The Huchen or “hucho”, is undoubtedly Slovenia’s top predator species. A “fish of a thousand casts” is the biggest fish from the trout family. Because of it’s small natural habitat it can only be found and caught in the rivers of the Danube basin, and some of those rivers are located in Slovenia.
Season: October 1st – February 15th
Slovenian record: 135cm, 26.5 kg (58 lbs)
Huchen or the “Danube salmon” originates from the river Danube and the rivers of the Danube basin. It is a part of the trout family that also inhabits these rivers. In the past, the population of huchens used to be big, but nowadays the conditions have changed.
By destroying the environment, building dams on the rivers and excessive fishing the population has become endangered.
Fishing clubs and societies are trying their best to preserve this magnificent predator and with the help of stocking the fish and many strict regulations, the future of huchens is in good hands.
Body shape and color
Huchen has a typical slender-shaped body typical for river predators. It has some common characteristics with Marble trout, for example big head, which represents almost ¼ of it’s body. It has very sharp teeth and strong mouth.
Huchen can reach 1.5m and weighs up to 50kg; however stories from almost a hundred years ago report about the captures of huchens in excess of 50kg.
Colours on the Huchen go from black to almost white. Starting on the back, it’s a mixture of grey, brown and green colour, depending also on the environment where Huchens live. The sides are much brighter, light grey colour and very shiny- they tend to become even more so with age or during spawning. Belly is white to very light-grey colour. Fins also have some greyish colour on them. the whole body has many unevenly shaped black spots.
Adult Huchens eat other fish, sometimes even other river animals and insects. Smaller fish tend to feed with small animals inhabiting river bed and with the icre of other fish.
Huchen reaches maturity in his 4th or 5th year of age at the length 65-70cm. It spawns in April, when water reaches the temperature of 5-10 degrees. Spawning is very interesting, female digs a hole into the gravel bottom of the river, and it lies the eggs inside.
Spawning usually occurs in smaller creeks, where the young huchen also tend to stay until they mature, then they migrate into the bigger rivers where their parents live.
Even the slightest disruption in the water change the course of spawning and Huchen is unable to spawn. Lately the big problems are dams and hydroelectric power plants since they cut off the Huchen from the spawning grounds.
Huchen is an endemic species who only lives in the Danube basin. It was populated into other areas but usuccessfuly. In Slovenia it can be found in Sava Bohinjka, Sava, Savinja, Ljubljanica, Krka, Drava and Kolpa.
Fishing for Huchen
In the past fishing for Huchen was reserved for the privileged. Only in the last few decades has it become the fish available for everybody to try and catch him.
As a fishing species it is very challenging to catch and that’s why it has been given a nickname the “fish of a thousand casts” .
It can be fished using spin or even fly technique, where the structure of the rivers allows it.
Some of the best spots for huchen in Slovenia are on the rivers Sava and Sava Bohinjka.
Huchen is not so common species in our waters and is endangered, that’s why there are quotas as to how many fish can be taken every year.
season for Huchen lasts from beginning of October to the middle of February.