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Ultimate Guide to Fishing in Italy

Italy is in a country that spans 116,350 square miles and is located in south-central Europe. It is a country that is surrounded by water so you will never run out of places to fish. Italy offers abundant fishing opportunities in salt and freshwater fishing with over two million people taking part in fishing each year. In Italy, there are many mountain streams, lakes, and rivers from which to fish too. Italy is the best-kept secret in fishing although, since the dawn of time, recreational fishing has been deeply rooted in Italian culture. You will find them fishing along the beach and in the smallest streams year-round because Italians love to eat fish. When you fish in Italy you can fish for carp, pike, trout, perch, and a variety of other species.

Where to Go Fishing in Italy

Sicily

This is the largest Mediterranean island and great for fishing due to it being surrounded by many smaller islands that attract the game fish. Bluefin tuna can be found off the coasts of the Egadi Islands, the Aeolian Islands, and Palermo. You can find swordfish in May and July and they can be found submerged in the Sea Mountains and near canyons. In the reefs, you can also find groupers and amberjacks. 

Piemone, Emilia Romagna, Lombardia

There are a lot of excellent fishing spots in the north of Italy. The biggest river, The Po, you can catch big carps and giant catfish. You will also find in Lake Como freshwater fish like sanders, perches, and pikes. Lake Como is the third largest lake in Italy.

Tuscany

Tuscany is mostly thought of as amazing food and wine and historic towns. It is also a popular area for fishing for grayling and trout in the Sieve and Lima Rivers. If you want to experience deep sea fishing, the Tuscan archipelago offers you barracuda, sea bass, grouper, Bluefin tuna, and swordfish.

LeMarche

This is on the East coast of Italy and is perfect for fishing. The lakes Sefro, Cingoli, and Pioraco is where you can find trout, perch, pike, crucian carp, chuc, carp, and rudd. In addition to the great lakes, there is also the Adriatic coast where you can find red and grey mullets, bream and bass, and sardines.

Sardinia

Sardinia along with Sicily is some of the best places for fishing. The Tyrrhenian Sea’s deep waters are home to the Snapper, Amberjack, Bluefish tuna, Garrick, Dented, and Grouper. The most popular fish that is found in the Sardinian water is the Bluefin Tuna, which can reach 3.7 meters. The Bluefish tuna starts to appear at the beginning of May and stay around until late October. The best way to land this fish that can weigh over 650 kilograms is by trolling with baits like sardines, squid, or other small fish.

Learn more about Italy fishing in paradise.

Regulations for Fishing in Italy

Fishing Licenses

Fishing anywhere on the mainland of Italy is required to have a license. If you are caught fishing without one, it can cost you a fine of 80 to 140 Euros. You can pick up your fishing license from the regional post offices. For freshwater fishing, you have to be a member of the Federazione Italiana della Pesca Sportiva Attivita Subacqua. 

If you are fishing at private ponds, you will not need a license but you will have to either pay for what you catch according to weight and size or pay a fee to fish. The fee is paid to the pond owner. You do not have to have a license for sea fishing. You can hire your own boat or join a deep-sea fishing excursion.

If you are a foreign citizen, you have to apply for a tax identification number before you can purchase a license. If you are hiring a guide, the guide will make sure that they take care of the permits and licenses.

General Regulations

Although spear fishing is popular and legal in many places, regulations forbid the use of nets and scuba tanks for fishing underwater. You can only do underwater fishing in daylight. Most areas have a limit of no more than 11 pounds of shellfish and fish you can catch each day. Freshwater fishing is locally regulated so the rules for fishing will vary by region. 

Fly Fishing in Italy

Italy is fast becoming one of Europe’s fly fishing destinations. Many are starting to discover the hidden emerald streams between the shady groves and Tuscan Hills as Italy has just recently loosened its regulations on fly-fishing. When you go fly fishing you will find these streams loaded with pike and bass. For most areas, the law will allow fishing one hour before sunrise and one hour after sunset. Many are self-governed communities so they each have their own restrictions.

  • Sieve River — this river is located 40 minutes from Florence and the river is a tributary of Amo. It opened for fishing with a stock of brown trout in 2006. It is a popular place for fly-fishing from early April to late October and is one of the best summer streams. 
  • Tevere River — this river runs from Rome to Apennines and is full of Apennine brown trout and European graying. From May-December, fishermen enjoy wading across the shallow pebbled riverbeds. It is a catch-and-release only river and is one of the most classic fishing rivers in Italy. The size of the trout can be up to 20 centimeters.
  • Lima River — this river has a large population of brown trout and is the go-to river for fly-fishing. Fishing here is popular for early morning and early evening fishing with clear waters. The fish range from six to 14 inches.
  • Nera River — this is a rushing stream with a selection of heavier catches like brown trout. The water here is clearer so it is easier to spot the trout. Wading here is a bit trickier as the bottom is uneven and the water is moving faster. The prime season is May when the trout rise to feed on mayflies. They can reach sizes of six to seven pounds.
  • Scoltenna River — here you can find big Alpine trout between the deep pockets. For intermediate to advanced fly-fishermen, this rock-strewn river is perfect due to the deep holes and large boulders. All of this can make wading difficult.

Italy Fishing Seasons

Saltwater Fish Species

  • Bluefin tuna — these are around all year but a prime target early fall and all summer
  • Mahi Mahi — they are around all year but slow in the winter with there is a better chance to catch them July-October
  • Mackerel — summer and fall
  • Dentex — their bite warms up in the spring but is mainly caught in the summer. In the fall is when they start to cool down
  • Spearfish — May-November
  • False Albacore — they like the moderate temperatures so are a good catch in the spring and fall
  • Albacore tuna — fall but can find them at other times of the year
  • Bonito, Blue Sharks, Thresher Sharks — around late spring, early summer
  • Amberjack and Swordfish — they can be caught year-round but winter is the best time

Freshwater Fish Species

  • Trout — March–September but in some areas they may bite through December. According to the water temperature in the location, the best months will vary
  • Carp — April through November

Baits, Lures, and Tackle for Fishing in Italy

For fly-fishing, most prefer to use terrestrials and dry flies. When fly fishing, the fisherman uses artificial fly. The fisherman cast a hook that has bits of feather, yarn, foam, fur, or similar material instead of other bait like worms. When using dry flies, you will cast it so that it will float on the water. As the fly passes over the fish, the fisherman hopes that the fish will rise out of the water and bite at the fly, getting hooked. It also depends on where you are fishing and the fish you are trying to catch what bait, lures, and tackle you can use.

Conclusion

As mentioned, most people who visit Italy go for great food and wine, and other sites but there is also some great fishing. You do need a fishing license and can go on your own to find that special spot to catch fish. You can also hire a guide, letting them take care of all the licenses and permits needed. If you do not want to keep the fish, there are many places where they have a catch-and-release program. 

Going fishing is a great way to relax after doing a day of sightseeing. Italy has many different regions to explore for fishing. You can hook up with a charter or fishing guide if you are not sure where to go fishing. There is something for everyone, whether it is fly fishing or traditional fishing. Many freshwater fishing locations are private so make sure that you speak to a local so you can get the proper permits to fish and help you find where you are going. 

Enjoy your trip to Italy and make sure that you get some time for some great fishing.

Be sure to check out our Ultimate Guide to Fishing in Las Vegas