Italy is the home of the Dolce Vita lifestyle and boasts some of the finest cuisine in the world. While Italy is best known for its high fashion, incredible cultural heritage and superb cuisine, the country is also an angler’s paradise!
As a Mediterranean country, Italy is famous for its seafood dishes, much of which is caught right off its extensive coastlines. However, the inland waterways also offer a huge wealth of fishing opportunities; from the crystal clear lakes to the large rivers and murmuring streams that crisscross the country.
FAQ About Freshwater Fishing In Italy.
The following are some of the most commonly asked questions about freshwater fishing in Italy:
What Is Freshwater Fishing?
Freshwater fishing takes place in lakes, rivers, ponds and streams. Technically speaking, fresh water is defined as having salinity levels of less than 1.05% which makes it distinct from the saltwater in the ocean.
The types of fish that you can catch in freshwater are very different from the types that you can catch in the oceans; although there are some notable exceptions, such as salmon which migrate from the open oceans into freshwater rivers to breed each year.
Essentially though, freshwater fishing is any form of inland fishing that takes place in the freshwater in lakes, rivers and ponds.
Is There Good Freshwater Fishing In Italy?
Italy has superb freshwater fishing. This is partly because the nation has so many lakes and riverways; many of which are fed by pure meltwater that flows down from the snowy mountains in the North of the country.
However, in recent decades, Italy has been putting a major nationwide focus on sustainability and environmental issues. This has led to many of the lakes being cleaned up and stopped the inland waterways from becoming overly polluted.
There are also strict rules in place that are designed to put a halt to overfishing and the depletion of the natural freshwater ecosystem which supports local populations of fish. This means that there are fantastic freshwater fishing spots all over Italy; from the enchanting Lake Como to the huge River Tiber, as well as countless small streams and waterways that weave through the countryside.
What Is The Most Common Freshwater Fish In Italy?
Each part of Italy has a slightly different range of freshwater fish in its waters, depending on the local ecosystem. The most common and widespread types of freshwater fish in Italy include Trout, Pike, Perch, Whitefish, Zander and Grayling. All of these fish are highly prized and frequently used in the regional cuisine of the nation’s various climatic districts.
Where Is The Best Trout Fishing In Italy?
Although there is a lot of controversy among the angling community in Italy, the general consensus is that the best trout fishing in the country is in the Avisio river in the Val di Fiemme, in Trentino. In the Avisio river, you can catch the infamous Marble Trout, also known as a ‘Marmoratus’ Trout.
Do You Need A License To Fish In Freshwaters In Italy?
Yes, you do need a license in order to be able to fish in Italy’s lakes, rivers and streams. Every region has slightly different rules when it comes to the licensing related to fishing.
As a foreigner visiting the country you need to apply for a Type B fishing license, whereas if you are a resident in Italy you need to apply for a Type D fishing license.
In every case though, you will need an Italian tax code, known as a ‘Codice Fiscale’. This may take a few weeks to arrange so if you want to avoid that headache you can go fishing with a local guide who will deal with the paperwork on your behalf.
The Best Freshwater Fishing Destinations In Italy – Lakes.
The following are some of the best lakes for freshwater fishing in Italy:
Lake Como is one of Italy’s most popular holiday spots but it’s also an amazing freshwater fishing destination. With beautiful, crystal clear waters, stunning scenery and some of the best freshwater fishing on the continent, Lake Como is a must-visit for any keen angler.
Often referred to as the European version of America’s Great Lakes, Lake Como has a plethora of freshwater fish including Trout, Perch, Pike, Grayling, Chub, Carp, Zander, and many more besides. Fly fishing is the usual technique of fishing in Lake Como although you can also use a floating hook and line.
There are several main resort towns where you can base yourself during a fishing trip to Lake Como. Some of the most spectacular fishing towns around the lake are Lecco, Tremezzo, Lenno, Laglio, Como and Bellagio, all of which have numerous lakeside fishing spots to explore.
The ideal time to visit Lake Como for freshwater fishing is between June and late September. However, October is also a good time to fish in Lake Como when the Trout, Perch and Grayling are fattened up after the summer, which means you can hook some really great catches.
Lake Garda is the biggest lake in Italy and boasts a huge range of freshwater fish which can often be found on the menus of local restaurants and eateries. Sports fishing is very popular on Lake Garda and the surrounding rivers and streams.
The area is most famous for its Trout, especially the unique Lake Garda Trout, also known as the Carpione, which only lives in Lake Garda. As well as the Lake Garda Trout, you can also fish for Chub, Perch, Eel, Tench, Whitefish and Vendace.
When you are fishing on Lake Garda you need to be aware that the region has some rules which need to be complied with. For instance, fishing is banned for one hour before dawn and one hour after sunset. At certain times of the year, you are also prohibited from catching particular types of fish so they can breed in safety and maintain their population numbers in the lake.
The Best Freshwater Fishing Destinations In Italy – Rivers.
There are around 1,200 rivers in Italy, many of which are great fishing destinations for freshwater fishing. This means that you’re absolutely spoilt for choice when it comes to selecting a location for freshwater fishing in Italy. In fact, this means that no matter where you are in the country you won’t be too far from the nearest freshwater fishing destination.
The following are some of the best rivers for freshwater fishing in Italy:
Northern Italy – River Fishing.
The river Po is Italy’s largest river and although it’s not ideal for fishing in Southern parts of the country, in the North of the country it’s a heavenly spot for freshwater anglers. The Po basin, in the North, is filled by waters from the Alps and is full of rivers and streams that flow onwards to the sea.
The area is famous for incredible freshwater fishing, with 70-kilogram Catfish and Carp not being an uncommon catch for an experienced angler. Two of the best rivers for freshwater fishing in the Po basin are the Ticino and the Sarca rivers. These flow into Lake Garda and are hotspots for Trout as well as other freshwater species.
Of course, the river Avisio in the Val di Fiemme, in Trentino, is fed by meltwater from the Dolomites and has dozens of kilometers of superb Trout fishing spots. The river is often considered to be Italy’s best Trout fishing destination and is best known for the Marble Trout, the Brown Trout and the Arctic Chars.
In the North East of Italy, the Adige river is another amazing Trout fishing destination and the second longest river in Italy. The river flows from the Swiss Alps down through Verona to the Adriatic Sea. While you’re in the area, the Brenta, which runs parallel to the Adige river, is also a great location for freshwater fishing. In this area, you can catch Trout and Grayling between late March and mid-September whereas you can catch Carp and Catfish all through the year.
Central Italy – River Fishing.
Central Italy offers some of the best freshwater fishing on the European continent! The pastoral landscapes and fertile, rich soils create an environment that feeds plenty of nutrients into the waterways of the region. This provides a consistent food source for the insects and other species that the freshwater fish feed on. As a result, it’s a top quality area for fishing.
The river Tiber, which runs from Rome into the ocean, is a good fishing destination where you can catch Pike, Perch and Asp. It’s best to use a fly rod in this area although you might also have some success with a traditional line and hook.
Another major destination for anglers in Central Italy is the Lima river in Tuscany. This is located near the historic cities of Lucca and Pisa and is popular with Trout anglers. The river Scoltenna, in Emilia-Romagna, is also a superb Trout fishing river.
Further inland, the river Nero is teeming with fish although in some locations you can only catch and release fish, as opposed to catching fish and taking them home to eat later.
Southern Italy – River Fishing.
As a result of the warmer climate in Italy’s Southern provinces, the waterways can often be very dry during the summer months. This restricts freshwater fishing opportunities, particularly in the smaller, shallower rivers and streams.
However, Volturno river, near Naples, is a magnificent fly fishing destination while the river Sele, South of Salerno, has some good fishing during the spring and autumn months. The main types of freshwater fish that you can catch in the South of Italy are Trout, Eel, Pike and Mullet.
Freshwater Fishing In Italy.
Italy has some outstanding freshwater fishing sites that range from deep water fishing in Lake Garda and Lake Como to fly fishing on the Tiber and in the Po basin.
Whether you’re an absolute beginner or a seasoned angler, taking a fishing trip is a fantastic way to spend some quality time amongst Italy’s stunning rural scenery. A fun family trip and a great activity for relaxing in the countryside, freshwater fishing in Italy is a delightful way to create lasting memories with the ones you love.