River Mera (Italy)  


by Paul Majeran    

For fly fishermen located in the north Italian metropolis of Milan, one of the obvious fly fishing possibilities is the river Adda, winding its way through a beautiful valley with pictoresque villages and excellent local food. In fact, I always wanted to try my luck there, since the Adda valley is located only little more then an hours drive from Milan. The trip was various times planned and then postponed, but some beautiful May weekend, I finally got there. Unfortunately, once in the little office in Sondrio, where they sell the fishing permits, I am confronted with the disappointing news that the Adda is in high water and practically unfishable. I was just about to give up my fishing plans and concentrate on the local ‘cucina’ instead, when an italian fisherman suggested to try the Mera, tributary to the Adda….

This friendly Italian fellow even accompanied me to the river and advised about the best fishing spots. Once on the water, I realized with relief that the Mera did not only have a normal water level, but was also looking very promising, winding through relatively untouched and pleasing landscape….much less busy then the rather famous valley of the Adda.

I decided to start a bit further upstream, where a gravel path took me……..and: no, an offroad vehicle is not necessary here, a normal car would get there too…

Starting to fish not far below a bridge which crosses the Mera, I notice that I do not fish alone. At the same time, I am vividly reminded of the fact that I’m fishing in Italy. Where else in the world would someone, fly fishing and wading waist-deep, just NOT part with his mobile phone? (have closer look at the smaller picture…)…(-:

First success is a frisk brown trout, taken on a Moskito dry fly in the blazing midday sun….the fish was standing in a fast moving, oxygen rich stretch of the river….

After several rather unsuccessful attempts at the same stretch, I decide to change location to further upstream. On the way, one gets to appreciate the beautiful pre-alpine landscape…

This time, the offroad vehicle comes handy….the access to the river is 2 km far from the asphalt road (the one that winds up to ‘Spluegen-Pass’) through woods and meadows…

This stretch of the river, around 2 km downstream from the village of Chiavenna, looks promising. However, since I cannot detect any surface activity, I try the nymph on a 6 weight rod …….up till now having fished a 4 weight rod with the dry fly.

Turning up a big stone in the river, reveals colonies of sedge larvae.....

Unfortunately, a look into my nymph box confirms my suspicion: I do not have an exact imitation at hand. I guess it so happens when you’re a keen dry fly fisherman…..the ‘dry disease’ makes you optimize your dry fly arsenal, but neglect the wets and nymphs. I choose the nymph that might come close to the original somehow. The effort (to abandon the dry fly instead of the nymph) is rewarded by several rainbow trout that made the fast moving, rather shallow water their home. To reward the reward, fresh beer is already cooling in the stream…..

To sum it up, the Mera can provide a nice alternative to the well-known Adda. The river can be fished along the stretch from lago di Mazzola (just short before the lago di Como) and the village of Chiavenna. It is well stocked with both brown and rainbow trout, and there are two stretches, several km long, which are marked ‘fly only’….and: the pre-alpine landscape is just wonderful!