DUTCH RIVER DELTA AND BIESBOSCH
Welcome to the jungle - where the monsters rule
In the South-West of the Netherlands lays one of the most interesting fishing destinations you can think of: the Dutch Delta and National park Biesbosch. This is where the rivers Maas and Waal confluent on their way to the North Sea, creating a superb fishing destination. These tidal waters are ruled by predatory fish that feast on large shoals of baitfish. Pike, zander, and perch are the main target species. But also asp and catfish can be caught here.
Fishing in the Biesbosch and river delta
The Biesbosch is a National Park with beavers, highland cattle, and an immense array of water birds that thrive in this dynamic and brackish ecosystem. You will be fishing in an amazing water jungle, created by the elements. Seeing the countless river inlets, islands, peninsula's, lakes and creeks is an experience in itself. The shallows form a nursery for all kinds of fish, attracting the predators that feed on the young. And on their parents…
The Biesbosch is surrounded by great fishing grounds. South lays the Amer, basically the extension of the river Maas, with countless superb fishing spots. Our guides also love to fish on the Nieuwe Merwede, which is the extension of the river Waal, North of the National Park. West of the Biesbosch you enter the Hollands Diep: a truly intimidating body of water. The Hollands Diep is, even more than the waters mentioned above, famous for large predatory fish: pike, zander, perch, asp, and wells catfish.
‘Overwhelming’ is probably the right word to describe this fishing destination. It's easy to get lost, let alone knowing where and how to fish if you're not familiar with this area. Luckily, our fishing guides know how the fish migrate and what baits they are responding to at any given moment.
Effective fishing methods
When targeting Northern pike, most of the time we stick to the motto 'go big or go home'. With specimens over 120 cm, it's nearly impossible to use bait that is too big. After finding the baitfish your guide will look for big pike swarming around with his Livescope fish finder. And then it’s time for action. Both casting and trolling are great ways to catch these trophy fish.
If you want to catch zander, you can choose both vertical jigging, drop shot fishing, and casting soft baits. These techniques generally result in interesting numbers, and there is always a chance of catching a true 'castle': a zander over 80 or even 90 cm.
For perch, growing well over 50 cm, there are lots of methods to choose from: jigging, casting hard and soft baits, trolling, and a range of finesse techniques. Just say what you prefer, and we will get you started right away.
In case we spot hunting asp, it's a matter of seconds before you are handed over a rod with a twitch bait or lipless crankbait. You will never forget the first time you get an aggressive strike from this toothless predator!
Although we don't offer specialized catfish trips just now, we land 'cats' more and more often while fishing for pike and zander. So far, the UFX-guides have caught species up to 180 cm, and we expect this record to be broken soon. The reason: the fast-growing population of wels catfish in our waters. Don't be surprised to hook a catfish over 2 meters in The Biesbosch and surrounding waterways.
The rivers of the Netherlands
Home of the most powerful predatory fish
In the East and South of The Netherlands, close to the German and Belgium border, you will find a network of rivers, each with its own character. However, there is one thing that all these border rivers have in common: they are home to the most powerful freshwater predators. River fish owe their strength to the (fast) flowing water they swim against day in and day out. Of course, you will find typical river fish like zander and asp. But also, pike, perch, and catfish are permanent and abundant residents here. And our UFX-fishing guides know where to find them.
Fishing the river Maas
The majestic river Maas (also known as the Meuse) is the only true rain river in The Netherlands. Most of the time the current is slow or moderate, making it a friendly and easy river to fish. In case the water levels rise, and the currents are too strong to fish the river (mostly during the winter), there are lots of adjacent gravel pits, harbors, and canals that form a haven for both fish and fisherman. All predatory fish are well represented on the river Maas and connected waters.
Fishing the river IJssel
The IJssel is less wide than the Maas, but she's no less impressive. Characteristic for this river are the many groynes that guide the current. These rocky dams form interesting fishing spots. Not in the least because of the current seams downstream of the tip of each groyne. This is where zander lurks on the bottom. Perch, pike, and catfish hunt in the middle water layer and asp rule the surface. Along the river IJssel, there are lots of interesting gravel pits and other excellent fishing waters
Fishing the river Waal
And now the biggest and baddest river of all: The Waal. Everything about this river is supersized, not to say intimidating. The gigantic water discharge is beyond imagination. But be assured that our fishing guides know to find 'the sweet spots'. The areas between the groynes, for example, are fantastic to fish comfortably. Also, the current seam downstream of each groyne is a hotspot that produces lots of fish. This is where large zander hunt for baitfish on the bottom. Asp hunt on the surface and all other predators can be expected anywhere. Just like the Rhine and IJssel, this river is fed by both rain and meltwater.
Our guides also love to visit the man-made canals that connect various rivers: Maas-Waal Canal and the Pannerdens Canal. This seems to be a hard place to fish due to their straightforwardness, but we know where the hotspots are.
Fishing the Lek and Nederrijn
The Lek and Nederrijn basically are the same river, flowing from East to West. They are easy to fish and stocked with lots of well-sized zanders and (big!) perch.
Fishing the Dordtse Kil
Last but not least is the Dordtse Kil. This is a small, but super challenging river due to the fast current and heavy shipping traffic. A superb destination for large zander, but not for rookies and the faint-hearted!
Effective fishing methods
If there is one type of bait that is designed to catch zander and perch in strong currents, it's the soft bait on a jig head. By choosing the right weight jig-head and the perfect size soft bait, you are sure to fish the best way possible. Both vertical jigging and casting are super effective – if done the right way. We are glad to show you how to get the best out of these techniques, because 'the devil is in the detail'. Small adjustments will increase your results dramatically!
Casting small hard baits is another super cool method to target both big perch, zander, and asp. Depending on the situation we will suggest using crankbaits, twitch baits, and various lipless crankbaits. Also trolling is an effective and fun way to catch these species.
When it comes to pike fishing on the rivers, there is a wide range of baits that can be used. Casting is a fun and effective technique. Trolling XXL hard baits, swim baits and soft baits can be very rewarding too, especially if you got your mind set on a trophy pike. What to choose, ultimately depends on the location, the current, and your personal preference.
Catch pike, zander and perch - the easy way
In the North of the Netherlands lays the province of Friesland, often referred to as 'the Pike Province'. But zander is more and more claiming the lead role. Fishing here is quite different from the other destinations offered by UFX because of the modest depth of this maze of waterways. Fishing for zander and perch with soft baits is just so much easier when the water is only 2 meters deep, instead of 4 to as much as 8 meters.
Fishing in Friesland (Fryslan)
With over 38.000 acres of water, it's impossible to even cover a fraction of this immense area in one day. Friesland is one gigantic network of lakes, canals, and other waterways that seem to be designed for sportfishing. Almost all these waters are connected, and we are proud to say that our local UFX-guide knows his way in this fascinating maze like the best.
Thanks to the wide variety of water types, there is always a suitable place to fish. The large lakes like the Sneekermeer and Tjeukemeer, both around 1,5 to 2 meters deep, are all-time classic hits for both zander and pike. On hard sand plates and mussel beds, you will find shoals of perch. No 50 cm+ monsters like you can expect on the rivers, but the numbers make up for that for sure.
Adjacent canals, such as the Prinses Margriet Kanaal, are up to 6 meters deep and offer good options for zander. And, to be honest, it's safe to say that you can catch each of the three predatory fish at any given location. Frisian pike, perch, and zander like to mingle.
Cities and villages set the stage for great fishing adventures too. Waterways filled with predatory fish run through countless wonderful places, from Lemmer till Leeuwarden. Fishing here is both an adventure as well as a wonderful touristic attraction at the same time.
In Friesland, not only the numbers of pike, zander, and perch are interesting, but also the size is worth mentioning. Pikes over a meter are quite common and there is always a good chance of catching a zander over 70 and even 80 cm. Especially for those who are new to predatory fishing and yet want to catch a big fish, Friesland is the perfect place to start. At the same time the province is visited by pro-anglers every day for a good reason. Fishing here is just top of the bill.
Effective fishing methods
Thanks to the shallow water depth, casting with both hard and soft baits is a great technique for both pike, zander, and perch. Your guide will put you right on the best spots and show you where and how to cast. No better way to get your bait right in front of the fish.
Trolling with large but slim hard baits is an effective way to fish for large zander, and while doing so there's a good chance of hooking a serious pike. Bigger and more bulky baits select pike specifically.
Our guides are there for you if you want to get acquainted with finesse techniques such as the Carolina rig. During the closed season, between April 1st and the last weekend of May, this works well with big live worms too!
Another remarkable technique is vertical jigging and fishing the drop shot in less than two meters of water. The sensation of getting a hard bite of big zander so close to the boat is just amazing – like getting struck by lightning.
Last but not least we love to fish with a dead bait on the fireball jig: a super effective technique when targeting pike and large zander.
The official 'Zander Capital of the world
Amsterdam is often referred to as ‘Zander Capital of the World’, as well as ‘Zanderdam’ due to the amazing stocks of zander. Rightly so. But there is more, much more. Both the historical inner city and the surrounding waters are home to a healthy and challenging stock of predatory fish. As the water is getting cleaner, pike and perch flourish as never before. Also, if you're lucky enough, asp and flounder (and even an occasional catfish) can be caught.
Fishing in Amsterdam
The sky is the limit when it comes to the question of where and how you want to fish. One of the most amazing things to do is fishing the waters of the famous canal belt: a UNESCO world heritage. You will be surprised by the size of the zander, perch, and pike that rule the canals and the Amstel River. The special thing about the inner city of our capital is that you can fish here even with the windiest conditions because the buildings offer great protection.
At the back of Central Station lays the IJ-river. This is a large, deep, and mystic body of water with one of the best zander stocks in the world. The many differences in depth make the IJ a very versatile water that offers great angling all year round. Our fishing guides know this water like no-one else. Therefore you are sure not to waste any time searching, and start fishing on the best spots right away.
When it comes to Northern pike, Amsterdam may be the best-kept secret in The Netherlands. Both on the IJ-river and connected water bodies are home to a healthy stock of pike, often over a meter in length. And we know where to find these leviathans.
The North Sea Channel, 25 km long and superb for zander fishing, runs from the IJ-river to the sea lock of IJmuiden. West of the IJ many other interesting water bodies wait to be fished by avid anglers like yourself.
Most zander are between 45 and 65 cm, but specimens over 70 and even 80 cm are caught quite frequently. A typical perch measures anything from 25 to 40 cm and catching a Perchzilla of 50 cm+ is always possible. Pike are less abundant than perch and zander of course, but their size makes up for that. On average Amsterdam pike measures around 70 cm, and it's striking how many do grow over a meter. Every year pike over 120 cm are caught here.
All the waters in and around Amsterdam are connected and hold an impressive number of fish that can be targeted all year round. We know where to go and how to fish at any given moment, ensuring the best fishing experience possible.
Effective fishing techniques
When targeting zander, casting soft baits rigged on light jig heads is one of the most effective methods. Our guides are specialized in this game and they love to share their knowledge, turning you into a pro in just a few hours.
When the time is right, especially the bigger zander respond extremely well to hard baits. Casting a lipless crankbait with an aggressive rattle on a hot spot often triggers the weary and cautious big mamas to strike. This is also the way to go if you see hunting asp on the surface.
Vertical jigging is and stays a very effective and fun way to catch zander and perch. Nothing beats a sudden strike on a super-fast short jigging rod. Do you prefer fiddling with your bait, then the drop-shot technique may be just your cup of tea. This way you can present your soft bait in the most passive, annoying, and seductive way to both zander, perch, and flounder.
When fishing for pike, we are huge fans of large soft baits and swimbaits. Thanks to our heavy-duty rods you are assured to cast even the biggest soft baits with the greatest of ease. Also trolling with (supersized) soft baits and swim baits is another option to hunt for the biggest pike around.
Trolling smaller crankbaits can be very effective to target both zander and perch, especially during the spring, summer, and autumn.