When one hears “Odessa”, “sea” is often the first association. For many tourists the sea means not only relaxing days at the beach, but also coastal fishing. It is also no secret that fishing near the coast of Odessa often yields great trophies. The most popular target for amateur fishermen is the common bullhead, which can be caught near virtually any Odessa pier from April through October. Boat fishing is usually more successful, since the bullheads inhabiting the deeper areas are more plentiful and substantially bigger. The best location to catch stingray, flatfish, and spiny dogfish is the estuary near the bank of the Dniester river. Another popular fish is the Black Sea garfish, which is somewhat smaller than its northern relative but nevertheless is also a fun catch. It can be caught near the coast during the late summer and early fall using live fish, pieces of fish, or the sea worm nereis as bait – however, fishermen also often use spinning lures. The late summer-early fall season is also when schools of Black Sea merlangius pass close to the Odessa coast. These small fishes are a favorite because despite their size, they take the bait almost every time.
The outskirts of Odessa are home to a large number of estuaries. The khadjibey estuary is the most popular with fishermen because of its abundance of mugil. This large and delicious fish will accept only the nereis worm as bait. Besides the mugil, the estuary is home to zander, carp, bighead carp, crucian, and perch.
Approximately 40 kilometers from Odessa is the Dniester delta – a paradise for any lover of nature but especially for those who are fond of fishing. The Dniester and its Turunchuk anabranch can be accessed from the villages of Mayaki, Belyayevka, Yaski, and Troitskoe; all of which can be reached by taking the Odessa-Izmail or Odessa-Chisinau highways. In Belyayevka and Yaski, one can rent a boat and visit the delta and the beautiful surrounding lakes, which are home to many species of rare birds. It is no surprise that this area hosts a National Nature Reserve. The Dniester itself is home to vast quantities of carp, crucian, bream, perch, pike, zander, and aspius.
Links for fishing and recreation in the Dniester delta area:
Carp Fishing in Odessa
Odessa is home to many aficionados of carp fishing. The Baraboi reservoir is one of the most popular reservoirs for competitive carp fishing to be found in all of Ukraine. The grass carp, crucian, pike, and zander can also be caught there in abundance.
Another popular local fishery is “Three Crucians”(Три Карася), where both competitive and amateur fishermen can count on a trophy-quality catch.
Fishing in Spring
March and April are the months when all of nature awakens from its winter slumber, and fish are no exception. Many fish begin preparing for the spawning season, and as a result, eat ravenously. The bullhead is an especially easy catch during these months. As for river fishing, the spring is the best time for catching roach and bream, which rush from the rivers to the estuaries to deposit their eggs. April is the optimal time for catching crucian in the local polders, which are also a great place for lovers of predatory fish such as pike and perch.
Whether they are a tourist or local, anyone who wishes to learn about the Odessa fishing world, stock up on fishing gear and bait, and catch up on the latest fishing news simply must visit the oldest specialty market in Odessa – the Starokonny open market. Thismarket lies at the heart of Old Odessa in the Moldovanaka, and specializes in the sale of live animals as well. It not only serves as a hub for the best fishing gear shops in the city, but also as a meet-up spot for its best fishermen – well, that’s how they would describe themselves!
The biggest fishing supply store in Odessa, conveniently located in the center of the city, is “Fisherman’s Paradise”(“Рыбацкий рай”) located at 89, Bolshaya Arnautskaya.
As the local fishermen say – “Neither tail nor scales!” – when wishing someone a fun and successful catch.
– News, tips, a list of fishing locations and a lot of other useful information can be found at one of Odessa’s most popular fishing forums, Odessa Fishermen’s Club (OFC):