River Orco in Noasca (Italy) 


Here in Italy in most waters the official trout season begins the last Sunday of February. We are late in that respect but quite a lot of snow fell this year on the mountains where we are heading to. We have decided to pay a visit to the no kill zone in high course of the Orco river, in the village of Noasca.

We arrive at place quite late in the morning. We purchase the license at the Hotel Gran Paradiso, where we get confirmed that we are the first anglers of the year! At the local restaurant we enjoy a fantastic meal with polenta and wild-boar and after the "mandatory" espresso coffee, we are ready to start fishing. A bit late indeed but a shy sun shows up through the low clouds and let us hope for the best.

We are at 1062 m. above sea level and even if the temperature during the day is no longer below zero (Celsius), the landscape is really winter-like and to approach the river we have to wade through fields covered with 40 cm. of fresh snow.

The no-kill area lies at the feet of the national park Gran Paradiso that extends for over 710 km² around the G.Paradiso mountain (4061 m). The protected area hosts steinbock, chamois, marmot and endangered species like eagles. Moreover the once extincted bearded vulture (Gypaetus barbatus), the largest european bird, was reintrouduced successfully a few years ago.

The fish is here not easy to fool. Casts must be done from the distance, taking care to remain out of trout's sight and perception.

According to the tenant of the no kill area, the stocking of brown trout is done only with genetic material coming from this valley by squeezing adult female for eggs and male for seed. The hatchery is located a few kilometer downstream, trout fingerlings are are released into the water when they reach the size of 10-12 cm. (about 4-5 inches).

After catching several 20 cm. brown trout, all in perfect shape and with integer fins, a very nice trout, rises on the strike indicator :( At the second cast it takes the gray nymph. A very beatiful and strong fish that is carefully released back into its element.

At 3 PM the fish activity slows down. We still see some big ones in some deeper pools but they do not seem to be interested in feeding anymore. We fish yet a couple of more hours before giving up, looking forward to coming back in summer, when the big ones will be in the mood of rising on dry flies .. Info year 2015: The no kill permit can be purchased at the Hotel Gran Paradiso in the village of Noasca. Always check on the permit the exact borders of the reserve. Max 6 anglers. Recommended tackle 9-10 feet for 3 to 5 fly line