Chub – The First Fish On The Fly

Fly Fishing History

Whaaat???  Chub-the first fish on fly? It’s gotta be a joke!


Well, it isn’t. Read about ancient Macedonia in Fly Fishing History .  In Aelian’s  “Natural History” it is mentioned that people use a fly for fishing in hot-lowland-Mediterranean area between Thesalloniki and Veroia.

Well, if you try to find trout there, you will have not much luck. Every river around is warm-water full of chubs cruising just under the surface and searching for insects. No trout around!

Mecedonian river

You’d have to be blind to be there and not to see a fish that “asks” for your fly.

But, if ancient Macedonian fly fishers even do catch a trout (in some distant small creek, certainly not in specified area), they couldn’t miss much more common game-fish, the chub.


It is not well known that fly fishing for chub has a long tradition (at least) in Southeast Europe. Even in the times of wooden rod and horse hair, people have fished chub on the fly. After Aelian’s time, there was no reason for discontinuing that simple, effective and interesting fishing-technique. Unfortunately, memories about this faded away after a wave of trout-fishing-fashion that splash the world in the 20th century. That fashion was so strong that chub-fly-fishers even become shy in front of the “modern” fly fishing representatives. Many of them turn to trout, just trying to be “normal”. Not long ago, most of the fly fishers in the World consider trout as the top-fish, often the only fish that deserves to be hooked on the fly. Chub was disgusting to most of us.


Fortunately, 21st century brings a change into the world of fly fishing. Trout’s popularity falls down in favor of pike, grayling, bass, saltwater fish, carp…and of course, European chub. Everything is turned upside-down. Moreover, to be a fly fisherman who catch “other species” is considered progressive.  So, the new era of fly fishing for chub is here.

Fish That Was Created For Fly Fishing

Yes, It looks like chub is created for fly fishing. This fish is often on the surface, feeding with all stadiums of aquatic insects. Especially with adults we imitate with dry flies. It also feeds with various small animals, crayfish, small fish, frogs, leeches…and in addition, with plants and small fruits!

chub nisava

So, our fly can be dry, wet, nymph, streamer and even imitation of some part of the plant. Of course,  usually it is a dry fly.

Wary, sensitive, curious and intelligent

Chub is famous by his sense of hearing and eyesight. If someone wants to catch (or even to see) a chub, he must walk and move like a cat. Cracking noises and fast moves are not allowed. On the other hand, the sound of the fly can attract this fish. A moderate “pop” on the surface is a trigger.



River Tara, Fly Fishing In The Deepest Canyon In Europe


Long, deep and beautiful

The famous Montenegrin river Tara dug the second-deepest canyon in the world, 80 km long and 1333 m deep. Besides, this river is not famous just by huge rocks around but also by the gin-clear water. Due to the incredible beauty, river Tara and this canyon are protected by law and UNESCO.



The Tara Canyon is in middle to lower part of the river Tara in northern Montenegro. It is part of the Durmitor National Park.

The River

Tara is medium-size freestone river with an average width of 30 m. During the summer, at lowest water level, it is suitable for wading in many places.  Besides to the deep pools there are many shallows, and nearby fast riffles there is always some quiet part of the stream.


Fish & Fly Fishing

Tara is populated almost exclusively with wild Salmonids, brown trout, grayling and huchen.   Fly fishing in this clear and cold river is sometimes easy, but not always. Let’s say that Tara Canyon is not a rich fishery for newborn flyfishers, but the place for experienced adventurers and anglers.

Precisely balanced tackle, light tippets (0.10 – 0.14mm) and small tiny flies (#14-20) are recommended, especially for Tara’s grayling.


Brown trout is here also highly selective and wary too, but size of the fly can be a little bit bigger (#10-16).


Nymphists can enjoy lot of styles, but also very interesting and exciting nymphing-on-sight. Simply, nymphist can see his prey in incredibly clear water and lead the nymph to it, watching fish reaction.


Of course, there is opportunity of streamer fishing. Besides the popular brown trout, there is a mighty Danube-taimen, the huchen. In this canyon they are not so big as in Mongolia, but in almost every pool can be found a specimen of 5-10 kg.