Croatia

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Fishing in Croatia

Croatia’s stunning emerald waters have captured the interest of vacationers the world over, from Plitvice National Park to Dubrovnik. Perfect for a little relaxation as well as epic scenes from the hit series Game of Thrones, there’s much more to these shores than pleasant scenery. Try fishing in Croatia once, and you’ll discover some of the best angling in Europe.

Top Fishing Spots in Croatia

The Adriatic Sea

The bright blue water of the Adriatic Sea is this region’s crowning jewel. The 430-mile long basin between Italy and Croatia is an endless source of adventure, whether you’re one for diving, snorkeling, luxury cruising, or deep sea fishing.

For anglers, the main attraction in these waters is Bluefin Tuna. Small and medium-sized Bluefins inhabit the southern Adriatic year-round, but it’s the giants which local anglers are mostly interested in. Big Bluefins make their entrance in spring, eventually reaching the northern part of the Adriatic in June. Anglers to the north catch them until November, while those on Croatia’s southern coast have the chance to fish for them through the end of the year.

The big game fishing Croatia has on its doorstep includes much more than Bluefin Tuna. Albacore, Swordfish, and Sharks are a common bycatch in these waters. Mahi Mahi appear in late summer and fall, while Seabream, Grouper, Mackerel, and many other bottom fish provide year-round action on the reefs just a few miles from shore. If you’re not keen on a day of deep sea fishing, a half day trip to the reefs is just the thing!

Danube River

Freshwater anglers will also have a field day fishing in Croatia. Among this country’s many lakes and rivers is the legendary Danube River, which weaves its way along the border between Croatia and Serbia in the north.

As the second largest river in Europe, the Danube offers anglers some big opportunities. Here you can fish for Carp, Catfish, Sturgeon, Bream, and Pike-Perch. June tends to be the most productive month, after the spring floodwaters recede. One of the best places to cast your line is the backwaters of Kopački Rit Nature Park, about a half-hour drive from Osijek.

The nearby Drava River also offers good sport fishing, where many anglers come to catch Pike, Carp, and Catfish.

Korana River

One of Croatia’s most accessible rivers is the Korana, which rises from the renowned Plitvice Lakes and stretches for 116 km (72 miles). After a day or two on the lakes, tourists can head here to fish for Pike and river Trout.

Gacka River

Gacka River is considered one of the best Grayling and Trout fishing waters in Europe. It’s not uncommon to land 3-4 kg (6.5-9 lb) Trout here. Only the upper part of this river is open to angling, and it’s restricted to fly fishing—excellent news for light tackle and fly fishing enthusiasts! Many people stay in and around Otočac when fishing the Gacka River.

Need to Know

Fishing Techniques

You can count on plenty of drift fishing on nearly any given big game fishing charter Croatia has to offer. Local anglers use this technique to target Tuna, Swordfish, and Sharks. Trolling is a secondary technique, usually used in spring to catch Mahi Mahi and smaller Tuna. Vertical jigging produces Dentex, Bonito, Amberjack, and other species near the reefs.

Other popular fishing methods include fly fishing and spearfishing, which has a long history in Croatia.

Regulations

A Croatian fishing license is required for anglers age 15 and older, whether fishing from a boat or on land. Many local charters provide a license for their customers, but it’s best to confirm this with the captain ahead of time.

Residents and visitors can buy a Croatian fishing license at local travel agencies, tourist offices, and port authorities. You must present your passport or another official form of ID upon purchase.

Visitors are welcome to purchase a fishing license for 1, 3, 7, or 30 days. Annual licenses are only available to citizens and permanent residents of Croatia.

Be sure to familiarize yourself with local regulations ahead of time, since some areas are not open to recreational fishing. Sport fishing in harbors, small ports, and public beaches is prohibited from May 1 - October 1.

Budget

You can typically expect to pay $600-$700 for a full day big game fishing trip in Croatia, depending on the size of your group. The ever-popular city of Dubrovnik tends to be more expensive, where full day trips range from $800 to over $1,000. Half day big game trips are less common, but you can find some for $300-500.

Reef fishing trips generally cost $300-$500. A shared trip may cost as little as $80 per person. Rates for night fishing and overnight charters are usually negotiated with the captain.

Getting Started

You’ll find fishing charters all along Croatia’s coast. Major fishing destinations in the south include Dubrovnik, Split, Trogir, Šibenik, Jezera, and Zadar. If you’re heading out of the Istrian Peninsula to the north, look for charter boats in Rovinj, Vrsar, and Poreč.

Chances are, an epic experience is waiting on these waters no matter where you set sail!

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Croatia Fishing Seasons

January

The best of Croatia’s big game season is months away. For now, Conger Eel, small Tuna, and Seabass will keep you busy.

February

If you’re eager for an adrenaline rush, Shark fishing can produce excellent action early in the year. Blue and Thresher Sharks are a constant source of action around here!

March

In some years, larger Bluefin and Albacore Tuna start arriving in March. Meanwhile, fishing for Amberjack, little Tunny, and Bonito is excellent.

April

Monster Bluefin season is underway in the southern reaches of the Adriatic Sea. Spend a day chasing these bad boys and catch Swordfish, Sharks, and more while you’re at it!

May

Summer tourists are showing up, which makes this a great time to beat the crowds (and the heat) with some big game fishing offshore! Dentex and Mackerel provide good action on the reefs.

June

By June, big Bluefin Tuna have made their way all the way up to the Istrian Peninsula. Anglers up and down the coast are busy making the most of the peak season.

July

Head to the island of Korčula for their annual angling competition organized by the “Kanjac” fishing association. All are welcome to enter in this competition, held on July 27.

August

August offers nothing less than the best of Croatian big game fishing. Massive Bluefins are biting everywhere from Porec down to Dubrovnik, less than 10 miles from shore.

September

Tourists are making their way home and big game fish are swimming closer to shore than ever! Mahi Mahi, Tuna, and plenty of other trophies are in store.

October

Big game fishing continues to deliver, with every big game species at its peak—from Bluefin Tuna and Mahi Mahi to Swordfish.

November

Anglers on the north Adriatic are making the most of monster Bluefin Tuna season as it draws to a close. Farther south, fishermen will continue catching these brutes until the end of the year.

December

Weather permitting, you can enjoy great success on the sea at this time of year. Tuna, Amberjack, Sharks, and much more are biting. Make it a holiday to remember!

Croatia Fishing Calendar

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What People Are Saying About Croatia

July fishing trip
Leszek . fished with Sharky Big Game Fishing on July 14, 2020
Polecamy nawet początkującym, chcącym przeżyć przygodę na morzu
Tunaholic
Andrew G. fished with Tunaholic Fishing Charter on September 16, 2019
Go with these guys. It's there local water and you will catch nice fish
Awesome trip with awesome guide
Michael P. fished with eFISHent on July 9, 2019
Don't fish by your own - book a charter for sure, because they know some good spots and you will be successful :)
Authentic Croatian fishing experience
Andrew D. fished with Sunset Fishing On The Island on July 5, 2019
Go for quantity and various species rather than targeting Tuna which aren't spawning in July.
Afternoon fishing trip
Anthony G. fished with Maritimo Fishing Dubrovnik on June 29, 2019
Just go for it, there's plenty of fish there, so give it a try.
Great captain and boat, fish didn’t cooperate
Vukan S. fished with eFISHent on June 16, 2019
Make sure you’re fishing the appropriate season depending on the fish you are going after. Sometimes moving your trip just a week can make a huge difference in terms of catch.
Trip with Nikola and Ulf
Erik K. fished with eFISHent on May 7, 2019
Within three hours we hooked a bluefin tuna.
Amazing Half Day Boat Trip
Billy S. fished with Honesto Maena Fishing Charters on May 2, 2019
Everything is well arranged. Make sure to communicate your plans and wishes properly through the messaging app or phone.

Top Fishing Techniques in Croatia

Top Targeted Species in Croatia