Fisherman Franz Blum is the son of fisherman Franz Blum and he in turn is the son of Franz Blum, who was also a fisherman. The third generation of Lake Constance fishermen is known as “‘s Fränzle” by everyone here.
Here is in Fußach in Vorarlberg, where Franz Blum starts the outboard motor of his boat at 04.30 in the morning in a small bay at the pumping station in the middle of the reedbeds of the Rohrspitz. This is part of the Rhine Delta nature reserve – the largest wetland area on Lake Constance with special flora and fauna.
It is pitch black and often cool when he accelerates and roars out onto the lake. There he throws out a net and distributes the 200 metres in an experienced manner. He already laid three more in other locations the evening before.
The procedure is always the same and Franz Blum does it almost every day, no matter if it is summer or winter. The only time where there is not much going on is in November when he mends the nets and takes care of anything neglected over the past year.
Franz Blum doesn’t complain about the working hours nor about the less-than-rosy situation of the few professional fishermen like himself.
The catches have been declining for years because Lake Constance is cleaner today than ever before. Its water has fewer nutrients and that is exactly what causes the fishermen problems.
When things work out, Franz Blum can still pick enough fish from the meshes of his nets on the lake, throw them into one of the orange plastic boxes and take them home with him.
In the well-equipped workroom the fish are filleted and then taken to “Fränzle’s”, Blums’ second mainstay. Visitors can buy fresh whitefish, kretzer (perch), zander, char and other species of fish in the shop.
Prepared as a delicious menu, they are brought to the tables in the associated bistro with its beautiful lakeside terrace. A speciality of the house is “an gröchta” from Franz – whitefish and eels from his own smokehouse.
More information: www.fraenzles.at