H2O Magazine

RIVER SLUNJCICA

A PIECE OF CROATIAN HEAVEN
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THE CITY OF SLUNI

Settled in the mountainous part of Central Croatia, not far from one of the best known and most visited destinations in the country- the beautiful Plitivice Lakes National Park – the little town called Slunj is a true little “World Wonder”. Located above the rivers Slunjcica and Korana in a unique and picturesque area just by the main road that leads from the capital Zagreb, through the town of Karlovac, to Plitvice Lakes, Slunj is really hard to miss.

This charming little town will welcome you with the deep canyon of the river Korana that suddenly opens up in front of you, offering a fantastic view and, to be honest, this is the moment that every angler or simply a nature lover will remember for a long time. Although Slunj  suffered a lot during the war time (part of the natural heritage has been irreversibly destroyed), it has been slowly but carefully renewed and today it is not only one of the best decorated little places in the country but it totally deserves all the glory it can get.

Today Slunj  is well known for its amazing cuisine, great service, a whole bunch of positive energy and fresh air. Of course, with the short but fascinating Slunjcica river, Slunj is also known for good fishing.

“AND A RIVER RUNS THROUGH IT…”

Only a few kilometers south from Slunj, in a deep canyon, river Slunjcica streams its short way to river Korana. Colored in beautiful eyecatching turquoise, this little river makes home to native brown trout, rainbow trout and the species this river is best known for – grayling.  Slunjcica is very small but it has spots where the biggest grayling are hiding. Although the average grayling size measures around 35-40 centimeters,  fish well over 50 centimeters are caught quite often.

As beautiful as it may be in the eyes of the bystander, when it comes to fly fishing, Slunjcica is not one of those waters where you can catch your fish with no effort. This water will test your knowledge and experience, it will often make you question your abilities as a fly angler, it will challenge you – but if you are patient enough and you are capable of taking a minute or two to “read the water”, you can expect some great fun and some very nice catches.

Of course it is not easy to advise an experienced or a novice angler in a few sentences but if you come to fish this water, you will have to fill your nymph box especially with Rhyacophilla, Hydropsyche and cased caddis larvae imitations, gammarus nymphs varying from size 12 to the smallest size you can tie and a nice ammo of Mayfly imitations. Grayling in Slunjcica like small flies and among other imitations they will happily grab a wet or dry ant, a tiny maggot imitation and, on some spots, tiny gammarus are the only flies that do the job.

A LITTLE WONDERPLACE CALLED RASTOKE

Just a few hundred meters from the center of Slunj, there is a true little heaven called Rastoke. This is the place where Slunjcica ends its journey and  it merges to river Korana.  Over travertine rocks, Slunjcica picturesquely dissolves into more than twenty waterfalls and each of them will take your breath away.

This area is full of authentic renewed houses and most of them have their own mill. Local people are usually standing in front of their houses to offer you some fresh corn, rye or flour and some of them even bake their own traditional bread which is simply delicious. Talking about good food, there are some great restaurants in this area where you can try local dishes like fresh trout or young lamb.

In one of the restaurants you can actually catch your own trout from the pool and have it prepared on a wooden grill or the old traditional way – rolled in domestic, freshly grinded corn flour and fried. Sounds fun? It sure is!

PRICES, REGULATIONS AND PLACES TO STAY

Luckily, accommodation is pretty cheap in the area and it is possible to rent a room with an air conditioner and a SAT TV for about 20 EUR per night. Staying in one of those traditional houses built on rocks just beside the water is something to talk about. You might want to write down the link to the tourist board of Slunj which is www.tz-slunj.hr where you can find additional info and check out the places for rent.

As for fly fishing, the daily license is 150 HRK which is equal to 20 EUR and fly anglers are allowed to take 2 fish meaning 2 trout or 2 grayling or one of each species both measuring over 30 centimeters. It is allowed to use the lures too so trout can be caught with spin tackle as well. It is forbidden to take fish on the Rastoke location which means that fishing is allowed but the fish need to be quickly released and it is also forbidden to use spin tackle on this area.

The daily licenses are being sold in practically every restaurant and coffee shop. Another important thing to mention is that Slunjcica river is not one of those crowded waters and if you like to be alone on the water, this little river is just the right place. Of course, you can’t miss the Plitvice Lakes National Park!, so check your vacation dates, plan your stay, make some phone calls and come and get your piece of pure heaven!

 

Aleksandar Vrtaric

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