As fish take a rest during winter time, now it is a perfect moment for us fishermen to fill up our fly boxes and learn something new to tame down our fishing minds until the beginning of April. For that reason, we have prepared for you a series of short articles on history of fishing in the valley of Idrijca.
Records of fishing in the Idrijca valley dates to the time of middle ages. During the 14th century the valley of river Idrijca belonged under the jurisdiction of Tolmin Lordship and supreme authority of Aquileian Patriarchate. Among the rights of the patriarchate also fishing was one of the privileges of the holy and ecclesiastical feudal lords. The Patriarchate had his own fishermen, employed and located along all the rivers under his jurisdiction, including Idrijca and tributaries. Although employees of the Patriarchate, these fishermen were taken care off by local farmers who had to provide them with food and even bed sometimes.
Later in time this natural “tax” morphed into monetary tax obligation, which farmers had to pay once a year and was also recorded in the Registrar of Properties (database of land properties, which included also the income and rights of specific property), along other taxes the farmer had to pay or give in nature. The 14th century records mention this tax as “money for the fishermen’s bread”.
As an example, already in year 1300 the Registrar Keeper of the Longo Family, a noble family from Cividale del Fruili, assigned the mandatory tax of “one unit of money for fishermen’s bread” to a farmers Martin from Cerkno and Dominik from Police. In 1377 one Registrar Keeper assigned this cash tax to 18 farms from the area of Cerkno whose lands touched the areas of the fishing districts. One farm had to pay 1 unit of money for this fishermen’s tax and the annual budget of all taxes the farm had to give was 53, 5 units of money.