River Piave (Italy)
E.F.A. meets P.I.P.A.M. on the river Piave. After years of talking about it, eventually we managed to meet us and fish together the higher part of the river. The web master of the most famous italian fly fishing site, expert and appraiser of this beatiful stream, has introduced me to two well known C&R Dolomite stretches in the northern east of Italy.
The Piave has its source in the Carnian Alps, in the municipality of Sappada at 2037 m. asl and it flows into the Adriatic Sea northeast of Venice. Famous as the last line of resistance of the Italian army during World War I, it is today a river with wonderful C&R and no kill stretches. The karst bedrock characterizes the waters with a beautiful turquoise color.
Our first day is devoted to the reserve of St. Stephen. The reserve lies at about 800 meters asl, framed by a dolomite alpine landscape.
The use of big sunken nymph or big dry fly attractors brings excellent results. We start catching trout of 25 to 30 cm. almost anywhere, the fish is wild and healthy, no sign of broken fins. The brown trout here is the queen.
Near large rocks that form deep holes, we catch two nice trout about 40 cm. that impress for the great fighting.
At the edge of a old brocken wall that forms deep burrows we catch some other nice trout, then the WM breaks the leader on something big that we do not manage to see.
When the sun starts to come off, it comes the time to look for a nice pool and get ready for the coup de soir. The surface activity becomes frenetic, the deer-hair Sedge returns a trout every cast.
The second day is dedicated to the C&R of Perarolo. We are at about 500 m. above sea level. Brown trout and Grayling dwell here, in size often up to 50 and more cm.
The first pool welcomes us with a beautiful emerald green colour. Some rings are visible but they are sporadic rises of suspicious and ultra-selective fish. It takes the first casts to catch a nice brown trout on a weighted nymph.
The fish is there, we can see it stationing deep in the current but not moving, there is no much activity yet. We start losing the count of the flies that we have been changing .
Lot of attention is to be paid: I manage to spook a 50 cm. brownie in front of the rock with the weed on top, in the picture above. There are other nice trout with beatiful colors that get active on heavy nymphs.
The clouds cover the sun but when the sky clears up, the sun multiplies our underwater visibility and we spot big grayling in a current. After a few attempts, the WM picks up the right nymph and with a masterly action he bends rod on a huge grayling.
The grayling's body is taller than the palm of one hand and his length trespasses the tag of 50 cm. in the landing net: a wonderful fish that is put back into water with all the precautions.
It's time to find a pool before sunset. At 20:00 (we are in summer and there will be light until after the 21:30) a massive surface activity begins. The fish rise almost everywhere, we see silhouettes of 60 cm grab emerging small Baetis. The fish is ultra-selective and no sedge seem to interest them, trout and grayling are only feeding on small olive gray mayflies. And in fact we have success on small imitation of Baetis in hook size 18. A phantastic evening, with no doubt the best coup de soir of my 2010 season, I can only think of "Arriverderci Piave".
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