Waldviertel dry fishing festivals

In the Waldviertel the carps are cared for, fished out and also celebrated.

In the Waldviertel ponds, the plug is pulled during dry fishing festivals and the carp are pulled onto land.

Carp splash about in over 1,000 ponds in the Waldviertel. In the clear, cold Waldviertel water  they need four years instead of the usual two to reach an edible size of 2 to 2.5 kg. But after four years, the fish have to be gotten out of the water somehow. That happens annually in the form of dry fishing on the weekend of the Austrian national holiday in late October. That means the water is drained out of the pond, which can take several weeks for large bodies of water. The process must be constantly monitored because there always has to be enough water left for the carp. They crowd together in what is known as the fish pit. Then the pond starts “boiling” as they say in local parlance. The fish are taken from the pond and sold as fish for eating or for stocking various fishing waters. Part of the fish designated for eating is kept in containers until Christmas.

Drying fishing festivals around the Austrian national holiday
In earlier times, a larger number of people were needed to form a human chain to hand the fish from pond to containers. These customary dry fishing festivals have been preserved down to the present day. The biggest one is at Bruneiteich, a pond about 4 km north of Heidenreichstein in the midst of a large forest. There you can watch the fishermen in their chest waders taking out the big seine, then pulling it back on shore and loading the fish onto trucks in vats filled with water. Advanced training is also available: Master fishermen can tutor you on all the ins and outs of angling.

Gallien is located in an idyllic little valley north of Horn. During the dry fishing festival there, the trout pond is fished out on Saturday and the carp, pike, and wels catfish pond, on Sunday. Visitors big and small are welcome to lend a hand during dry fishing. They can also look forward to smoking fish, fish dinners and roasted suckling pork. The Zieringser Teich near Franzen is on a pond hiking trail with a lookout platform and places to observe fish. For several years now, the forester’s office in Ottenstein has staged a small dry fishing festival to celebrate the fishing out of this pond. Visitors can watch fish being cleaned, i.e. scaled and fileted and help to fish them out. Fish and game are also sold there.