Just to keep you in the loop, in the last blog I discovered my first Alpine lake. Stefano took me there to fish and cook up some delicious mountain trout before making our way home in the evening. If you haven't read that yet check it out here.
Between the last trip and this one I have visited a few more waters and learned a little bit more about the idea of dry fly fishing in general.
5am the alarm goes off and I am already awake. Today is my next adventure with Stefano. I would usually have a coffee and mope around for an hour before I get my arse into gear but today is fishing day.
What's more I have no idea where we are heading.
I pack my bag in the morning. A thing that over the years I have learned to do the night before. I get in the car without a coffee and set off up the lake towards the mountains. I have learned it's more comfortable to meet Stefano in a bar just before heading into the Alps so we can have a cappuccino and brioche for breakfast, while buying our panini’s for lunch.
We have our breakfast and Stefano fills me in on the day. We are going to be dry fly fishing a small pocket water. I have a cheap rod that I have picked up with a small three reel. No flies, no idea how to prep a leader, or backing..... I don't know that my setup is a mess but i don't care i just want to fish. I will learn on the job.
We get in the car and start heading up the mountain and this point Stefano starts to tell me about the valley. It’s a beautiful sunny day and the mountains pierce through the land like jagged spikes, they look so steep I find it amazing that plants can grow on their sides.
I start to notice some giant boulders in the middle of small fields and i mean massive! I ask Stefano about them and he tells me the harrowing story of the valley.
Every so often there are giant land slides in this valley huge parts of mountainside break off closing off roads and putting lives in danger. This started to make sense to me as the mountains where so steep. He then goes on to tell me that the river we are fishing is constantly changing because of this.
We park up, hop out of the car and I'm buzzing. i can here the river but cant see it. We park up in a small mountain village parking area. Stefano gets out and starts filling up his water bottle at a small fountain. I notice all the houses look empty but i don't pay attention to it, I am more interested in fishing and the fresh water fountain that Stefano is filling up water. He tells me it’s the best water in the valley. Naturally i want to taste the water and I have to agree it was superb so i fill up my bottle too.
We get our gear ready and Stefano shows me some flies. A march brown, a small ant pattern, some terrestrials and he tells me it's the right time to be using these. I still don't understand how he knows this but i go along with it.
Geared up we descend into a little valley. He stays hidden as he explains how skitty the fish are here. If they see you, forget it you are done. I cant help but once again notice the massive boulders that the river meanders its way through.
The whole scene is an explosion of colours. The boulders i believe are full of iron and give off a lovely red colour. The water is crystal clear, deep blues and greens reflect off the red rocks, something you would expect in a perfectly kept aquarium. But here formed by nature.
We get to the water front. Sneaking our way up, hiding behind rocks staying low. This whole experience is awesome. I watch as he casts out from behind rocks and waits hoping to see the fish rise to his fly from behind the rock. He can barely see the fly as he is so far behind the rock I get the feeling he is listening for the fish to strike rather than spot it. Plop, fish on! How dd he even see that!
He lets me go ahead and follows behind, giving me pointers along the way, showing me how to climb the giant boulders without being spotted.
Again I am not so lucky with the catching but I am having a whole lot of fun. There are so many deep pools that form here and he shows me how to spot fish under these rocks, patience, slow movements, blending in are the name of the game here.
We get to a part of the river where the steep climbs off the boulders shallow out. An old bridge over our heads connects one side of the valley with the village opposite. I notice some old buildings and a steep smooth slope without any trees growing just a few bushes and marmots whistling.
We eventually reach a section of the river where the boulders level out. The river widens and the boulders become difficult to hide behind but bushes and trees take their place for our stalking.
Stefano explains the beat to me and how to achieve success on it. So here we go I start. It's hard to get the fly far enough to convince a fish its safe to take but eventually, I get a fish rise, i set, i lose it.
Wow ok I have to be a lot quicker. I keep going. Fish rise to my fly, I set, I miss again!!!!! Stefano whispers from two boulders and a bush behind, set quicker! I keep his words in mind and the next fish I catch! Wow this is cool. A tiny brown trout. My first trout on a fly. Wicked!
She has beautiful fins that are perfectly formed, dark and light brown glitter down her back, camouflaging her between the boulders, bright yellows on her belly bounce light and colours all over the place. I would never have caught this fish if it wasn't for Stefano's help.
Eventually we reach the end of the beat and there is a little picnic spot to have lunch nearby. He tells me what i can improve, what i did well and what i did wrong. I listen intently as he gives me these awesome pointers.
Then he looks over to the other side of the bridge, he tells me about the history of the village:
"Years ago this little village was a thriving community, until a giant landslide hit and a large portion of the mountain came down. There were twice as many houses on the other side of the bridge and they all ended up under the slide killing a lot of people. All that’s left are those few stone house you see. Its very sad but all of this contributes to the beautiful scenery and unique history that we have the pleasure to fish in.”
I took a lot home from that day. It soon became one of my favourite spots to fish.