches from Ottoman invaders. River Crnica is the smallest of these four streams, but holds a special place in my memory. I spent many carefree summers exploring its canyon as a boy, and it is a place where my grandfather taught me how to fish with a fly. Even though its banks have changed over time, I didn't have much trouble locating the very stretch where I caught my first brown trout on a dry fly, many moons ago (see the pic with red glass rod.) Its deep canyon hides remnants of ten monasteries and the fortress which goes back to Roman times.

River Mlava is the largest spring creek of four Serbian streams I visited. It is a very fertile water with rich invertebrate fauna, and a well known producer of large brown trout. If you get a chance to visit this area, Mlava would be the stream I'd recommend to fish. However, the best managed Serbian stream as of this writing is River Gradac (near Valjevo in Western Serbia.) Unfortunately I didn't have enough time to visit it.

Serbian trout waters urgently need better management! I can only hope that Serbia will soon follow examples of smarter fishery management that is already being implemented with excellent results by other former Yugoslav states. There are several Internet forums where you can find info in English on flyfishing in Serbia:, and

River Resava, Serbia

River Crnica, Serbia

Krupajska River, Serbia

 River Mlava, Serbia