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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Rome, Italy

    Default A Short Guide to Fly-fishing the Rivers of Central Italy

    I noticed that there've been a few questions on fly-fishing in Italy, and I thought I'd share my experiences fishing some of the rivers in Central Italy, particularly in the regions of Lazio and Abruzzo. I know that if you guys make it to Italy, you probably have other things on your agenda besides fly-fishing, but hey, you never know! Hopefully it'll be of some use to the forum.

    Legal Requirements:

    National "D" Fishing License for Foreigners, valid for 3 months, available from the municipal hunting and fishing office


    2 tax stamps of 14.62 each (can be bought at many tobacconists) + 8.52 payment at the post office addressed to the municipal/region in which you intend to apply for the license. Some regions will charge an additional small fee for other requirements like a "tally card".

    Until very recently a foreigner would be required to get the National "D" Fishing license to fish any inland water. That has changed, with some regions now requiring only a payment to the local fishing office for a regional license, e.g., Veneto, in which Venice and Padua are found, and Tuscany require only the payment of 8.52 to the regional fishing office. Lazio and Abruzzo both still require the national "D" license.

    The fishing license entitles you to fish any rivers and lakes not subject to additional local restrictions, e.g. the Province of Rieti in Lazio requires, in addition to the national license, their local license and tally card, and if you intend to fish the C&R stretches of a river, the C&R permit.

    Fishing season for Salmonids:

    From the last Monday of February to the first Sunday of October.

    Some regions ban the fishing of a local subspecies of the brown trout, Salmo trutta macrostigma.

    There are closed seasons on chub, barbel, whitefish, perch, tench and carp, which vary from region to region. There's usually no closed season for pike, crucian carp, minnows (!) except for some local restrictions. Most regions ban the fishing the inland shad and freshwater crayfish.

    Fishing Generalities

    Where fishing is permitted, class "A" rivers are governed by the trout fishing season, and cannot be fished using maggots as bait, multi-hook rigs, or ground-baiting. Fly-fishing is always allowed. There's often a restriction on the number of rods an angler can use, usually not more than 2.

    These rivers are very often stocked during the fishing season, supposedly only with brown trout, although rainbow trout are so common in many of these rivers that one has to wonder. Stocking is not allowed where the S.t.macrostigma subspecies is present.

    The limit is usually 6 fish with a minimum total length of 22-30 cm, depending on the region. Some stretches of the rivers below have a limit of 1 fish, or are only C&R.


    6.5-9 ft, 3-6 wt, floating lines.

    Heavier gear is not required as you will seldom catch anything over 5 lbs unless you specifically target carp, and long rods are a hindrance since there are loads of overhanging branches etc. More than half the time I'm either side or roll casting. Casts are usually short, not more than 20-50 ft.

    I used 5.5-7 ft furled leaders and a 1-3 ft tippet, generally Maxima Ultragreen 4 lb (0.17 mm).


    The classics work really well. I generally use only the following, and have never gone home without at least catching (and releasing 95% of the time) a fish. I fish dry flies all the time, but the nymphs listed below all work well. I fish flies sized 14-22, too lazy to deal with anything smaller, and generally use either the Davy Knot or the Duncan Loop for fly to tippet attachment.

    Adams and variants (Parachute, Female, Wulff, Irresistible)
    Elk-hair Caddis
    Various Daddies and Hoppers
    G & H Sedge
    Wulff flies, especially Royal and Gray
    Griffith's Gnat
    Midge flies in black, olive, Adams
    Parachute Pheasant-tail
    Parachute BWO

    Gold Bead Head GRHE
    GBH Copper John
    GBH Brassies
    Czech Nymphs
    Montana Nymphs (Killer for chub)

    Some of the Class "A", i.e., Salmonid Rivers, of Central Italy

    This is only a partial list. I've not included some famous rivers like the Velino -- I seldom fish this for a variety of reasons, so I don't have enough pertinent information to share.

    The Aniene River, Lazio

    A beautiful river, especially at the C&R section above the town of Subiaco. I've never seen chub in this part of the river, and the brownies are absolute beauties. Heavily stocked and heavily fished.

    Location: between the towns of Jenne and Subiaco, and at the bridges of Agosta and Marano Equo
    Type: freestone
    Requirement: "D" license

    The Aventino River, Abruzzo

    This river is very heavily fished, and also very heavily stocked.

    Location: from the town of Palena to its mouth at Lake Casoli
    Type: freestone, with abundant snow-melt in spring
    Requirement: "D" license, except for several locally managed stretches where a separate permit is required

    The Pescara and Orta Rivers, Abruzzo

    These rivers contains trout, but because their lower stretches are not classified "A", can be fished throughout the year although you can't bring home the trout you catch during the closed season. The stretches I fish are not as clean nor as scenic as the other rivers here, but do contain the lunker escapee rainbow due to the presence upriver of one of Europe's largest commercial trout farms, and a healthy population of wily, and wild, brown trout.

    Location: adjacent to the Scafa-Alanno exit of the A25 motorway
    Type: freestone
    Requirement: "D" license

    The Salto River, Lazio

    At this point, the Salto is a pretty little stream full of small chub and trout. Almost no need to cast here, dapping the fly will do!

    Location: the stretch to the east and west of the town of Torano di Borgorese near the Valle del Salto exit on the A24 motorway
    Type: freestone (I think. It's got a really rich weed growth that makes me think it could be a chalkstream)
    Requirement: "D" license and the permit from the province of Rieti

    The Santa Susanna Chalkstream

    A beautiful, limpid chalkstream (spring creek) with loads of trout, both brown and stocked rainbow. I generally fish the fly-only C&R stretch.

    Location: below the town of Rivodutri, province of Rieti
    Type: chalkstream
    Requirement: "D" license, Rieti C&R rivers permit

    The Sangro River

    For angling purposes I divide the river into 2 parts, the Upper and Lower Sangro. For me, the Upper Sangro runs from the town of Castel di Sangro to its mouth on Lake Bomba. The Lower Sangro runs from the tailwater of the dam to where it meets the Adriatic Sea. This river is very heavily stocked and fished and the Italian Fly-fishing museum and school is found in Castel di Sangro. Despite the heavy fishing pressure, and in Italy C&R is still very much in its infancy, trout is plentiful and chub abundant, if not practically a nuisance! On the Lower Sangro trout is less plentiful, but chub, roach, barbel and carp are common. I've even caught an eel on a fly here!

    Upper Sangro - From Castel di Sangro to Lake Bomba
    Lower Sangro - From Lake Bomba to the Adriatic Sea
    Type: Freestone with abundant snow-melt in spring. The Lower Sangro is subject to the daily opening of the dam gates on Lake Bomba
    Requirements: "D" license, except for several stretches, notably at Castel di Sangro and at Villa Santa Maria, where local permits are required

    The Tirino

    The quintessential British chalkstream, beautifully clear waters loaded with insect life and fat brown trout.

    Location: 110 miles from Rome at an elevation of about 1,500' ASL, exit Bussi on the A25 motorway
    Requirement: "D" license, daily rod fee of 10 euros for visitors

    I've placed photos in my gallery for those of you who're interested: Image Gallery
    Last edited by kenneth; 13-11-2012 at 09:55 PM. Reason: Fixed image gallery, fixed spelling, updated data

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Not close enough to a river


    Fantastic - thanks for sharing

  3. #3


    very useful and informative and great looking fish. I'm taking the family to tuscany again next year staying near Greve in Chianti - there are are few uselfull looking streams in the area I've no idea of their names do you know if any of them are worth a try or do you know an English speaking source of information fishing information for that area?


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Rome, Italy



    I have no experience at all of the fly-fishing in Tuscany. I do know that Tuscany requires only the 3-month regional permit, no need for the national "D" license. I assume that you'll be going during the spring or summer, remember that fishing on class "A" rivers is not allowed from the first Monday of October to the last Saturday of February.

    I also do know that the Greve River is pretty well-known as a trout stream, and you only need the regional license to fish it, no need for special local permits.

    If guided fishing appeals, you might want to take a look at these guys, or even just contact them for information in English:

    Hope the above helps.

    BTW, if the fishing doesn't work out, I'm sure the wine and the Fiorentina t-bone steak will be some consolation .

    All the best and welcome to Italy,

  5. #5


    Thanks very much for those helpful tips. I'll be sure to look up those links. I'll be there the first two weeks in July so it shouldn't be too hot to spend an aftternoon/evening chasing trout - the rest of the evenings I'll be taking your advice on the wine and steak.

    Good luck

  6. #6


    Hi Kenneth.
    I fished the upper and lower sangro during the world championships in the early 90's i remember the upper part was very beatuiful but all that was caught were very poor stocked brownies about 10inch and the river stank, the lower part below the town, i have never seen so much rubbish and sewrage products stuck in the branches along the river in my life i hope since then they have cleaned iit up? But even back then the locals were only intrested in catching no matter what it was they caught!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Rome, Italy


    Quote Originally Posted by Red Diawl View Post
    Hi Kenneth.
    I fished the upper and lower sangro during the world championships in the early 90's i remember the upper part was very beatuiful but all that was caught were very poor stocked brownies about 10inch and the river stank, the lower part below the town, i have never seen so much rubbish and sewrage products stuck in the branches along the river in my life i hope since then they have cleaned iit up? But even back then the locals were only intrested in catching no matter what it was they caught!
    Do you remember the name of the town? I'd be interested to see which stretch of the Sangro this was. I've only been frequenting it since 2008, but the parts I fish, particularly below the towns of Quadri and Villa Santa Maria, are chock-full of chub, and to a lesser extent, trout. I'd say the water quality is more than decent, so maybe the authorities have done something about cleaning the river up.

    Sadly, the attitude of catch and keep everything you noticed is still prevalent. The interesting thing is that fishing pressure seems to be quite light -- I only go during the weekends, and most of the time I'm completely alone. This year, I had one memorable day, July 4, 2009, where I got 7 trout, the largest about 1 lb. Nothing big, but full-finned and feisty.

    I catch chub almost with wild abandon, they take the fly very readily. Again I don't get anything really big, the largest usually a pound to a pound and a half, but great fun.

  8. #8



    Great information

    Thanks for sharing.
    Well, now I like to go there day.

  9. #9


    Hi Kenneth , indeed all.

    Im told that The River Neri in Terni (150 km da Rome) is the place to go for large browns. Anyone heard the like?

    I will be finding out tomorow for myself on light tackle.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2006
    White City, Oregon, USA.

    Exclamation +1 here.

    Quote Originally Posted by stevekale View Post
    Fantastic - thanks for sharing
    Amazing post, links to same posted elsewhere. As you noted ... fishing streams in Italy?????? Who would have guessed; never seen/read a 'peep' on the possibilities until your post.

    Fred Evans - White City, Oregon

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