When I received Steve’s email informing he was going to spend his holidays in Italy, I was a little “worried”: rivers were not in the proper conditions since it had been raining for weeks and levels were extremely high, with dark brown water overflooding anywhere. My (and his) hope was that he was here after some rainless days.

A week or so before his arrival I scouted the area in search of a river in a satisfactory status… what sad and busy days!!! I had lost all my hopes but it was his first approach to Italy.  River Nera, one of the best in central Italy, was still high and colored but fishable. We had no other chances and we decided to run the risk.

There was another surprise: he wasn’t alone since his wife (a lady, wow!!!) wanted to try in spite of his “status”. Their family was expected to increase before the end of the year and I was a little worried because fishing the Nera is not so easy due to the strong current. Steve’s wife, however, has a lot of courage and a wonderful mood: she would have not skipped this fishing session for any reason, even if a baby was to arrive before long. This made me choose a stretch of river where stepping into the water is neither difficult nor dangerous: the lower no-kill stretch has such a spot and decided for it.

Upon meeting, I proposed them to pay a visit to the near Marmore Falls, only few minutes away: combining fishing with some tourism is the best option for those who come to this area for the first time and they gladly accepted.


  We did not finish the whole visit to the Falls: the river’s call was too strong and they wanted to go… to go… fishing!!!

As said above, the water wasn’t perfect: too high, too strong, white due to snow melting… and mayflies were completely absent. No hatches, to rises. I was desperate. I did not want to disappoint them and started praying the river’s Gods for help.

While Steve went on casting and casting, the lady preferred to stop soon. Her conditions were not the best for such a session and she decided to give space to the tireless husband.

The strong current obliged them both to make very long casts to avoid dragging the fly well beyond normal casting distance and the effort was too much for the pregnant lady. We walked up and down the river in search of any sign of fish’ activity… in vain.

“Let’s try the lower pool” was my proposal. And there the lady decided to take the last break.

Steve is a real “casting machine”: he didn’t give up nor stopped for a while. He missed three or four nice fish putting the fly to the right spot, a good score under these bad circumstances…

The pool was created by a strong current which slowed down after 20 meters against a row of bushes bordering the river bank. There, we saw the first rise. Steve was some 15 meters above the rise, with trees on his back. Casting was not very easy: his several attempts went lost and he was rather nervous.

You should try a roller cast, followed by a serpentine… try to cast 20 meters of line in a 15 meters space, was my suggestion.

Steve is a good caster and got the idea in seconds. His roller was perfect, landing the big attractor at the proper distance. The fly went underwater, pulled by the current and the take was almost immediate. It was not a huge trout (there are 60cm specimen living in that pool…) but the satisfaction of catching one under such hard conditions was well rewarding.



It was the only fish for that day. The river’s Gods had accepted my prayers. I was very happy for such a result given the situation. No doubt, they’ll tell this history to their baby as soon as he or she will be able to handle a fishing rod.

Post Author: Osvaldo Velo

One Reply to “Holidays with bad water, bad weather… bad hopes?”

  1. Osvaldo is a dedicated guide and always stays positive, even with the challenging river conditions my wife and I had the day we fished with him. After missing 3 fish, he was determined to have us get one to the net. We truly enjoyed our day on the water with Osvaldo.

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