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Recently enjoyed three days of excellent fishing during a family vacation to Italy. For the fishing part of the trip, I used informationnerariver-jamie-from-usa-1024from The Angling Report. I’m submitting this report to return the favor. My trip was arranged through the custom travel service offered by Claudio Tagini of Western European Travel (Tel. 302-436-0153. Web:www.westerneuropeantravel.com). My guide for the three days was Luca Castellani (Cell phone from the US: 011-39-340-349-9273. Web: www.flyfishing-tuscany-umbria-lazio.com). We fished for two days on the Tevere River in Sansepolcro in Tuscany, and for one day on the Nera River just outside of Spoleto in Umbria. My non-fishing spouse (Christine) accompanied me on this trip, and while I was fishing, Claudio arranged for her to tour the local countryside with Daniela, a friend of Luca and Claudio. Claudio also arranged our lodging one night in a bed and breakfast that had formerly been a convent a few miles away from the Nera River. On a second night, he laced us in a small hotel just inside the walls of Montalcino. Some changes in the travel plans for the remainder of my family required last-minute changes in our itinerary. Claudio handled these changes seamlessly. They included the addition of the lodging in Montalcino, and arranging for us to be picked up in Rome, driven through Umbria and dropped off in Montalcino, where we joined the remainder of my family. Luca was ready and waiting each day when I arrived for fishing. He supplied rods, reels, flies and waders. The rods included both graphite and modern fast-action bamboo models local makers. One of the rods was outfitted with an Italian-made silk line. Another featured bamboo ferrules and was particularly sweet to cast. Unfortunately, during our day on the Nera, this rod fell victim to an overhanging tree while Luca was demonstrating some close-range casting techniques. The schedule for each fishing day was flexible. Luca was perfectly willing to fish until I fell over. However, I opted to end early to meet up with Christine for some late-day sightseeing. I should mention the food, since that was important to the overall enjoyment of this trip. One day, we ate a lunch of sandwiches on the river – in Italy, delicious pannini and espresso can be purchased at the local gas station! Another day, we ate at a local restaurant on the banks of the Nera, and, on the final day, at Luca’s club. The meals at the club and restaurant were excellent, particularly the restaurant meal. During our morning fishing session on the Nera, Luca had a brief conversation with a farmer along the river. The farmer had found a large black truffle that morning. I asked about purchasing local truffles and Luca told me not to worry. Christine joined us for this lunch, which featured pasta alla Norcina with freshly shaved black truffles, plus cured meats, a few carafes of white wine and espresso with Sambuca for dessert. Lunch at Luca’s club was also very good, papardelle with cinghiale (local wild boar), ragu with ice-cold Italian beers (if you have not guessed yet, I am not a skinny guy). It was exceptionally hot and sunny during my trip, so a lunch break in a nice setting was a real treat. The Nera is a small to mediumsized river that benefits from a coldwater diversion just upstream from the stretch that we fished. All fishing in this area is no-kill with barbless hooks. Certain sections are designated no wading. Luca informed me that he was disappointed with the water conditions. Due to some repairs in the diversion upstream the water was high and off color. However, it was not muddy; it was more or less cloudy, as if it contained snow-melt. Any potential disappointment quickly dissipated when we arrived at the first fishing hole. I was shocked at the number of fish feeding in plain sight on such a sunny day. At least 15 large trout were sipping bugs from the surface. We fished with small olive patterns, caddis patterns and large to medium Chernobyl ants (Luca ties his without rubber legs, and they are surprisingly effective on the local trout). It was also surprising to learn that the river is not stocked, and all of the fish were wild brown trout, the only species of trout in this stretch of river. The majority of the fish ranged from 12 to 16 inches, but much larger fish were present. One that I fished over for the better part of an hour was well over 20 inches. Finally giving up, I asked Luca to show me how it was done. He promptly caught the fish on a large caddis pattern. (Note: you can see a picture of this fish in our online Subscriber Photo Gallery.) These fish were extremely sensitive to any drag, so long (14- to 16- foot), fine (as low as 8x) leaders were a must. Because the river is not particularly wide, long casts were not necessary. Instead, short and accurate casts were the order of the day. Luca had to regularly remind me that the longer casts that I am accustomed to making on the Delaware River were completely inappropriate for this type of fishing, and that I should focus on “precision” instead. It was very challenging trying to accurately place a fly with a 16-foot leader and only six inches of fly line beyond the tip of the rod. In all, we covered about threekilometers of Nera water. The surrounding countryside was beautiful, lush green farmlands with steep mountains springing from the valley floor. We landed four fish before lunch, and six to 10 more in the afternoon. While I was fishing the Nera,  Christine toured Spoleto and some of the other local towns. She particularly enjoyed a visit to the waterfall at Marmore, which is apparently one of the tallest in Europe. I, on the other hand, particularly enjoyed the local Norcian sausage  hat she purchased  while I was fishing. The Tevere (it’s hard to believe that this little river we fished is the same one that flows through Rome!) sits between the town of Sansepolcro (home of Buitoni pasta) and theautostrada. The surroundings are not nearly as beautiful as the Nera. Where we parked looked a lot like the West Branch of the Delaware in Deposit, New York, below the Norbord plant. Still, the Tevere (a slightly larger river than the Nera) is lined with trees and brush that provide a feeling of seclusion and respite from the town and highway. Fishing on the Tevere was also no-kill with barbless hooks. The Tevere is home to both wild  and stocked brown trout and some grayling. We arrived both days at about 11 am. Though it was bright and sunny, there was a consistent hatch of olives, and fish were rising regularly. The fishing on the Tevere was very technical. The fish seemed to be more selective than those of the Nera and we used the same long, fine leaders with generally smaller flies, though Luca’s Chernobyl ants worked here as well. Most productive was a fly that Luca refers to as “the sh***y pink fly.” It is tied on a 22 or 24 hook, with a body strip of pink foam that is floated by a wisp of CDC. I landed 10 or so fish on this fly the first day, and five on the second. The fish here ranged from 12 to 16 inches.  I saw some larger fish but could not fool them. I would highly recommend a few days of fishing on these rivers to anyone visiting Tuscany/Umbria. These are not necessarily “destination” rivers. However, they offer challenging fishing for quality fish. The activities available for non-fishing spouses are  a big plus, too. I am very lucky that  Christine was willing to strike out on her own with Daniela. The ideal situation would have been two couples traveling together with two people fishing and two touring. -

Jamie Larkin

(Postscript: If you are intrigued by this report, you can find much more coverage of Italian trout fishing in our Trip-Planning Database. See Article Nos. 2399, 2267 and 2079; and Subscriber Reports Nos. 3949, 3888, 3819.)