It is well known that the history of Greece is like no other in the world and is studied in almost school, in every country. Greek mythology, the Olympic Games and ancient monuments of cultural heritage have made Greece one of the most documented and visited places in the world. However, what is her contribution in the history of fly-fishing?
The first written reference to fly-fishing was made by the Greek-Roman Claudius Aelianus in his book “De Animalium Natura”, written in the 2nd century A.D. His scripts refer to the river Astraeus in Macedonia, then part of the Roman empire, located between the Greek cities of Veroia and Thessalonica. The local inhabitants were using an artificial fly for their river fishing. Unbelievable as it may sound, this was the beginning of fly-fishing.
Three quarters of Greece is mountainous terrain. On the Greek mainland, a series of mountain, aligned northwest to southeast, enclose narrow parallel valleys and numerous streams and lakes. Greek rivers and streams, at higher elevation, are inhabited by wild brown trout.
There are two types of trout in Greece, the brown trout and the rainbow. The brown trout has been living in Greece’s rivers for thousands of years. The rainbow trout is imported and comes from America. It was brought to Greece for breeding and dietary purposes. The main reason for its import was because its rate of growth is match faster than that of the brown trout. In a very short amount of time the rainbow trout managed to acclimatize itself to the environment of the Greek rivers and lakes, just like the brown. Many rainbow trout regained their freedom from fish-farms, whereas others were released into some lakes as part of enrichment programs. The American trout is much more voracious and less discriminating than the native Greek trout, and as the result it is easier to catch.
In Greece you can find other species that will take a fly, such as carp, barbell, European Chub and in lakes, pike and perch in north Greece.
Many of our insects: the stonefly, caddis, mayflies and grasshoppers are very similar to the same insects in the UK and North America.
Fly-fishing is not well known in Greece and most Greeks are totally unaware of its existence. Perhaps it is because of numerous wars and many years of occupation that people did not have the luxury to practice a sport that is considered to be a privilege of the gentry and certainly requires time. Poverty and need resulted in fishing for the table, using any available means that produced quick results. We need to mention that 95% of fish we personally catch are immediately released.
The majority of trout anglers using spinning methods. Fly-fishing featured in Greece during the last decade and has been gradually increasing its supporters. In 2013 there are about 30 known fly-fishermen in the whole of Greece, but there seems to be interest by a lot of young fishermen.
Lately we created The Astraeus Fly Fishing Club which aims to bring forth fly fishing in Greece, the management of Greek rivers and the protection of domestic wild trout. You can contact Astraeus Fly Fishing Club through: www.astraeus.gr/ and our Fly Fishing website through: http://www.flyfishing.gr
See some fly fishing videos we produced
So Greece is not only a country of Mediterranean beaches, islands and ouzo. The Fly Fishing could be an alternative way to discover the Greece of mountain villages, lakes, rivers, bears, wolves and, yes, brown trout!!!
You can see the association’s website below.