A day on an Italian spring creek....

Discussion in 'Trip Reports with Pics' started by dbk, Mar 20, 2007.

  1. After almost of three month hiatus, the rivers opened again here in Italy and this past weekend I was able to get out of Rome and spend a couple days fishing the Nera, a spring creek in the Umbria region near Perugia. We have been having amazing weather this spring, and there is nothing better than fishing gin-clear water in a beautiful setting on a warm, sunny day, although the high blue skies probably did not make the fishing easier for my friend and I. Still, we managed to catch many nice browns, most of which run between 8-14 inches in this creek, although it is stocked from time to time with some big browns (4-8 lbs) from the trout farm that is located on the creek (it is in this section very "Rocky Fordish" in respect to the fishing, except much more scenic). There are not many of these big fish, but I did manage to locate a pod of them holding tight to the bottom in one heavily riffled run. Unfortunately, I could not get them to take anything I had to offer them, and it was one of those times I wished that I fished streamers (did not even have any in my box). It would have been interesting to see how they would have responded to something big and nasty, instead of the nymphs I was drifting by them to no avail. Next time...

    The day itself produced nothing significant by way of hatches, although turning over a few rocks quickly revealed the incredible diversity of aquatic invertabrate who call this river home. Caddis, mayflies, stones, midges, black fly larvae, aquatic worms, etc. all were found here, but the fish were not feeding selectively on this day. Rather, each fish seemed to want something different, and no one pattern really produced more than a fish or two (with the exception of a 22 copper john that took four nice browns, one being the largest of the day around 18 inches). On Sunday, I caught fish on at least 10 different patterns, all nymphs except for one 22 midge emerger pattern. Refusals at times were the order of the day, but fishing tiny nymphs off 7x tippet eventually would produce a fish or two. The takes were very subtle, and they would quickly spit the nymphs back out if you did not respond with a quick hook set, which I failed to do on a number of occasions:beathead: , resulting in many less fish to hand than I may have had (including one large trout that definitely topped the 20+ inch mark by a good margin). The best part of the fishing was seeing my friend, who has not spent much time with a fly rod in his hand (he fishes a lot for walleye and smallmouth in Minnesota using gear) catch some fish. We both had a great time and it was good to be out on the water again after a long layoff.

    The best part of the entire weekend may have been the food. The Bed and Breakfast place we stayed at was located right on the river, and served at night a true 5-course gourmet dinner, for about half the cost of what you would pay in Rome, although the quality of the food was a hundred times better. It was a great to end the day on Saturday.

    If any of you ever decide to travel to Italy, feel free to drop me a PM and I'll do what I can to steer you toward some very fine fishing. In less than two weeks, I will be leaving for 10 day trip to the Pyrenees mountains in France and Spain where a friend and I will be fishing some of the streams there. I will post a report and pictures when I get back. Until then, Pace.

  2. Thanks Dave, great report. Looks like a load of fun!

    Jim Jones
  3. Interesting report, Dave. Until I started visiting this website, I hadn't even contemplated flyfishing opportunities in mainland Europe. I will probably never end up going, but I'd be interested to hear how it works regarding public/private fishing, property rights, rented beats, etc. Is there a lot of public water? Are there a lot of other fishermen? My curiousity strikes.

  4. Bruce, the fishing here in Europe (Western Europe as I have yet to visit Eastern Europe, though there supposedly is some good fishing there as well) is quite good, but the regulations governing the different bodies of water is largely dependent upon the country, region, etc. you are fishing in. There is definitely not uniformity when it comes to how the water is mangaged and regulated, at least here in Italy. I have only fished in Ireland, England, and Italy, but in two weeks I will be fishing in Spain and France for the first time and will be able to get a better feel for how things work in those countries. Since I live in Rome and fish in Italy the most, I can tell you that there is quite a bit of public water, which is open to anyone to fish with the proper license. Some public water does require you to pay for a day ticket for each day you want to fish in addition to the general license. Since this is Italy, the license requirements can vary from region to region and it can be a bit difficult to figure out what type of license you need and where to get it. Thankfully I met someone here who has really helped me out with this because while things are very clear at home in the states in regards to this type of thing, the same cannot be said here in Italy. Even so, there is really a lot of great water here, much of which I have yet to fish. When I traveled to Ireland, I had to pay for each day I wanted to fish, and the water is "public" except that like here, a standard license alone may not be sufficient for you to fish some of it. England was almost all private water, managed by various clubs, some of whom would allow members to bring guests to fish (usually for a fee) on certain days of the week or times of the year.

    In terms of fisherman, there are a surprising number of people who flyfish here in Italy. The country is so much smaller than ours, and there is great water here, but not nearly as much as we have at home. Like anywhere, there will be times when its crowded on some water and other times when you will have it all to yourself. The Italians are in to dry fly fishing more than nymphing, and casting seems to be as much an "art form" as a means to catch fish. The big rivers we have in the Western United States are not found here, so the fishing is a bit different in that respect. The other "odd" thing about the Italians is they do not mind combat fishing, or fishing shoulder to shoulder with other people on the same stretch of river. Its a cultural thing as they do not seem to crave the solitude (generally speaking of course) that we do.

    Anyhow, hope this helps some. If you have any more questions, please feel free to let me know and I'll do my best to answer them for you. Peace.

  5. Nice pics, Dave. I really enjoy your reports from the Italian front.
  6. Thanks Dave. I appreciate the detailed answer. That gave me a pretty good sense of what it's like. (If someone had asked me--based solely on my ignorance---I would have said I imagine it was fished out centuries ago) Really cool to hear there's so much opportunity. Enjoy your trip to Spain and France. Looking forward to a report on how it went.
  7. Great, informative report, Dave. You're living out one of my own fantasies. BTW, could you drop the dime on the B&B you stayed at, where it's located, and any contact info you might have? I almost have enough frequent flyer miles for a trip to Europe, and Italy is my favored destination. The logistics of both finding a place to stay and a place to fish can be daunting.
  8. Ceviche, the place I stayed at is called Il Casaletto. Its located in Cerreto di Spoleto, a small town about an hour's drive from Perugia. Its really easy to get to and a wonderful place to stay. Great food, located right on the river, and they offer an amazing deal for flyfisherman (3 nights for 90 euro- including breakfast each morning). Their website is all in Italian, and they do not speak English (at least they did not speak with us), but one could get by with little or not Italian I think. Here is their web address: http://www.ilcasaletto.biz/

    I also have some information about a great place to stay in Tuscany if you were interested in fishing the Tevere. I can also help you with getting licenses to fish in both Tuscany and Umbria as well. I have yet to travel north, but there is supposedly some very good fishing in the northern part of the country (my Italian friend says the fishing there is the best). I have some information on places to stay and a little on the fishing, but if you wanted to visit there, I am sure my friend could provide all the necessary information to get you into the fishing there.

    If and when you come here, let me know what specifically you are interested in doing and I'll do what I can to help you out. After being here for almost two years now, I still do not have it all figured out, but fortunately I have Italian friends that do! Peace.

  9. Dave,

    So let me get this straight: You get to live in Rome AND flyfish in spring creeks??? I am jealous.

    Since you mention Eastern Europe, I'll offer that you definitely look into the mountains separating Poland from the Czech Republic and Slovakia. I lived in Wroclaw Poland about 12 years ago for 1+ years, and while I did not fish, I did spend a lot of time hiking and noticed a lot of very nice looking streams that were medium to high gradient, but largely flowing through limestone geology. I saw a few small trout here and there, but suspect that this was just scratching the surface. Some of the mountain lakes in a protected no-fishing-allowed national park near Zakopane Poland were just full of trout.

    Beyond that, I have no real specifics, but I'm sure the wonders of the Internet will reveal more to you if you dig. Some search help: "ryba" or "ryb" is fish, and "Pstrag" is trout in Polish. It is very likely the same/similar in the other two languages.
  10. Dave,

    Thanks for the Il Casaletto link. The location in Umbria prov. looks potentially do-able--if I have wheels and am heading up to Assisi from Rome. My singular stumbling block would be my likely travelling companion. Still, the sweet prices could justify an overnighter. As far as the rest of the info, I'll check in with you when the time draws near. I'd hate to jump the gun if all plans go awry.


    So how have you been getting around? Did you rent a car? How easy is that to do?
  11. Ceviche,

    If and when you work things out on your end, let me know what else you may need help with and I'll see what I can do. The Nera is not the only river in the area. The Corno river is also in the immediate area (near Cascia and Norcia) and it holds trout. Its quite a scenic little stream as well, so if you can stay for more than one day, I'd highly recommend it. As far as getting around, you will most definitely need to rent a car. When I have traveled to this area, I have taken a train out of Roma Termini into the towns of Perugia and Terni, where I rented a car and drove to the Nera where the hotel (Il Casaletto) is located. Terni is closer than Perugia, but the rental car dealer there (Europcar) is closed on Sundays and they do not let you turn the car in when they are closed (which means you have to rent it an extra day or turn it in during hours when they are open). The dealer in Perugia allows you to drop it off after hours at a hotel right next door, so you do not have to rent it for an extra day or turn the car in when they are open during the day. Its an easy drive from Perugia to Assisi to the Nera, though it is longer than the drive from Terni. There may be other car rental dealers you can go through, but we had no luck finding anything in Assisi itself. You can also rent a car in Rome, but I have found it is way less hassle to take the train out of Rome and pick up the car in either of the towns I mentioned. Getting in and out of the city of Rome can be a real pain in the butt. Its easy to rent a car, and I usually reserve the car online ahead of time. If you need any help with this, I can set you up no problem. Hope this helps some. Peace.

  12. Excellent info! That's the kind of stuff travel books are made of. Mille grazie!
  13. Dave, check out this link. It has links to virtual maps of Milan and Rome. I spent what must have been over three hours revisiting my old haunts in Rome. Talk about getting nostalgic. Still, the maps reveal a lot of history. You never know what exists just round the corner from where you live.

    The Roman map starts you off at Piazza Venezia. Apparently, there are some "treasures" to be found in the map hot spots, discount coupons and such. Have fun discovering your town.

    Ciao Bello!

  14. Hi Dave:

    I came across your forum entries while googling Cerreto de Spoleto because I'm going there for a friend's wedding on May 3. Never expected to come across anything regarding fly fishing. Your entries were great, and they convinced me to bring my gear and get some fishing in. Actually, I decided to stay on after the wedding for about ten days, rent a car, and fish my way up and over to Slovenia. Any advice you, or other forum members, have (aside from the good stuff you've already posted) would be appreciated. I'm particularly hoping to find some lesser known and cheaper rivers and creeks to fish, as 40 to 100 euros a day (seems to be the range in Italy and Slovenia) will get a bit expensive over ten days.

    Thanks in advance for any advice. I'll be sure to let you all know what I find, in any event.


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