River Fishing Spots

Around Fethiye

Local people can be a good guide to where the fish, but some of the advice can be a little vague and optimistic to say the least. We have taken the tall stories, myths and legends to bring you our guide to the places to fish. Read on for more……..

A lot of rıvers and streams are not marked on the local maps and those that are do not always have names shown. We have named them if we can but otherwise give the local villages as reference points.

Kızıl Rıver

North of Fethiye on the road to Dalaman is the Kızıl Rıver. It rises in the Çal Mountains to the east. On the map two tributaries join south of Arpacık and Nif villages at 1,129 metres. One branch starts in Arpacık  and the other in the mountains to the north, south of Çöğmen. On the strength of local advice we took a trip to Arpacık and Nif to test the water. The scenery is stunning, but no fishing here. We were told that the fishing is best on the other branch of the river below the fish farm.

We were also told of fishing higher in the mountain, so we took the road towards Kirazıyayla ın the pusuıt of elusıve trout. Nothing materialised but, hot and weary, we stopped at the Kirkpınar Tandır Evi for refreshment. Although not yet open at this point in early May, the preparation for the tourist season is underway. They were happy to give us drinks and tell us about their speciality lamb dish, which for us could only be a temptation to return in the season.

Sitting here looking out towards the impressive peaks of the Çal at 2,185 metres we sipped drinks and talked of fishing. The owner told of better fishing “further on” over the mountain to the north. The trout in his restaurant pool seemed uninterested in the discussion.

Unable to cover the other branch of the river on this trip,we went with our guide Mustafa Kocaçay, to cover the more accessible stretch of the river to those looking for a day fishing from Fethiye.

At the village of Yanıklar, on the main road to Dalaman, we turn off the main road at the bridge and go upstream on a rough track that follows the river. There are plenty of access points, picnic areas and parking spots along the way and at this point in early May the river is low. There was not much evidence of trout here but many smaller fish were seen. We went on to the point three kilometres off the main road where a stream feeds the river and an irrigation canal takes water away to the farms in the valley. This is a fishing hot spot with believable stories of large catches in this area.

The main river has fast flowing sections with pools under overhanging trees all of which looks promising. The stream joining the river seemed better fishing. We then went back downstream and crossed the main road and headed towards the sea and the hotel area. Here the river is broader and we saw local children with very respectable trout caught on a line with baited hook

So the Kızıl, from top to bottom has promise and we will take a look at the other branch to the north another day.


Eşen Çayı

South east of Fethiye is the Eşen Çayı (River). This has all the hallmarks of a great fishing river from top to bottom. Locals tell of floods some years ago which inundated the trout farms at the top of the river and washed away huge stocks of trout which now swim freely. Large parts of the river are flat and wide but starting the exploration in the mountains above Ören the river cuts through mountain gorges over huge boulders with fast flowing currents and deep pools. This is the area of trout farms, which stretch for miles on the banks of the river. This is not the start of the river but is probably the most accessible from Fethiye.

The river is accessible from this point down, although some sections through deep ravines and valleys would require climbing skills to reach.

The scenery here is stunning and even if fishing is not of interest to you the views and atmosphere of this beautiful countryside is worth the trip.

With our guide Mustafa Kocaçay, we followed the river down to Kemer and then on towards Alaçat and Eşen Here we branched off towards Saklıkent and the Akdağ Mountaın. At Alaçat we branched off the main road towards the mountains, which rise like a wall in front of us. At the river bridge there was evidence of trout and the river at this point of mid-May is forming into pools and wide shallow runs. The water is full of limestone washed down from the mountains – perfect for trout but difficult to see into the cloudy depths. Easy parking here and good river access.

On again we went into Saklıkent, passing through the tourist hotspot with restaurants and souvenire stalls onto the road beyond. The river is a tributary of the Eşen Çayı and rises high above the Saklıkent gorge in the Akdağ Mountaın (3024 metres), flowing through the gorge and joining the main river east of  the town of  Eşen before it flow on to the sea at Pattara.

A few kilometres on from the tourist spot the river is wide and breaks up into many channels. River access is easy and parking almost anywhere for long stretches is no problem. Good signs of trout in the deeper, slower pools which are clouded by the limestone picked up by the river in the mountain which towers above us.

This river, from top to bottom, shows huge promise as a fishing hot spot and all that remains now is to get the gear out.


Fethiye Canal

Sometimes exploration leads to dissapointment – sometimes it’s better not to know!

We were curious about the canal flowing through the market place in Fethiye. Some evidence of fish and rumour, spurred us on to follow it to its source in pursuit of good fishing.

With our guide, Mustafa Kocaçay we set off towards the hills behind Fethiye towards the area near Hındırlık. Followıng the track alongsıde the water course the water looked less and less inviting, fıshıng less-and-less lıkely. Deep concrete channels and culverts contained the flow as far as we could see ınto the dıstance. As the hills loomed in front of us we could see a huge water pipe coming down the side of the hıll and moments later our suspicions were confirmed.

We sat in the driveway of the Fethiye power station reading the notice board which explained the generating capacity and other interesting facts about this plant. This seems to be it, and unless any reader tells another story, this is the end of this hunt for the source of the Fethiye canal.

So, reader, if you are looking for fishing, don’t come this way.