By Javier Peña – Guideline Ambassador Spain.
Photos by author & Agustin Iglesias.
In the heart of the Italian Alps, in the famous Dolomites is the Trentino region, one of the most beautiful regions of Italy in terms of nature. A region through which different valleys run and through them some of the most famous and beautiful rivers of Italy, where the queen species is the Marble trout, trout that hybridizes with the brown trout giving rise to some of the most beautiful specimens that one can fish.
The Italian rivers of this area are rivers that can be affected by thaws, that is why the best times to fish them are from March to mid-June and from mid-September to mid-October. These rivers are quite uneven which makes their waters to be very fast and perhaps the most productive fishing especially at the beginning of the season, is the nymph fishing, or euronimphing, something that came in handy to test the new Guideline LPS. These rods behaved in an outstanding way in all the situations that we found ourselves in. Facilitating precision, sensitivity and power in their lower sections when it comes to fighting with the biggest fish. Three qualities of the most important thing that a rod should have to fish in an European nymph style.
Val di Sole
Our first stop was in the Val di Sole, where we were able to fish some of the most famous rivers in the area, such as the Torrente Rabbies in the reserve Le Marinolde, a small mountain river that was closed to fishing for over 25 years and that today is one of the best fishing reserves in the area, in which only two fishermen per day can enjoy it, despite being a small torrent of high mountains, hides great surprises being the marble trout and hybrid the main protagonists.
The Rabbies is a very technical river where the precision and speed when handling our nymphs are essential to obtain good results, in this case the work of the Guideline LPS rods along with the Halo reels was extraordinary not only providing us precision to place our nymphs in the small corners where the fish were found, but also sensitivity when detecting strikes and power to hold and fight fish of good size in these fast waters, although it doesn’t look like, it hides specimens over 50 cm.
The Rabbies is a very demanding river with very fearfull fish that makes you have to fish in many cases kneeling, stealthily, without leaning out too much to the positions where the fish are and always from outside getting into the river as little as possible. A fishing that is quite hard physically, but at the same time very beautiful that makes you be totally concentrated throughout the day. The fishing in this river is developed in 80% sight fishing something really exciting since at all times you can see the behavior of the fish and decide how to deal with each position in the best way possible.
Vermigliana and Noce rivers
The Vermigliana River is a tributary of the Noce that joins it in the area of Pelizzano a beautiful Italian village located in the heart of the Val di Sole, a region with a great offer as far as fishing is concerned, where rivers and lakes surrounded by a spectacular environment can delight the fly fisherman.
The second day we would fish the Noce and Vermigliana rivers, rivers that were bigger than the Rabbies and that due to the rain of the previous night their flow was increased and the waters got dirty, something that would complicate fishing a lot,. During the morning we were able to fish the Vermigliana river for a few hours and pull some trout out, once again using the European-style nymphs as the main method of fishing, since the fish showed no signs of surface activity and the color of the water was getting worse.
In the afternoon fishing was getting more complicated due to bad weather and it was impossible to fish the Noce river, so there was no alternative but to look for an alternative in the area, trying different tributaries of this river, tributaries that can also hide big specimen and can turn what would have been a disaster into the most productive afternoon. One of the alternatives proposed by our guide and friend in this area, Giampiero, was to fish a small high mountain river that rises in a lake a few kilometers above and where besides trout fario, the rainbow trout breed in a wild way.
As soon as we arrived, we began to capture precious and brave rainbow trouts that surrendered to the charms of our nymphs. The river was very small and due to its high flow you could hardly fish 3 or 4 pools, but without a doubt they were the most productive wells since the fish had been concentrated in those areas to safeguard themselves from the strong current that the river brought at that time. Not only could we capture beautiful rainbow trout, but we also had the opportunity to capture some of their beautiful and elusive trout fario of a fairly acceptable size since this river due to its size does not house large specimens.
After extracting all the juice to these 3 or 4 wells, our friend proposed us to go to the mouth of this small river in the Noce river, considering that when the river flow is very high and dirty, some specimens are stored in the first wells that are found in the mouth of the river. Maybe it could be a good alternative to end the day, which of course once again we could not deny. Once there we saw how the Noce came down very strong and very dirty, but despite the stream having murky waters, it could be fished, and so we did. The result did not take long to arrive in the form of a precious male wild rainbow trout, putting to a day, that in the start could not predict what in the end was a great day of fishing, a final touch.
Alto Sarca valley
Once we finished our fishing days in the Val di Sole, we changed of valley to fish the waters of the river Sarca, one of the most famous rivers in Trentino and where the fly fishing world championship was held last year.
There we were able to fish one of their reserves, the R1 located in Priore and famous for hosting large specimens of both trout fario and marble trouts, endemic trout from this area.
The Sarca is a river that alternates wells with tables of shallower waters, but in general its waters are quite fast, another of the Italian rivers where nymph fishing as in the previous ones would be the most productive. In this case the river had enough water, something that made us have to fish with pretty heavy nymphs to reach the fish and to drift through the correct areas. This may be one of the reserves with the greatest fishing pressure in the area since its large specimens attract the attention of fishermen from all over the world, and their fish are usually quite elusive and suspicious.
As we ascended fishing, we were capturing some small specimen that was encouraging us the morning. The temperature of the water was quite low, something that made the fish apathetic at the moment. Although it is true, this reserve has some key points where the larger specimens can be usually found, points where we had to focus our fishing and insist or change nymphs, weights or drifts if we wanted to get one of them. What was clear is that we knew they were there and it was a matter of waiting for the moment when they would activate more. Moment that did not take long to arrive, in the mid-morning we started to nail some very large trout, losing one of more than 70cm that after 15 minutes of fighting it ended up winning us the battle.
Still with the bad taste of mouth for having lost such a specimen, a pull of our nylon indicated us that a fish has bit and we managed to get a good sized trout.
I have to say that the LPS rod behaved excellently fighting both, with this example and with the previous one of more than 70cm and it is that these alpine trout are tremendously strong, but even so we managed to master these fish without problems. After taking some pictures and returning it to the water, we continued insisting on one of the hot spots of the section, knowing that after fighting with these two specimens, it could be harder to nail one more. But after a long time, our line got tighten and after nailing, some strong pulls put us on alert, warning us that on the other side of our line we had another great specimen. Specimen that after descending with it more than 200 meters down the river and 1o minutes of fight we could put in the landing-net, and is that these fights with these trouts of the Alps in this river can be something epic.
As with the rest of the fish and after taking some photos with great respect, we returned them to the place where they come from, hoping that they will continue growing so that they will keep giving us great joy and maybe another year we will be able to fish and enjoy them again. A fish that once again put the finishing touch to our day of fishing in waters of the high Sarca, a river that can be the most generous or the most ungrateful, but that is definitely worth fishing just for trying to get us one of his big and brave trouts.
The next day and back to the airport of Bergamo to then return to Madrid, we stopped in the River Chiese Valley, a beautiful river that thaw does not affect and that can be fished all seasons, from March to October, where not only trout Fario, Marmoratas trout, Rainbow and Hybrid can be found, but where we can also find very good specimen of Timalos, fish that would be our last objective of the trip.
Once in the river Chiese, a river that does not usually have much flow and is quite comfortable to fish, we focused our attention on the Grayling, a fish that undoubtedly bewitches the fly fishermen and that in this river despite its size there is some specimens over 50cm, a measure of the most attractive for those in love with this fish. In general, it is usually a river where fish are fished by sight fishing, but in this case, due to the coldness of its waters, it was necessary to look for areas that seemed more attractive since they were quite hidden. To start looking for them and due to the orography of the river we decided to choose tandem fishing, a technique that is within what we call the euronimphing, which consists of placing a nymph on the bottom of the tipet and a dry above without supporting the line or thread in the water, a technique that makes both the drifts of our nymphs and our dry flies to be more natural and also it let us keep our flies in small holes or bore for as long as possible.
The results did not take long to arrive, capturing in the first 200 meters of the river, a beautiful Grayling of more than 40 cm that gave us a great fight. In this case we decided to fish with very thin tipets, due to the small size of the nymphs that we used and the distrust of these fish, for which we used 7×0’10 threads. Threads that our Guideline LPS rods with that sweet action were in charged to protect by making it possible for us to fight the fish without fear of breakage of these very fine terminals, and if there is something that these rods have shown us, it has been their great versatility in all kinds of situations, whether fishing for European-style nymphs or using them with line in a traditional way.
After spending the morning fishing and enjoying this beautiful river, its Grayling and its trouts and in spite of us, we had no choice but to head to the airport to return to our homes and start to gradually recover our normal activity, since our minds would still be for a few days in the Italian Alps, its rivers, its mountains and its beautiful valleys.