It was the middle of August and we were very anxious to take a fly fishing trip again, this time in Bukovina. Like every year on the 15-16th of August (around the Assumption Day) takes place here the National Trout Festival, more exactly in Ciocanesti, a village very close to the Rodna Mts. National Park.
Known for the art of egg painting (there’s the National Museum of Painted Eggs), its traditionally ornamented houses, the traditional rafting made on the river Bistrita Aurie, the village has been designated 2014 as Romania’s Village of Culture. The Trout Festival is one of the events that sustain the village’s title, being also one of the Romanian national events that aim to promote local traditions and authenticity. It has been arousing the interest of many national and international tourists for the last 12 years since it’s been held, and we definitely wanted this year to also get and see it. For the last 10 years, during the festival also takes place a fly fishing competition, Bistrita Aurie being known for its salmonid population, so you can imagine how eager we were to finally be with the rods in our hands.
Having such a long road ahead of us, we managed to just shortly visit the festival during its last day of program, but were happy to spend there a few more days and explore the river that inspired generations of fishermen: Bistrita Aurie (meaning the “The Golden Bistrita”, due to its clear, rapid waters that get at sunset a strong golden colour). Once we were there, we saw an exhibition of old dowry chests and lots of stalls where craftsmen were presenting their handmade wooden or clay items, traditional costumes and decorative towels, liqueurs and berry syrups, honey and other traditional foods, among which there were of course also trout specialties.
Beautiful pictures from the last year’s event are here to see.
During our visit, clouds gathered and announced a heavy rainfall for that evening. We didn’t expect though to have bad weather all through the following week… The very first evening and the next morning Liviu could still catch some grayling, especially at nymph, but soon after the river turned into a high, whirling and muddy water flow.
As fishing was out of the question, plan B was to visit our friends Marcel and Ionela, who bought an old house in a mountain hamlet (dispersed mountain settlement) and want to rehabilitate it as a guesthouse. I thought I knew from the geography lessons how a mountain hamlet should look like in this part of Romania, but I was completely surprised of the wilderness that still reigns around here and the peoples’ unique way of delimiting their lands with wooden fences. It must surely be hard to live in such a place, but also very nice and healthy, being a must to be one with nature.
The next day, the autumn rainfall that started and a serious temperature drop kept me away from the water and made me drive up to the best dairy farm in the region, up in Suhard Mt. (1931 m on Omu Peak). During the Austrian-Hungarian Empire the farm was known for the production of Schweizer Cheese, a history kept in its name, as “Șfețărie”. Nowadays, having 300 sheep and 130 cows, the farmers produce approx. 50-60 pieces a day (with 4 kg/piece) of two kinds of white cheese, known as “caș” and “urdă”.
Liviu on the other hand, hoping that the waters have cleared up a little bit, wanted to explore some more fishing sites on Bistrita Aurie and on its tributary, Tibau. He was happy to see that uphill the situation had changed during the night. But you can imagine how hard fishing had got after the former high waters and the almost sudden 11⁰C.
Already knowing the sites, we were happy to welcome the following day our friends from Germany and to give them some insights about the area in a cozy, traditional atmosphere, with goodies prepared by Ms. Nicoleta, our amazing host.
Despite the bad weather, we still had great couple of days together, either on the water – when our guest, Henrike, learned how to fly cast and her husband, Paul, almost landed a 40 cm grayling! – or in the village, visiting museums, or enjoying carriage rides.
The UNESCO painted monasteries of Bucovina were waiting for our German friends and we also had to return to a wedding in Oradea, so we were happy to have spent a pleasant, interesting week in, this time, rainy Bucovina :)