Austin Fly Fishers

a member club of the Federation of Fly Fishers

August/september 2010

volume 12, issues 8-9

Nera River, by Ed Parson

This past May, while on a trip in Italy I had an opportunity to do something I have always wanted to do, fly fish in Italy. Christmas 2009 I was given a wonderful gift from Dorothy, a one day guided trip on Nera River in Umbria with guide, Luca Castellani. If you are not familiar with Italy, Umbria is the region in the middle of the country between Tuscany and Lazio. The terrain is spectacular with slow rolling green hills and the beautiful Sibillini mountains tucked in the eastern part of the region. This is where you will find the Nera River.

I fished the Upper Nera River, wich only allows 12 fisherman for the day, near the town Cerreto di Spoleto . This section of the Nera is about 8km long, bordered on one end by a beautiful stone bridge and the other end by fast moving rapids.

The Italians are very protective of their natural resources and the Nera is no exception. The reason it’s called the “ No Kill Nera” is that they are very strict about catch and release. You can only use the dry flies or nimpf, no streamers are allowed. The good news is it has lots of beautiful brown trout in the 16” to 24” range. I met up Luca near Perugia where he lives and from there it was about a one hour drive to the river.

Luca is an absolute delight of a guide. His English is very good although he will tell you it’s not good as his wife who speaks seven languages. He has tons of great stories of people he has fished with in Italy andfly fisher s he knows in the U.S. Luca can supply you with everything you will need : waders, flies, and beautiful handmade bamboo fly rod if you prefer to leave your rod at home. When you arrive in Cerreto di Spoleto he will take you to the rivers official office where you pay 15€ for your one day pass.

We parked near a small lodge/restaurant ( if you plan to fish a couple of days on the upper Nera this would be a great place to stay.

I brought a 6wt from home so I rigged it up. Luca grabbed the 5wt handmade bamboo he brought and we about 100 yard to the river. I’m sure my jaw dropped when we got to the edge and I saw what looked to be a dozen browns holding just below the surface on the opposite side of the river. After several refusals I got a fish and landed a very nice 17” brown trout. After fishing the river for three hours, Luca asked me if I’d like some lunch. We walked off the river back to il Casaletto for a very memorable Umbrian lunch of local salami, a wonderful pasta dish and a main course accompanied with the local red wine. The lunch experience was at Italian pace, about an hour and a half. We returned to the river and fished for another three and a half hours. All tolled I hooked and I landed eight fish. Luca then returned me to my original pick up place.

For me this was the ultimate experience because for me , next to my family, the two things I enjoy the most are fly fishing and travelling in Italy. To be able to have two combined in one day was beyond my wildest dreams.

If you are going to Italy and you love fly fishing I highly recommend that you contact Luca Castellani. . Luca fishes several areas besides the Upper Nera.

A video Luca posted of my experience