I have been fishing hundreds of rivers in my life on all continents. However, I have never experienced such a massive abundance of dragonflies at any other river in my life. Despite the fact the river is as far down the coast as Split the insects were plentiful there. The Cetina is a perfect place to combine your summer holidays at the beach with early morning and evening fishing for good browns and grayling. Give it a try!
The 1st of March is New Year's day for all fly fishermen in this part of Croatia since it is the date of the opening of the trout fishing season. The fisherman's year here lasts until September 30th when fishermen all across Dalmatia pack up their fishing poles and go hibernating as they were bears during the winter.
Cetina River is the queen of Dalmatia. It is 101 kilometers long and rises from three strong mountain wells below the town of Vrlika. The first 70 kilometers are a highly appreciated fishing area. It is home to brown trout (strong Salmo dentex), grayling, and numerous endemic species such as zebra trout, an endemic trout that lives only in a few rivers in the entire world, the Cetina, and one more European river system!
One part of Cetina is called Čikotina Lada, a strongly protected fly fishing area of the fishing club ŠRD ‘Cetina’-Sinj. This is not only because of the endemic fish species living there but also because it is the home of more than 200 endemic species of flying bugs and insects. The protected fly fishing zone is a tailwater situated between the dam of Perućko Jezero and the beginning of the canyon. Cetina then flows south to finally meet the Adriatic Sea near the town of Omiš.
No wonder why Cetina is so rich in underwater life. It has eight wild tributaries and two big lakes, and the water is so pure and clear that is home to the first coralline algae (Pneophyllum cetinaesnis) that transferred from the sea into the river. In addition, Grab River - one of its tributaries - is home to the olm (Proteus anguinus), an endemic and rare blind lizard that lives in caves.
Apart from Cetina and its tributaries, two more rivers enrich this part of Dalmatia – Žrnovnica and Jadro - both 40-50 minutes of a car ride from the protected fly fishing zone on Cetina. They are home to the endemic softmouth trout, a living relict!
While living this adventure the fishermen are best accommodated in Sinj, a small town located in the heart of the Dalmatian Inland with its rich historical and cultural heritage protected by UNESCO. Sinj is close to Čikotina Lada, the tailwater where the fly fishing zone starts. Sinj has reached gastronomic history thanks to a clash between Oriental and Mediterranean cuisine. Have your daily meal scheduled in a traditional tavern that offers delicious local specialties!
The fishing is best in April and May but if you are in Dalmatia for your summer holidays the Cetina is worth a try, too. You can reach the river by car within 1 h 5 min from the famous Trogir (66 km via D1) and about 55 min (50 km) from Split. So, you can enjoy the day at the beach with your family, and go fishing for trout or grayling in the morning and evening.
Due to the summer heat, the hatching periods will be short but you can still expect to catch a 50 cm plus brownie on a dry fly.
Sounds good, doesn’t it?
Guiding - information
Boško Klaric lives right besides Cetina river and knows it like his pocket. He will guide you at the river. Bosko is also an excellent fly tier who has won many awards. He speaks English fluently.
Some more impressions from Cetina River
The information about this river was provided by Boško Klaric. Thanks a lot, for joining me fishing this beautiful Croatian river.