The season goes on and I start feeling more confident with my abilities. Thanks to Stefano and the SIM school I started to wander out on my own.
The guiding with Stefano was going well, we would head out each weekend with a guest. I would be quiet until needed for translation, and learnt about the experiences of our steady flow of American and English guests. Most really new their stuff, and loved what Stefano was offering. It was awesome.
But I was starting to fish less and I was just taking photos and translating. These guests would tell me about where they fished, about the techniques they used at home, bobbers, check nymph, drift boats on these giant rivers, all cool techniques that I was curious about.
All the other ways of catching fish with a fly rod for example, I started experimenting tying small weighted patterns, little leach and minnow micro whet flies and nymphs to cast with my three inch rod. My reasoning was to go to small stock lakes, practice with my new flies, if they work then I would take them on the river. I was never really any good at stock fish, for some reason I found them really hard. I was more comfortable on the river. So naturally I pushed myself to learn this new water, as I would with any lake or river.
One day on a stock lake, here I am trying to outsmart a trout with a little leach. I had discovered that stationary trout on the surface sunbathing would often react aggressively to my little leach if I slapped it down close to them.
Anyway, there was I trying to outsmart this trout and I notice another bloke on the lake also fly fishing. To be clear fly fishing on a stock lake, in Italy at least in the area I was, is rare. Only a few fly anglers would come, I spoke to most of them and some preferred stock lake fishing, others came because the river was too high, mucky, or unfishable. Others like me to test their skills and flies.
I spot this guy who just seems to nail every single fish and release them without even touching the fish really quickly. He looked like he really new his mustard. I just kept fishing. I noticed he was almost stalking his way round the lake spotting fish. So i decided to stay put he would probably make his way round and have a chat.
Naturally he did. We got talking, His name was Walter and he just talked my ear off! It was awesome, he had a bigger rod, told me he was using a sinking line! What is a sinking line? wtf? I had no idea that was a thing, he was using a streamer, he told me it was a zonker.
He started talking about this whole other world of fly fishing with streamers. Nymphing all these things I had never heard off. I had only every dry fly fished, I already thought my weighted leach was a revolution in my fly fishing world. Then I saw his setup.
Yeah, we kicked it off big time. I mean big time. When I wasn't high in the alps with Stefano. I was on the big Adda River with Walter. With Walter it was everyday a new spot. a new technique my mind started to expand. We would stalk, nymph, streamer, do whatever it took to land the fish. At this point I was literrally fishing every day. He loves to talk and we covered all aspects of fly fishing. He told me we can catch Perch, Zander, Pike, so many different species a new world of fly fishing was opening up to me.
Naturally Walter became a really good friend and another teacher for me to learn from. He was very different to Stefano but I loved both experiences, they were so different. As Stefano kept a fish or two, Walter would always release the fish. He had a philosophy of catch and release every fish, he showed me how to be more gentle with the fish. And introduced me to bigger landing nets.
As I started fishing the lower valley with him, I started landing bigger fish. The game changed. For Walter, every weather condition had an opportunity, each water had its assets. Walter introduced me to different species of trout.
He taught me about fish stocking on the river, lake trout that made their way up the Adda river to lay eggs. Hybrids, graylings, and finally introduced me to the mighty Marble trout. The King of our waters. He had a deep deep knowledge of the big rivers, the Alpine lakes, and pocket waters where not his thing. That was Stefano's area of experties.