The title sounds weird, gentlemen and fishing in the same sentence do not appear to make much sense. Yet it makes a lot of sense when you learn that what we are talking about is a newly-born association in Bedonia denominated ” I Cavalieri del Fiume” – the Gentlemen of the River.
The fortunate ones amongst you who have had the opportunity to visit the Taro and Ceno Valleys already know how beautiful this area is, with its mountainous landscape, and the many rivers and streams which cross it. There are also several lakes, which offer not only a lovely panorama, but also a good fishing trip – if one knows where they are! In the past, fishing was a very popular sport around here, but as years went by, it apparently became an “old fashioned” activity….substituted by more modern occupations, and the antique art of catching fish was in danger of disappearing. A group of young local men decided that this shouldn’t happen, and took it upon themselves to reinstate this art, by setting up an association based on respect for the environment. Their desire was to unite people from all over the valley in the mutual passion for fishing, and repopulate the rivers which have since become lifeless.
Since November, the Gentlemens’ fishing club has already gained 43 members from 7 different towns, and in January will become an official society, with all legal credentials in order. The fact that the members come from all over the valley is important, because unfortunately, in the past, there was a lot of friction between neighbouring towns, and sadly very little collaboration amongst fellow mountain folk. Thankfully, all this now belongs to granny’s day, and people are coming together to form alliances of all kinds.
So what do the “Cavalieri” want to obtain with this association? First of all, they want fishing to become the popular sport it once was, and to this purpose, they are hoping to have some experts instruct novices on the various techniques; fly-fishing is the most traditional method, but there are many others – all non invasive for the fish. This is, in fact, another important aspect of the methods used and the policy of the club – members must respect the regulations regarding the size of their catch. When fish are under standard size, they must necessarily be released and thrown back into the water, but the Fishing Gentlemen are encouraged always to fish for sport, and not for dinner! The baits used do not cause damage, hence the fish will swim happily away, no harm done.
Another equally important objective is that of making our territory known; there are some beautiful, hidden places which are just waiting to be discovered by appreciative nature lovers. The group founders are very familiar with their home ground, and are able to guide newcomers in their quest for breathtaking landscape and stunning panoramas. They are planning to organise guided tours, during which tourists to our valley may discover the beauty of our mountains, whilst engaging in sport. Fishing competitions are being programmed for the summer months, during which members will be able to demonstrate the skills achieved – and luckily be able to brag about them!
In past years, local rivers were replenished by throwing in small fish during the warm season, but this practice very often resulted in most of them dying. The Fishing Gentlemen are advocating replenishment in Spring, in order to allow the fish to grow and breed, restocking the waters. In the meantime, the association is already managing a lake located in Tornolo, a neighbouring town. The lake actually comprises two connected small ones, and is in fact called ” I laghetti gemelli” – the twin lakes. This is a starting point, and as the venture gains footing, the main idea is to take others in hand, creating a web of fishing activities spread across the valley.
So, to sum things up, the “Cavalieri del Fiume” are not only reinstating a healthy outdoors activity which risked being forgotten, but are planning to offer instruction on the various methods of fishing and recognition of the different species; they are also drawing attention to and making known the beauty of our valley to outsiders through guided tours; and last but not least – they wish to educate young people to respect nature through direct contact, and are bringing together people from many different towns.
And all this stems from a group of young men in their early twenties…….we think they are giving an excellent example, and all we can say is BRAVISSIMI!
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