In Bosnia, everyone has war stories. The Flyfish Journal’s Jason L. Rolfe toured through Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia as a fisherman—not a war correspondent. Yet people he met and the tales he heard—all intertwined in a war that ended almost a decade ago—made the trip an unforgettable journey with filled with small moments of brilliant peace and humanity—many found on the banks of the region’s rivers.

Words: Jason L. Rolfe

In Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina, everyone has a war story.
Outside of Knin, a dusty country town in central Croatia near the border with Bosnia-Herzegovina—both countries directly across the Adriatic Sea from Italy’s east coast—I met a river keeper who had stories of his own. He was in his 50s and had a rustic vibe, complete with a Sam Elliott moustache and dusty brown, slightly graying hair. He called to me from the banks of the Krka River, which flows from the base of Dinara Mountain near the border of Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina, just east of the Adriatic, as I was drifting nymphs through a turquoise run below one of the many waterfalls the river is famous for. I’d been told to expect him; though I had no idea how official his role actually was, if at all. He wore camo pants, a black T-shirt and aviator glasses, the kind of outfit worn by men in semi-official roles in Ukraine, where I’d spent the previous 10 months teaching English; they usually weren’t the types of authority figures that inspired confidence.

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