Fishing in Turkey

A country of two continents and four seas, the mighty Tigris and Euphrates and mysterious mountain lakes, Turkey is an alluring angling enigma.
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About Turkey

Turkey is one of the world’s few countries that are located over two continents: Europe and Asia. It has an extensive coast of the Mediterranean, Aegean, Marmara, and Black Seas, Turkey’s inland waters include a multitude of rivers and lakes, often flowing through impressive mountainous environments. Overall, Turkey provides a rich variety of fishing environments set against the backdrop of its rich historical landscapes and vibrant culture. Fishing opportunities in different parts of Turkey vary dramatically. On the Black Sea coast the tourism industry, including that of recreational angling, is much less developed. The Black Sea is joined to the rest of the world’s oceans by narrow Straits of Dardanelles and Bosporus, serving as bottlenecks. Its lower layers are anoxic, that is, have very low oxygen level, which does a good job of preserving wrecks, but, sadly for anglers, no fish can live in these layers. Turkey’s inland waters potentially offer unique opportunities that remain little known to international fishing community. The country has a plethora of rivers and lakes, including Lake Van, one of the world’s biggest inner saltwater lakes, as well as the Euphrates and Tigris rivers, with several man-made reservoirs on them. And the mountain streams and lakes of Turkey’s inland are still waiting to be discovered by the international angling community. Most recreational fishing offers in Turkey are located on the Aegean and Mediterranean Seas, an area which has an extensive tourism industry. The land is indeed a tourist magnet. From the siege of Troy to early Christianity to crusades to WWI, the land we now call Turkey has seen countless vital historic events. Warm seas and cozy beaches, diving and snorkeling, as well as vibrant nightlife attract thousands of tourists, mostly from Europe. Numerous fishing charters cater to the demands of the tourists, and take them out in pursuit of the classic Mediterranean fish species.

Fishing Types

Turkey’s angling opportunities are as varied as its landscapes. Offshore and deep-sea fishing in the Aegean and Mediterranean are popular for those seeking big game adventures. The seas near popular beach resorts seldom have good offshore fishing nearby, bear it in mind when choosing your fishing charter. Nearshore and inshore outings, often from bigger, but slower traditional style boats, can be both accessible and rewarding to anglers that pursue smaller, but delicious species such as seabass or sea bream. There are numerous rocky reefs, and, as these waters have been sailed since the first ships were invented, there's no shortage of wrecks. At the time of writing, we have no information on recreational fishing charters on the Black Sea, but it doesn’t mean they don’t exist. Freshwater fishing in Turkey adds another dimension. The most popular options among the tourists are backcountry fly fishing outings into the mountains, that often involve a pickup from a seaside resort and a 100-150 km. drive into the relative wilderness. with various options on the table from carp fishing in the lakes to backcountry fly fishing trips into the mountains. River and lake fishing elsewhere in Turkey is better known to locals than to international visitors - how many American or European anglers can boast of having caught an endemic trout in Lake Abant or a mangar in River Tigris?

Targeted Fish Species

On the Mediterranean and Aegean coasts of Turkey an angler may catch all the typical species for these seas, starting from the majestic swordfish, bluefin tuna, mahi-mahi, as well as such nearshore species as black seabream, amberjack, seabass, leerfish, red snapper, and grouper. The fish fauna of the Black Sea is much less diverse, owing both to anoxic lower levels and the straits that the larger pelagics can’t seem to cross. The main target for the fishermen there are bluefish, mackerel, and anchovy, as well as turbot and Black Sea salmon. Turkey’s freshwaters are home to the typical Eurasian fish fauna, from carp and barbel to zander, perch, and pike, but there's more. You can also catch several species of trout, from rainbow trout that escaped from fish farms to native brown trout, including some unique varieties. Turkey's endemic species include pearl mullet is the only fish species that can live in the salty Lake Van, and mangar or pike barbel - a species of barbelfound in the Tigris and Euphrates river basins that, unlike most other members of the family, prefers predatory lifestyle - impressed the British travelers so much that they dubbed it “The Tigris salmon”.

Fishing Techniques

The fishing techniques employed in Turkey are diverse, catering to the wide array of species found in its waters. Fly fishing enthusiasts will find the crystal-clear streams and rivers of the Anatolian plateau perfect for trout, where traditional techniques and local knowledge enrich the fishing experience. Trolling and jigging in the deep sea target the larger pelagic species, while popping and spinning are effective for inshore trips. Turkey also offers a unique cultural fishing experience with traditional methods still in practice, particularly in coastal and rural communities. Anglers have the chance to engage with local fishing traditions, learning age-old techniques that have been passed down through generations. Nearshore fishing charters tend to prefer simpler methods such as handlining and vertical jigging. Bottom fishing, especially at night with dead bait, is also popular. Venture to Turkey for your next fishing adventure, where the rich history, diverse ecosystems, and abundant waters promise an unforgettable angling experience. From the thrill of battling a bluefin tuna in the open sea to the tranquility of fly fishing in a mountain stream, Turkey beckons with open arms to anglers of all tastes and experiences.