Canale Santa Susanna (Italy)
The Santa Susanna spring has a maximum water flow of 5500 liters per second and is among the largest in Europe. Today it feeds to two watercourses: the Santa Susanna river and the canal. The canal was built in the late 1920s as a countermeasure to frequent flooding. While the river flows into Lake Ripasottile after a few kilometers, the canal runs much farther and it is a tributary of the Velino river (this latter a beautiful chalk-stream).
It is on the banks of Santa Susanna river that St. Francis of Assisi would have been inspired to compose the Canticle of the Creatures. For the beauty of the landscape and the exceptional flow of water the spring was declared a natural monument in 1977.
The canal is located around 100 km north of Rome. It was dug in the sandstone and limestone rock and it has the same characteristics of a chalk stream, cold and crystal clear constant temperature water. The Canale Santa Susanna is a "NO KILL" reserve with a section for fly fishing and one for the spinning. In both cases the hook must be barbless.
The transparency of its waters and its chalk stream characteristics makes it perfect for fly fishing. The Italian national fishing license and an additional day pass, which can be purchased online, are required to fish in this water.
In the cold waters of the spring the three-spined stickleback is still present, while both brown trout and rainbow trout are found in the course of the river.
I had the opportunity to fish for the channel in the middle of July, torrid days with sunshine and temperatures above 30 degrees. Despite the heat, some trout feed on nymphss.
After fishing for an hour, I was badly in need of some shade. While drinking some water in the shelter of a tree, I spotted a monstrous trout, like three to four kilos. It hovered in the depth, twenty centimeters from the bottom and occasionally moved with rapid lateral swerves. No doubt that it was feeding on nymphs. After many attempts and changed flies, eventually a nymph on hook size 14 was able to wake up her interest. She swam up for half a meter in the direction of my fly and observed the nymph for a split-second that seemed to last forever. Then she sank and disappeared behind a group of algae.
Trout are like "graduated" here, likely they have seen all kind of patterns. Moreover, with the clear water they spot anglers from far away.
As the sun starts to go down, I hope to enjoy a good hatch.
I see three trout rising a couple of meters from the shore. There are small olive mayflies in the air. I mount a small Arpo in CDC on an 18 hook. On the second cast I catch what seemed to be the smallest of the group. I free her, her bigger mates seem to be alarmed now and stop rising.
While walking back to my car I still see two rising trout, but there is nothing to do. They seem to have a radar. When
I get within casting distance, they disappear.
The expected evening hatch does not seem to happen. Maybe next time.
The waterway, nestled in the rolling Umbrian hills, meandering between luxuriant poplars, with its color and its underwater landscapes makes you forget even the proximity of the road.
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