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The river originates in Tatras, which are the highest part of the Carpathian mountain chain. The river originates as two separate creeks called “Czarny Dunajec” (Black Dunajec) and “Bialy Dunajec” (White Dunajec) that merge near the town Nowy Targ creating the river Dunajec. The area of the town Nowy Targ is rich in fish like: Grayling, Brown Trout, Danube Salmon (HUCHU-HUCHO).
On the upper part of the river Dunajec a dam has been built, which created an artificial lake “Jezioro Czorsztynskie”, rich in beautiful natural sceneries and also fish like: Pike, Zander, Perch, Danube Salmon.
On the surroundings rocks there are two old castles: Nidzica and Czorsztyn. Below the lake Jezioro Czorsztynskie, river Dunajec grows in size and its current accelerates, flowing through a magnificent canyon build of the Jurassic rocks of the Pieniny Mountains. This area is included into Pieninski National Park (National Park of the Pieniny Mountains). In this part of the river fishing is prohibited. Instead we can enjoy an unforgettable rafting trip.
The National Park provides perfect natural environment for fish, rivers near the state border always surprise the anglers with unexpected situations. The river Dunajec after leaving Pieniny Mountains flows through the area of Beskid Sadecki, a picturesque chain of mountains, build of sandstone, surrounded with dense forests. The geology of the river is very diversified; you can see here numerous cataracts and deep currents. Some parts of the river remain broad and shallow. All of it makes Dunajec river a wild and very challenging one.
In all these beautiful sceneries you can catch a wide variety of fish like: Grayling up to 50cm, brown trout up to 70cm and what’s the most exciting- the legendary Danube Salmon (Hucho-hucho fish), up to 20kg, which is here in great abundance. Catching hucho-hucho is extremely satisfying. Trout and Grayling we catch wit rods class 3-5, hucho-hucho with salmon rods. Sinking lines and floating lines depending on the method of fishing.
CATCH & RELEASE Segment
The catch and release segment of the Dunajec River, 12km away from Kroscienko is the most interesting place for fly fishermen. Here, the Dunajec flows through a beautiful and deep valley with steep cliffs on either side. The passage in which the river flows between the cliffs is very diverse and creates wonderful and interesting areas for fishing where you can’t get bored. We can fish here with great success using streamers, nymphs and everyone’s favourite – the dry fly. And there’s plenty to fish!
Catching 20-30 healthy salmon trout varying from 25 to 60cm is not difficult to do here. Although one must remember that the majority of these fish are wild and have their own temperament. Among other fish in the Dunajec we can find vast numbers of incredibly beautiful grayling with golden bellies and a lot of violet. Nowadays we can mostly catch grayling between 25 and 28cm but fish above 35 or even 50cm are not uncommon.
The real queen of the Dunajec though is the Danube salmon (Huchen). The numerous deep hollows cut into the cliffs provide the perfect environment for the huchen, allowing them to grow up to 20 kilograms. However, everybody knows that this fish is very unpredictable and difficult to catch.
In the catch and release section of the Dunajec we can fish all year long although in the months of January and February fishing is uncommon as the temperatures can drop to 30 degrees below zero and the river can be frozen. March also isn’t the greatest month to fish as winter snow begins to melt. Providing that the winter isn’t prolonged, April is a great month for fishing especially for the trout, commonly using either the streamer or the nymph.
One of the most beautiful months is May. At the beginning of May, the wintry waters from the Tatra Mountains are stopped by a reservoir situated 30 km upstream and create the perfect environment for insects to start developing therefore allowing the use of the dry fly. By mid-May there are already plenty of stoneflies /Plecoptera/ and by the end of the month large swarms of caddis-fly /sage,Trichoptera/. During this time fishing for evening trout using the dry fly leaves you with unforgettable emotions, although they bite throughout the whole day.
In May and June we can fish in the amazing scenery of blossoming trees and flowers and the singing of birds. All through the summer is a very special period but because of the heat during the day the best effects are early in the morning and in the evening. We can always count on swarms of varying insects which there are many of on the Dunajec.
In August the temperature starts becoming cooler which again extends the fish feeding to the whole day. Fishing in the evenings is still excellent and the streamer has stunning effects in the mornings.
Trout and grayling bite superbly in September, the weather is often beautiful and all methods of fishing are equally successful but the dry fly is still the most common. By October, the many species of trees change to the marvellous colours of autumn and fishing for grayling in scenery like this stays in your memory for a very long time. This is also the ideal time for Danube salmon – to catch it we need to use a large streamer with a strong, minimum class 7 rod. Catching a Danube salmon involves a lot of luck or many strokes of the rod. Dawn and dusk are the best times but the fish biting all day is not rare. With the right timing and location it can take only 20 minutes. When and where? Good question!
November and December are also great months for grayling and big Danube salmon but the weather starts to turn for the worse. We have to fish in declining conditions, often encountering frost and snow.
Things to know:
We cannot take caught fish home and we can only use hooks without barbs. We must have a fishing net without knots and the use of bite indicators is not allowed. We can use 2 types of bait simultaneously but we cannot use extra weights. Fishing can begin 1 hour before sunrise and end 1 hour after sunset. Fly fishing pants and waders are essential.