The most interesting freshwater fish species in Slovenia

Brown trout (Salmo trutta)

Brown trout is our most widespread indigenous species of trout. It inhabits clear streams with a lot of oxygen and grows from 25 to 80 cm in length and weighs over 10 kg. The colour palette of the specimens can vary. Its cylindrical body is sprinkled with red spots, white and black spots are also frequent. On the back is dark brown or grey, the belly is white to butter yellow in the lower part.

Fishermen on average catch specimens between 25 and 50 cm. The authorized fishing methods for brown trout are in Slovenia fly fishing and, exceptionally, spinning (the authorized fishing method is written on the licence, so carefully read it before fishing). The most successful lures are various dry flies, nymphs and streamers, smaller shads, metal lures and wobblers also come in handy. The brown trout fishing season starts on April 1st (somewhere also earlier) and lasts until September 30th.

Marble trout (Salmo marmoratus)

Marble trout is one of the largest salmonid species in Slovenia. It only inhabits fast flowing waters of the Adriatic basin. Due to the introduction of brown trout into the Soča watercourses, the marble trout was on the verge of extinction decades ago, as it is a subspecies of brown trout, and in the case of crossing, their offspring are fertile. With the successfully acquired genetic material and artificial breeding, it was re-inhabited. Its population is strong in the Soča, Idrijca, Vipava, Reka, and Rižana with its tributaries. For this trout species, a marble pattern is characteristic, which is especially visible on the back, head, and front of the body.

It grows up to 120 cm in length and reaches 20 kg. Fishermen on average catch specimens between 30 and 70 cm. Marble trout is a solitary fish, but nevertheless interesting for fishing. The allowed methods are fly fishing and, exceptionally, spinning (the authorized fishing method is written on the licence, so please read it carefully before fishing). We are successfully fishing them from April to the end of September, and from artificial lures, we usually use dry flies, nymphs, streamers and various artificial lures (where permitted).

Hybrid (marble trout x brown trout)

The marble trout may crossbreed with a brown trout, and the offspring is called a hybrid. We fish them in the same manner as marble or brown trout. In appearance, they are sometimes difficult to distinguish from the genetically pure specimen.

Grayling (Thymallus thymallus)

Grayling is one of the most popular freshwater fish species in Central Europe, especially for fly anglers. It grows up to 60 cm in length, but fishermen on average catch those that measure between 25 and 45 cm. A 50 cm long grayling is a trophy. Silver knights, as they are fondly called by the fishermen, love the clear and oxygen-rich watercourses, where the power of the water has settled down a bit. They inhabit the Soča, Sava, Ljubljanica, Kolpa, Savinja and other similar rivers (including their tributaries).

Grayling is characterized by a large and colourful dorsal fin and mouth, where it has no teeth like trout. Nevertheless, it often goes for a fish or a leech, although most of its menu consists of insects and bottom food. Fishing in Slovenia is permitted only with fly fishing technique and with one artificial fly, attached to the hook without a barb. The fishing season lasts from May 16th until November 30th.

Common carp (Cyprinus carpio)

One of the most common fish and the most interesting fish species in Slovenia is a common carp. We distinguish wild and cultivated form, of which the latter is by far the most widespread. Carp is a typical representative of the cyprinids. He loves calm water, full of weeds and vegetation, and can cope with the environment with a lower degree of dissolved oxygen. It grows up to 120 cm in length and weighs more than 40 kg. In Slovenia, the current unofficial carp record is 34.6 kg. The fish was caught in 2013 in the Šmartinsko lake.

The carp has a cylindrical body and a large head with fleshy mouths, at the end of which are moustaches. They help the animal with detecting environmental information, especially those related to eating. The carp body can be completely covered with scales, but it might also not be. The basic forms of carp are scaley, mirror (rarer and larger scales) and leather (without scales). The fishing season of the carp lasts the whole year, sometimes even less (when spawning). In recent years, groundfishing is very popular. Anglers also love to fish him with a float, while as a bait they use boilies, bread, sweet corn grains, and earthworms.

Rainbow trout (Onchorinchus mykiss)

It is classified as salmon because it does not have much in common with the native Danube trout species. In addition to carp, the rainbow trout is one of the most widespread non-native fish species in Slovenia, and it is also one of the most interesting freshwater fish species for fishing. The body of the rainbow trout is sprinkled with numerous tiny black spots, among which the skin is reddish, purple, green or even bluish. From there, its name (rainbow trout) is derived. The head and the mouth are similar to all trout, and it has also many small and sharp teeth.

It can weigh up to 10 kg and measures from 20 to 90 cm. In the world, there are known examples that go beyond these dimensions, especially in an anadrome form, also called steelheads. In our country, on average, we are fishing those measuring between 25 and 50 cm. The rainbow trout inhabit the flowing and standing waters, they are relatively well adaptable to the environment, and interesting for fishing, because they are less scary than brown or marble trout, they quickly attack the bait, and they are struggling hard and give the fishermen a tremendous amount of fishing pleasure. The fishing season runs from 1st April to 30th November. Fishermen may fish them with a fly fishing technique, exceptionally with spinning techniques, coarse fishing and ground fishing (the permitted fishing method is written on the licence, so carefully read it before fishing).

Huchen (Hucho hucho)

Huchen is our biggest salmonid. It grows up to 130 cm in length and weighs up to 30 kg. He is a relative of the Asian taimen, and for the sake of easier understanding, foreigners are often referred to as the Danube salmon. Its living environment is confined to rivers flowing into the Danube. Due to the dams, water pollution, and inadequate rivers, its population drastically decreases.

His large body, which is gray to copper, is sprinkled with dark spots. It has a big mouth full of sharp teeth. An adult huchen, which is normal for large salmonids, is usually an exquisite predatory fish, active especially early in the morning, late in the evening and at night. The fishing season for the huchen takes place from 1st October to 14th February included, this period is even shorter in certain districts. Anglers fish for him with spinning and fly fishing techniques, and among the most popular lures are wobblers, shads, streamers and so on. When huchen is on, he fights hard and shakes with his head. To catch a huchen is one special experience, and a catch of the trophy specimen is an unforgettable experience for the fisherman.

Northern pike (Esox lucius)

Pike is an extremely interesting fish. According to the way of eating, it is a classic predator, while it spawns on the underwater weeds. Its elongated cylindrical body has a large head with a mouth, reminiscent of the duck beak. It has many large and very sharp teeth. They help her when she catches another fish (often also her own species), smaller by-pass vertebrates and other animals. It grows up to 130 cm in length and can weigh more than 20 kg. They prefer to inhabit peaceful waters, rich in vegetation. We will find it in lakes and many ponds, it is also common in the middle and lower sections of rivers.

The pike season lasts from May 1st to January 31st. Anglers fish it with a technique of spinning and fly fishing, and among artificial lures, which anglers prefer to use, wobblers, shads, metal lures and streamers need to be mentioned.

Zander (Sander lucioperca)

The zander belongs to the group of predators and is a relative of the perch. It is a distinctly nocturnal fish that hunts at night, early in the morning and late in the evening. It grows up to a meter in length and can weigh more than 10 kg. It has a cylindrical body of golden green colour, and on its back, there is a string of sharp spines. In a muzzle that is slightly pointed, it has big and sharp teeth.

In Slovenia, fishermen most often catch zanders between 50 and 70 cm. It lives in running and standing waters, but it is not very widespread. Zander likes quieter places covered with underwater vegetation. Fishermen are fishing it with artificial baits, and rarely with a piece of dead fish. The min. length is 50 cm in Slovenia and the protection period from 1.3. to 31.5.

Among the gourmands, zander meat is highly appreciated. Since there are not many in Slovenia, fishermen are increasingly choosing C&R type of fishing. Most often, they go to the Lake Klivnik, to some rivers in Styria and Pomurje, Lake Bled and others.

Catfish (Silurus glanis)

It is considered the largest among freshwater fish living in Slovenia. It is not as widespread as elsewhere in Europe, but its population is increasing. It inhabits calm and deep waters, which are not necessarily rich in oxygen. It is more resistant to contaminated water. It grows up to 3 m in length and can weigh more than 100 kg. In Slovenia, fishermen most often catch specimens of about one meter, and they are often about 2 meters in size. The unofficial record was caught in 2017 in Lake Velenje (more than 70 kg).

It is common in Vipava, the lower Sava River, Lake Bled and many standing rivers, especially in Styria and Pomurje. Fishermen use techniques of spinning, fishing with float and ground fishing. They use artificial baits, earthworms, blood and animal offal. The minimum length is 60 cm and the protection period is 1.5. to 30.6.