River Nera, one of the best rivers for the fly angling addict

River Nera
River Nera

River Nera is one of the best (if not “THE” best) rivers in Central Italy. It crosses three different regions (Marche, Umbria, Latium). It enters  the Tiber not far from Orte, one of the many small villages scattered all around Tuscia, where nature and history are mixed to offer tourism the peak of pleasure during your holidays.

Fly anglers have learnt to appreciate river Nera since many years, thanks to its unique environment which goes from the small river appearance to the lower and quieter wider spaces.


River Nera is not any easy river. There are some sections where high level casting skill is a must. This because of the vegetation, almost reaching the water surface. Also in open space, proper casting might be very difficult: flats, eddies, very vast currents, rocks and boulders…

Lucky enough, however, this is not a fully hard river. Some spots are quiet and fish can be approached easily enough for a perfect cast. Appropriate approach is another problem: fish are very scary and – contrary to what most anglers do – entering the water should be avoided as much as possible.


Having more than one rod (one for each typical situation) would be the best choice but only insane anglers would appreciate this suggestion. Walking along the banks, often crossing intrigued paths or fallen trees or dark bushes is a hard affair and the least tackle we have, the better.

River Nera asks for from 6″ to 8″ #2-5 line. DT or WF is a personal choice. Consider that in most cases long or very long casts are of little or no use. Curve, serpentine, reach casts are what a skilled angler should choose.


The choice of the fly can be very easy or very hard. It depends mostly on the period of the year and the day.

As a rule, if flies are not on the wings, the best solution is a fat, bulk terrestrial (Sedges, Wasps, Caterpillars, Grasshoppers…). Traditional patterns range from Royal Wulff to Humpy, from Bivisible to Elk Caddy and many more.

Streamers and sinking lines are not allowed in the nokill stretches (be careful: regulations are very strict). Results can be obtained also with wet flies. Aside from any personal taste, dry fly fishing is the top of the top.

River Nera ‘s fish can be very selective or – sometimes – reactive to many patters.  You may face simple hatches, masked hatches or multiple hatches. Flies range from the big Mayfly (Ephemera danica) and Sedge to the tiniest midges, depending on the season.


Most anglers are proud when catching a big fish (and there are many in river Nera!) on the thinnest leader. This is a big mistake.

The strong current and the size of the animal make leader breaking very very easy. My suggestion is to use the thickest possible tippet for a given fly. In any case, nothing under 0,14mm (0,0055 inch). Using a strong tippet avoids breaking and less sufferance for the fish which can be netted quicker.

Landing Net

Landing net is compulsory. Choose one with a rubber net and which can be hung on your back (this helps when walking through the vegetation).


I warmly recommend to avoid entering the water. Less bottom and fish disturbance. Notwithstanding, even if in some spots hip boots might be sufficient, chest or waist waders are very useful in most cases because fishing from the banks is often impossible and you are obliged to enter the water (which can be deep near the bank).

Wading Staff

Many anglers seldom consider this ancillary item as of little or no use. Not when fishing river Nera. The strength of the water is very powerful. Last but not least, the bottom may be covered with water weeds hiding deep pools.


River Nera has only trout. Most are browns but  can be accidentally caught due to the presence of some fish farms scattered along the river. There are no cyprinids except in Terni and the lowest part of the river, before it enters the Tiber. Trout size goes from small to very big, with some 60-70cm specimen.


Staying in Tuscia for a fishing/tourism holiday is a good choice. River Nera in not far from Viterbo (approx 1hr’s drive) for an out-of-the-province trip. On the way to the fishing spots, there is the wonderful and world famous Cascata delle Marmore (Marmore Waterfall) near Terni. Here, river Velino enters the Nera creating a beautiful view. The waterfall can be visited climbing a path from bottom to top or driving directly to the upper station.

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