On January 22nd, 2007 Donna and I boarded a plane for a business/pleasure trip to Italy. Being our first time we were hosted by our friend Simone Palli who wanted to show us around and also take us fishing. January in Italy is winter, same as it is in Oregon. Our goal was to see and enjoy as much of Italy as we could and to enjoy some quality trout fishing while we were there.
After a couple days of business we set out to sight see and to enjoy the people and as much of the culture as possible. Simone had a plan to take us into their mountains where some trophy class trout fishing could be done in their high lakes of northern Italy. Simone’s brother Francesco went with us. He was a lure fisherman at heart, but wanted to learn more about fly fishing.
Upon arriving at the main lake where we would be staying, everyone quickly pulled out their gear and started to get ready. The reason for panic was simple; we could see monster trout cruising the shoreline in front of us! On my second cast I watched a 22” German brown attack my fly.
As I was releasing the fish Simone hollered to Donna and me to quickly come over where he and his brother were fishing. Francesco’s first cast with a Rapala Lure, he hooks a big fish. Simone, Donna and I could not believe the size of that fish. It was truly a monster! As he was fighting the large male rainbow we were able to get a great look at it. Not overstating the size of the fish we all agreed it was between 28 to 30 lbs, which eventually broke his line and took his lure. What a way to start the trip. All we could tell Francesco is that we wanted to catch the “Lure Fish”, so we could get his lure back. But truly we knew, we all wanted to catch that monster fish!
The lakes where we spent a couple of nights were all “catch & release” which is our way of fishing. We caught mostly rainbows and some browns. You could sometimes see the fish and make your cast and get refusals. Some of the trout were exceeding 20 lbs. for sure! The biggest we landed by length and girth came out to be 18 lbs. We landed a 15 and a couple of 12 pounders, not to mention several from 2 to 7 pounds.
We all fished with a 6 wt outfit and used the Teeny Mini-Tip and Invisi-Tip lines, which both proved to be a great choice for flylines. Donna used a 9 foot leader of 6 lb. test and had one over 20 lbs. break her off. We used our Teeny Nymphs size #4 down to a #10, in colors of Antique Gold, Insect Green, Black & Natural which all proved to be the best choice. The thought of going to Italy to catch giant trout never crossed our minds. We hope to make a return trip in the near future. Northern Italy is a beautiful country along with the great people, good food and wine.