One day of tenkara fishing in Croatia.

by Oleg Stryapunin, CZ

My annual family beach holidays at the Istria coast with sunbathing, swimming and snorkling bored me after a couple of days this year. Fortunately I had the possibility to diversify my vacation with a day-trip, fishing the Croatian mountains. The Kupa River and its tributaries in the area of the Risnjak national park make for some good places to fish with the fly.

The town of Brod-na-Kupi is 140 km from the western coast of Istria and reachable by car in two hours. A state fishing license is not required to fish there. A one-day permit is available at the restaurant on the main crossroad before the border with Slovenia. Please note that you need cash to pay there. The nearest ATM is in Delvice town in 15 km. The permit cost is 150 kunas (22 EUR) for the Kupa River and 250 kunas (35 EUR) for the Kupa and tributaries Kupica and Curak.
The Kupa is easily accessible from the road. Catch and release is mandatory for grayling and I found a lot of them there. In the crystal-clear water of the slow stretches and mirror pools, small grayling are easily visible. These grayling are spooky and do not take flies, but at the nearest run I caught a dozen modest sized grayling in half an hour. 

At the end of August all the big grayling are in deeper pools. I saw teams of 15-20” specimens slowly moving in the emerald water and glistening in the sun. I managed to hook one with a nymph on a stream flowing into a pool, but all the others ignored my flies. The water was very warm and these large grayling were not feeding during the day. To find active fish I went to the tributaries.

The water in the tributaries–Kupica and Curak–is definitely colder than in the Kupa. Both rivers run through canyons where the current is stronger and the fish are much more active in the summertime heat, so I went there to fish. The tributaries are catch and release areas. The Kupica is accessible easily by car from the confluence of the Kupa up to the village of Mala Lesnica. The Curak is also accessible by car for 4 km upstream from the confluence to the Kupica near the village of Isevnica.

tenkara
Both rivers look perfect for tenkara; I chose the Curak and was not disappointed. I stopped my car near the first run and caught a nice 15” bow on the first cast. I quickly regretted not wearing waders: the water was cold and wading was uncomfortable.

Moving alongside the river through the bushes, I fished some runs, sometimes hooking nice little WBTs and found a lovely pool with flowing stream and a visible flock of decent-sized fish near the bottom: grayling! I switched to a heavier kebari and got a take on the very first cast. Fortunately, at this moment my mate with the camera passed me on his way to the next fishing spot and got some nice shots, recording the fight, the catch and the release. All the other grayling spooked and I moved upstream, focusing on the deeper pools. I caught some nice grayling, brownies and bows in two hours of perfect tenkara fishing under the canopies of the beautiful Curak stream.

Lodging near Kupa is available. The hotel “Mance”, http://www.hotelmance.com/ is located in the center of Brod-na-Kupi. Driving through the Kuzelj village I saw the signes “SOBE” which means there are rooms for rent. Also you can contact the fly angler, Darko Gorjan, at https://www.facebook.com/croatia.flyfishing for inexpensive fisherman’s lodging in Zakraic Brodski near Curak, like I did.

Curak. The grayling.
 With Darko Gorjan: fly swap :).
Oleg Stryapunin: The oldest tenkara angler I’ve met. >>