This is the river in Western Serbia, near the town of Užice. Upper part of the river, just few kilometers from the town, is very clean and clear, so the present fish-specieas are Grayling, Brown trout and Huchen.
Djetinja runs through a gorge, but very approachable. The small road goes along the river.
Along the road you will find benches, garbage cans and sources of drinking water. In that, this is one of the best flyfishing stretch in Serbia.
Djetinja is very suitable for fly fishing. It is easy wadeable, with plenty of diverse positions and conditions to cast a fly. There are lot of quiet pools, but also rapids. Average depth of the river is about 70cm and width is maximum 15m. Deepest pools are up to 3m deep.
Djetinja is excellent for dry fly fishing, but also for nymphing and streamers.
Brown trout is the oldest fish here, but huchen and grayling are introduced several years ago. Graylings already reach the trophy size and huchens are present in every pool. They are not so big, because the river is too small for that big predator, but specimens about 80cm are not rare.
This is widespread and abundant spring-time sedge from running waters. It hatches on the open water. Huge swarms can be seen above the high and mid altitude rivers. Waterside bushes and bridges can be buried with grannoms.
Length of the wings can vary between 6 to 11 millimeters. The body is grayish with green or brown tone. Characteristically, the female has a pouch with green eggs on the abdomen, which will lay walking under water.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
The Loud Attacker
It’s a fish that makes you really excited. When this predator attacks small fish, it looks like the two crocodiles are fighting on the water surface.
There are other predator-fish in Europe, but none of these can compare to the only cyprinid-fish-eater. Huchen, pike, wels, trout…they are too quiet, slow and unattractive attackers compares to asp.
“Crazy” asp is banging, twirling, jumping, tail-walking…and doing it very often. Sometimes, I can’t understand how other fish in the pool can live with that hooligan.
The Fair Fighter
Asp don’t use shelters to attack like other European predators. He grab the prey on the open water, chasing it in small groups and using special strategy and tactics. They are very fast, sharp-eyed and intelligent , so they use only that advantages to hunt.
So, asp is not insidious killer, but open fighter. It should be appreciated.
Good thing for us is that asp don’t look for shelter neither when is hooked!
Asp is inhabitant of lowland mid to large rivers of European continent. Most people called him “warm water” species. This is an advantage for those who love heat. Wading in warm water, without waterproof equipment, is real pleasure. Exactly the same as wading tropical saltwater flats. Of course, it is possible only during the summer.
Fly Fishermen often make mistakes when choosing equipment for asp. The most common mistake is choosing heavy equipment. This fish doesn’t require heavy flies and it’s not a strong and explosive fighter on the hook. Sometimes it’s good to cast further, but it can be done without problem with aftma class #5- #6 for single-handed rods and #6-#7 two-handed rods. As a matter of fact, asp is very scary and ware of rough presentation and line.
Believe it or not, my favorite fly rod for asp is 9 feet #5, the same rod I fish trout. Of course, my favorite rivers are wadeable and less then 50m wide.
Asp can be caught on all types of flies, but mostly on streamer. You can catch him on nymph, wet fly or dry fly, but if you are serious in intent to hook the big asp, streamer is the best choice.
Asp eats small white fish, so the best streamers are light colored. You can mix white with yellow, pink, chartreuse…but you won’t miss if you tie a pure white streamer.
Size of the streamer may vary. It usually depends on the water level and color. Daytime, weather conditions, water and stripping speed… are important too. Smaller streamers in # 10 – 4 are better in low, clear water, sunny weather, quiet pools… Larger streamers are good for riffles, upstream casting, fast stripping, cloudy weather…
Streamers shouldn’t be heavy. On the contrary, they should almost swim on the surface. During the summer, asp is surface hunter, and streamers should be just 10-20 cm under…
Upwinged flies are the most popular insects in the fly fishing . There’s a reason for that: They are the easiest to see and there are plenty of types in different colors , which attracts our attention to its beauty . Although the late winter present numerous midges, we act like we don’t see them, but we get very excited when we see the first upwinged fly in the season – Baetis rhodani .
Subimago of this insect sail helpless on the water and this attracts the fish to feed in the atmosphere . Rising and splashing were able to see earlier, because the midges were on the water in the middle of winter, but… Now the real thing begins : A sailboats , who we follow to the moment when fish turn them into a bite . “Bluurrrpp!” So powerful ! After a long winter break , dry fly anglers are on the move again.
Size: About 1 cm + tails
1st Hatch: February-May
2nd Hatch: October-December