A fly fisher’s experience in one of our “hidden beauties”
Liviu: “Except for salmon fishing, fly fishing on small streams and creeks is what I really like most about this adventure. This is what you are also going to say from the shore of one of the calm, turquoise-green pool, high in the mountains of Romania, after you experience that wilderness and catch the trout of your lifetime”.
Not far from Sibiu, the former cultural capital of Europe 2007 and the “center” of the Transylvanian Saxons, you can already breath in the fresh mountain air of the Middle Carpathians. It’s a blessed place with a very rich culture and history and with a gorgeous submontaneous landscape.
Our first route takes us South-East from the city, crossing the second longest river in Romania, the river Olt. We then follow one of its tributaries upstream until we reach the former border crossing point from Transylvania (and the Austro-Hungarian Empire) to Wallachia. In this place, just at the feet of the highest mountain massif of the Transylvanian Alps, the Fagaras Mts. (2.544 m), the landscape turns wild and very green, despite August’s drought. We’re moving along a more or less typical mountain valley in the Carpathians – yet, a natural treasure, worth being protected. The valley is very well known by the ones escaping the hot summer days in Sibiu, so we enjoy arriving to the remote, former customs place, on a working day … at the end of a narrow, gravel road.
Yes, we know.. crazy and funny, right? It was indeed a pet deer :D
The chilly, refreshing air makes us want to take advantage of the long, clear day on this early autumn. So we decide to explore the river by foot and look for some nice pools we’d like to fly fish next morning. The road follows this wild mountain stream so the access to it is easy. Our eyes are delighted to see such amazing glades along its winding path: so many perfect spots to camp here! At least for those, who can deal well with the brown bears thriving here, haha! ;) So we prefer the guesthouse and let ourselves inspired by the good vibes and the beauty of it all.
No brownies are rising at this time, and the water is pretty cold, so we’re more and more curios to find out what insights Darius and Mircea from the Fly Fishing Club Sibiu have to share with us next day.
As the darkness falls, we’re already enjoying our dinner: the highlights this time were the chicken liver in tomato-wine sauce – and the typical, Romanian dessert that we’ve missed a lot, since we’ve been living abroad: the delicious and heavy cheese doughnuts (“papanasi prajiti”).
Got hungry? ;)
Hehe, now back to our fish. We both like mountain streams, even if fishing can be challenging. Here, on this river is the same! Casting can be difficult for the ones not used with this type of fishing, especially in the higher parts of the river, where the valley gets narrower and the vegetation from both shores can hinder your casting tactic. But that is what makes it so beautiful, right? :) And maybe you’ve already guessed: the river is a perfect one for using your 3wt fiberglass fly rod. It will help you cast and drift “spot on” so that the magic happens.
So the next morning, not very early, because it is pretty cold, we meet our guides and start exploring some nice spots not far from the accommodation. We’re told that 90% of the fish here are indigenous brown trout, egg-stocked from wild fish. Some of them can grow over 30-35cm and in order to catch one, we have to approach the pools carefully – the key is not to spook the fish. Also avoid false casting. These situations are Liviu’s favorite ones, since they offer you new challenges at every step. With such a positive attitude, no wonder that the first “freckled” gorgeous little ones get landed by him!
After catching more than 10 brownies during the morning we decide driving further downstream and discover there some new nice pools. The more we stay there, the more breathtaking is the valley! A typical mountain valley at first, but it got a wild paradise for us and all small streams lovers! You don`t need waders for this river, it is enough sometimes to cross the river on shallow parts. We’re fishing it almost only from the shore and can recommend a pair of neoprene socks, good boots. The river bed is developed here mainly on sedimentary rocks, and we’re amazed by the beautiful water sculped appearances on the loose, wet sandstones here. Back to the heavy reality: the gin clear water and the midday sun stay in our way to catch some brownies we observe in a “fish school”, in an at least 1,5 m deep pool. We try our dry flies, then some nymphs and then repeat and change tactics… they are suborn as hell!
So… because we only have next morning left for fly fishing, we decide not to torture ourselves anymore and meet our guys again to plan things through. Next morning we drive further to another river managed by FFC Sibiu. Once there, we experience a very different mountain river! More water volume, broader shores… The only resemblance are the shy fish! :P Dry flies don’t seem to be the highlight for the brown trout living there so we have difficulties approaching them by trying so. That’s not an issue for the “connoisseurs” fishing not far from us, so we join them and are able to share their joy and greet some beautiful, wild brownies. An excellent end of our short fly fishing experience at the feet of the Transylvanian Alps! :)
Thank you guys for your friendship and guiding and most of all, thank you for giving a good example in a responsible and sustainable river management!