Short guide through the river Rižana

The river Rižana is a small karst river originating under the edge of the karst region and flowing into the Gulf of Trieste. For more than 50 years the RD Koper has been managing this area providing for co-natural breeding of the trouts and thereby preserving the indigenous trout population. In the heavily overgrown riverbed of the river Rižana the dominating species are brown trouts of the  special color called Rižanski križanci. The fly fishing season on the Rižana starts already in March and ends in December. Long fly-fishing season has its own charm in each time of the year. The best conditions are when the water levels are between 1 m 3 / s and 4 m 3 / s.
In the Rižana the wild fish, that are very timid and not used to human proximity, dominate so it is extremely important to keep a careful approach.
Let’s start our 12 km journey where the river becomes the river Rižana – at the spring – below the village Hrastovlje, which is converted into a water reservoir for the entire coastal region. The spring is an excellent starting point for fly fishing as it has a regulated sandy parking lot next to the water (here). The river is more narrow, deeper, and fast here, which provides an excellent habitat for rainbow trouts and large marble trouts.
The river then calmly continues its way past the village of Žgani and flows under the bridge Averski most – this is the largest bridge that crosses the river Rižana – underneath it there is a larger pool, which is suitable location for fishing with a dry fly. It also has a parking space (here) and  access to water is possible following the overgrown path right next to the bridge.
After the bridge  Averski most the river descends into the valley Kortinska dolina. Here we have several starting points where you can leave your car. The first is under a large road sign (here) and the other at an old house (here). The Rižana’s current is the calmest here due to a number of smaller dams. The fishing here when  water level is low can be very difficult and only suitable for experienced fly fishermen.
The channel then turns towards the village of  Rižana where it is the best to leave the car in front of the old village inn (here) and cross the river on a small bridge and then continue along the left bank on foot: there are paths through the fields.The river narrows and speeds up in the village which can be very dangerous when the water level is high.. It is the area of the river where many beautiful brown trouts were caught.  When the flow gets faster a smaller streamer (wooly buger) proved to be very successful.
After the village Rižana downstream, we have the next starting point at “Štepančič,” where we cross the railroad by car and then leave it on the narrow road (here), where the dam was built. The river in this section varies; from rapids to the deeper pools, which makes fishing exciting and dynamic.
We now move on to the next starting point : the local rural touristic place, where we leave the car at the garbage bins (here). We continue on foot, crossing  the courtyard of the farmhouse and find ourselves at the place where we have good access to water and numerous pools and rapids. After the farm the river begins to slow its course down and is very popular for fly fishing all the way up to the fishing lodge of the RD Koper, where it is also possible to leave a car (here).
The most successful flies on the river Rižana at the beginning of the season-when the  the water level is high- are various streamers or heavier nymphs in natural colors.When the water level is lower , we use lighter nymphs (# 8 # 14) and F-Flies ( # # 14-18). In the warmer part of the season the gray gammarus flies were very successful and in the evenings various soft hackle  flies or larger dry flies.
In conclusion I would say that the river Rižana represents a great spot for fly fishing challanges for every fly fisherman and every effort is richly rewarded with  beautiful catches of  wild trouts.
To find out more about fishing regime on the river Rižana, click here :

Peter Kodre | Peter Kodre, zgodovinar in ljubitelj morja. Ribič od malih nog, uspešen tekmovalec in dolgoletni član slovenske reprezentance za ribolov na morju. Več let uspešno svetoval strankam obalnih ribiških trgovin. Znanje ponuja tudi v praksi, od leta 2013 s svojim čolnom spremlja ljudi na morski ribolov po slovenskem morju.

4 thoughts on “Short guide through the river Rižana

  • 15/06/2015 pri 22:02

    As always very informative, great resource for those interested in fishing the Rizana.

  • 22/02/2017 pri 20:10

    Hi, i was fishing Rizana last summer not very succesfully. I had no car and stayed at kmetija Bordon. Water was very low and river difficult to approach due to vegetation. Next week i plan to stay at Bordon again and plan fishing at the start of seasson. Can you advice where to go to have longer part of river for wading and casting ? I was thinking start at the dam downstream. Or is it better down from ribiski dom ?

    Thanks for info


    • 01/03/2017 pri 10:03

      Dear Petr, start at Bordon and head upstream (always go upstream!). At the start, there is lots of hybrids. Second stretch is at Cepki and third in Rižana village. There is really LOTS of fish but the place is full of bushes and branches.

      We strongly advise you to move very carefully and slowly, because fish is wild and therefore very cautious. Use roll cast only and fish with nymphs and streamers. Hope this small advice helps! Best regards and tight lines 🙂


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