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Mittwoch, 28. März 2018

Ohrid Lake recreational fishing attractive to tourists

Alternative tourism is becoming an increasingly important part of the global tourism market. Statistics show that people are losing interest in vacation packages, preferring to fill their holidays with various unconventional activities instead.

In keeping with worldwide trends, Ohrid, Macedonia’s most famous tourist destination, has started to offer active forms of tourism, including mountain climbing, cycling, paragliding, and scuba diving. Lately, however, recreational fishing trips have become one of Ohrid’s most popular attractions.

Ohrid native Ljupcho Stojkoski-Lepi is a passionate angler, outdoorsman, and fishing guide who has successfully introduced sport fishing as one of the alternative tourist activities the town has offered in the past three years.

Stojkoski has tried to actively incorporate his experiences from Germany and the Netherlands into his promotion of recreational fishing at Ohrid Lake. He offers tourists a unique way of enjoying the lake’s natural beauty while catching fish.

“A large number of tourists bring their fishing equipment to Ohrid,” Stojkoski says. “I organize day trips on the lake, providing experienced fishermen and amateur anglers with everything they need to catch fish – from transportation and equipment to access to the best fishing locations, whether for shore fishing or open-water fishing.”

Foreign visitors who decide to catch fish at Ohrid Lake are usually recreational fishermen and outdoor enthusiasts. Most of them release the fish they catch, but there are those who want to keep their fish. The organizer provides all of them with a fishing license that allows them to both fish and to keep some of their catch (up to 5 kg per person, or up to two fish if they happen to catch Ohrid trout).

Best of all, anglers can opt to take their catch to an interesting locale, such as a picnic area or a restaurant, where they can have the fish prepared using traditional local recipes, or in their own preferred way.

Many visitors have taken recreational fishing tours at Ohrid Lake, including tourists from the Netherlands, Germany, Poland, the Czech Republic, Norway, Hungary, Italy, neighboring Balkan countries, and even China.

“Depending on the kind of fishing they opt for, tourists can fish from fishing boats, various lakeshore locations, or local fish ponds,” Stojkoski says.

“Some of them prefer to catch the fish that will be their dinner. The positive feedback from the fishing tours confirms that recreational fishing deserves its place among the activities Ohrid offers.”

When it comes to Ohrid Lake fishing, it truly is a unique experience for tourists.

“Catching chub from a boat can rival open-sea fishing since we fish at depths of 20-30 meters. The lake’s clear water, combined with beautiful weather and picturesque surroundings, offers a truly unforgettable setting that, as many tourists have said, cannot be put into words, but can only be experienced.”

Surprisingly, however, Ohrid travel agencies have shown little interest in offering this type of recreation. Even worse, according to Stojkoski, some agencies have tried to improvise unprofessional fishing tours, which risks leaving tourists with a bad impression. Stojkovski adds that hotels along the Ohrid riviera, fortunately, take a more serious approach, recognizing the potential benefit from expanding the recreational activities they offer visitors.

Stojkovski is trying to incorporate recreational fishing into the town’s tourist offerings by suggesting it be advertised alongside the town’s attractions at tourist fairs, even if it means simply distributing brochures.

There is no doubt, however, that the best advertising is word-of-mouth. For example, positive feedback and comments from Dutch anglers resulted in Ohrid Lake’s recreational fishing being mentioned in a specialized fishing magazine in the Netherlands a few years ago. Now, a number of Dutch tourists have already booked recreational fishing tours at Ohrid Lake for their next vacation.

Aleksandar Bachikj
Translated by Magdalena Reed

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