Central Italy Experiences
CENTRAL ITALY, A PLACE TO GO BACK MORE THAN ONCE
Midden-Italië, een plek om meer dan eens terug te gaan
Fly fishing in Central Italy: after a hard summer’s work in the Netherlands and a vacation in which the house had to be painted, I longed for a week of fishing. So I e-mailed my guide and friend Osvaldo Velo and asked him if he had a week in September to go fishing with me. Fortunately he was not yet fully booked and he had time for me. I immediately booked my 3rd trip to central Italy for a week of fly fishing in a breathtaking environment.
In the weeks before the trip we discussed together which rivers and fish species we would be after. This year I chose a central point in Umbria. From this point we could visit several rivers without having to spend a long time in the car.
After a good flight and a small train trip, Osvaldo picked me up from Orte train station. As always, he had already arranged the necessary papers and we set off immediately.
He drove me to a deep and super beautiful blue river called “Santa Susanna”, somewhere in the “Latium” region. It is not an easy river: steep high banks and trout that react only when a hatch is on. Later in the day, I missed one during the hatch. Unfortunately, my line had got entangled in the reeds and I could not set the hook properly. It was a pity, but I didn’t worry: the weather and the surroundings were great.
The next day we went to the upper stretch of the “Nera”. A very beautiful lime river. Super clear water and only 40 cm deep, a water to be very careful because fish see you well before you spot them and despite Osvaldo’s hard work, we were unable to see one.After a fishless day, the next morning we went to the place where the “Nera” and the “Corno” meet. Another super beautiful site. At the place where the two rivers merge, there is a huge current and my fly fishing skills were not enough to match this kind of water. But Osvaldo took me a hundred meters upstream, in a quieter part of the “Corno”. You continue to wonder about the surroundings, just as if you were fishing somewhere in no man’s land. The river has many hot spots for trout, fast deep pools, overhanging trees and hollow banks. Small roll casts are what you need here. We spotted a beautiful brown trout which, according to Osvaldo, was a native brown trout from the Nera. If you think that you can’t find a nicer place… well, you are wrong.
After the wonderful experiences on the Corno, Osvaldo drove me to a place where you can hardly believe it really exists. An hour’s trip later, we arrived at the “Tronto” river. The morning session was not so different from what I was used to, but the fish showed not much interest in our flies. With the exception of a few very small trout, no response. Osvaldo said “Let’s move to another part of the river” and so we did. By mid-afternoon we arrived in a valley that was so beautiful that it just makes you speechless. It was as if we had ended up in an Indiana Jones scenario. Narrow deep crevasses with glass of clear water between rocks the size of a house. And there were big chubs. Not that shy fish, especially if there is not much coverage, but we caught a few. They were exciting moments. A place to never forget.
We ended the week with another day and a morning on the “Nera”. That was just before we had to go to the airport. Tough fishing due to the warm weather. There was almost no activity until nightfall. On the last morning there was a huge trout near the bank of the river, unfortunately not interested in anything. I caught my last trout 5 minutes before we had to leave. We finished the week with a day and the morning before leaving to the airport on the “Nera”. Hard fishing because of the warm weather. There was almost only activity at the evening rise. But on the last morning there was a huge trout laying near the bank of the river, unfortunately it wasn’t interested in anything. I caught my last trout of the holiday 5min before we had to stop and leave.
Why did I choose Italy again? There are several differences between the way of fishing in Holland and in Italy. Of course the difference in the species, the trout and the chub. Both difficult fish especially when you are in the clear waters of Italy. Fishing in the chalk streams means fishing in glass-clear water. If you can see the fish, they can see you also. Also the running water is something that we are not familiar with in Holland, the current can be so hard that when wading you certainly need a wading stick. There are parts of the river where the current is so strong that when you lift your feet and the water level is up to 40 cm deep, you run the risk of being washed away if you don’t have a wading stick. The rivers are not wide, a little wider than the polder-ditches. There are not many places where you need long casts. Because of the small rivers and the vegetation, a short rod with a #5 or lighter line is recommended. Roll-casts or catapult casts are mostly used.
Forget the delicate flies and small tippets during the day when no hatch is going on. Trout must be tempted with large dry flies, 25/30 mm and a tippet of at least 18/00. If no fish is visible, any place with overhanging trees, deeper pools and hollow banks can conceal fish. After 3 years, I think I am starting to read the water and know the hotspots.
Osvaldo thanks again for the beautiful trip.