“I look into … my fly box, and think about all the elements I should consider in choosing the perfect fly: water temperature, what stage of development the bugs are in, what the fish are eating right now. Then I remember what a guide told me: ‘Ninety percent of what a trout eats is brown and fuzzy and about five-eighths of an inch long.” – Allison Moir, “Love the Man, Love the Fly Rod”, in A Different Angle: Fly Fishing Stories by Women
On this tour you will get the chance to discover the picturesque scenery of southwestern Transylvania and to experience exciting fly fishing moments on the upper course of the 221 km long river, Tarnava Mare .
The trip from our meeting point to our fly fishing location leads through some of the most beautiful surroundings of Transylvania. Until we reach our target, which is located in the heart of Harghita County, we’re driving through an area rich in history, where the Romanian cultural landscape has been enriched by the Saxon and the Székelys (Hungarian minority) one. The scenery in this part of Transylvania has something special: on one hand there’re the typical Transylvanian hills and then there’s the special cultural lanscape: villages with fortified churches, medieval architecture all over, for which Sighisoara, which we’re going to visit, is very well known for. We are actually following the valley of the River Tarnava Mare almost until it flows out of the artificial Lake Zetea.
The river Tarnava Mare has its springs high up in Gurghiu Mountains, at 1455 meters asl. As already said, it has very long course, until it reaches the River Tarnava Mica, with which it forms the main tributary of the longest river in Romania, the river Mures. The artificial lake Zetea was built in the early `90s with, having the main function of controlling the river’s outflow. Exiting the lake, the river carries the sediments from the bottom of the lake, turning its waters into a special light brown, sometimes muddy colour.
Here lies the secret: because of the water colour, the trout finds easily hiding places everywhere. This is the river with the highest density of trout in Romania, and also the river with the biggest trout, trophy river trout of over 3,5 kg being a regular sight. Try thinking: fast, dark water, big volcanic boulders, overhanging trees, fast runs, deep pools, barbless hooks and catch and release only and you have a gem of a river.
Wading is tricky, and you need to be strong on your feet. A wading staff is from our point of view very helpful. It is the nymphing that this river is most popular for, here you can refine your skills to perfection. With the right skills you can explore the turns and runs. The main goal when fishing this river is to try to get used to reading the water and finding where exceptionally big trout lies. It’s a whole philosophy behind fly fishing for trophy trout which you can easily apply on this river.
In the evening comes that magical moment when the air swarms with caddis, tricho and mayflies. This is when the trout goes mad and there’re splashes everywhere. In such a moment we caught on a small 18 “Missing link” dry fly the biggest trout on the river, a beautiful brownie of over 2,5 kg.
Underhand cast, shepherd’s crook, single-handed Spey and all the tricky casts that you have in your repertoire will come at use in these waters. If you decide to go for the big ones, the deep pools, intermediate lines and the stripping streamers will require single handed Spey casts and aerial mends of all sorts, making it perfect for you to master your skills. We will be there to help you step by step.
One of our half-day trips will take you to the medieval city of Sighisoara.
Sighisoara is the place where, according to the local legends, the “Children of Hamelin” appear one day on this lands, rising the citadel on the hill. Leaving legends aside, Sighisoara is known for its historic center, which was listed in 1999 as UNESCO heritage site, being one of the best preserved medieval fortified cities in the world. And, of course, as you’ll learn along the trip, it is supposed to be the birth place of Prince Vlad Tepes, no other than Dracula. In the centre of the citadel, right next to Vlad Dracul’s house stands the present German-Romanian Cultural Centre, the so called “Casa cu Cerb”. It is the starting point of the first Romanian that entered the New World, crossing the ocean to reach Pennsylvania in 1700. His name was Kelp, born here in Sighisoara.
A great time to visit Sighisoara is also when the medieval festival takes place, normally the last weekend of July. You can surely plan your fishing trip at this time as well, so that you can taste the colorful and joyful celebration of the city, when every small, medieval street vibrates to the sound of medieval music and theater, and when they host knights in armour and princesses, kings, queens and minstrels. Not to mention the food and the local wines, amongst the best in the country.
The other half-day trip takes you into the heart of the traditional Transylvanian craftsmanship, the village of Corund. Here we’ll meet local potters, considered unique for their ceramic and painting style and you’ll get the chance to try out yourselves some pottery techniques.
Our guests will also get the chance to see another highlight of the trip to Corund: the handicraft with another natural material… with amadou! Yes, correct: Amadou. The few left craftsman who work with amadou live here and learned how to use the remarkable biodiversity of the Romanian woods, by creating some of the most interesting handcrafted bags, tablecloths and hats out of amadou – which is actually a part of a mushroom called Tinder fungus (Fomes fomentarius) that grows on trees. For a good, big amadou piece, the tree on which this fungus grows on has to be a centenarian beech. The local tradition says that the harvested mushrooms must first be kept in water for a few days, and then the long and delicate processing can begin. You will get to see it with your own eyes, in order to understand the complexity of that small patch of Amadou so good for our dry flies, especially CDC ones.
We also plan to go with you fly fishing on Lake Zetea. It is the only artificial Lake on the river, with a length of 2,5 km, with a width of up to 600 m and depths mainly around 6-10 m. Closer to the dam and on the left shore the depth reaches 22 m. The clear cold waters makes it a good home for big trout, pike, chub and perch.
The beautiful surroundings and the fact that the lake hosts pike up to 15 kg or trout up to 10-12 kg, makes this an unforgettable experience. Sinking lines and big flies are a must in order to have a chance to the drill of your lifetime.
Reading the lake’s water is as you already know also crucial. Fishing the banks will get you into chub territory, and searching the depths and the steep hillsides will put you in contact with the submerged structures below, where trout and pike fight for their territory.
Through the efforts of the local fishing club, this area has become one of the top spots for fly fishing in Romania. We are proud to be able to take you in the heart of Transylvania, where past and future mix together in an unforgettable flavour.