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  • La Palazzetta del Vescovo (The Bishop's Villa)
    Italy, Umbria
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  • Highlights of the Trip:
    A European Adventure with Something for Everyone:
    In response to an article in The Angling Report last year, several friends and I traveled to Umbria (Italy) in late September. The article was about Claudio Tagini of Western European Travel, who has built a successful business arranging custom fly fishing trips for Europeans wishing to experience the American West. He is now expanding into arranging trips for Americans wishing to combine fly fishing with the food, sights, history and culture of Europe. My group and I (fishers and non-fishers), had a wonderful five-day trip arranged by Claudio. The arrangements were absolutely first class. Claudio personally presided over every step to make sure everything was flawless. He was great company to boot. Claudio had us stay at La Palazzetta del Vescovo (, a terrific villa near Todi: a bishops summer residence built in 1737 and completely renovated to 5-star standards a year ago. It occupies a hilltop and overlooks an expansive valley planted in olive groves and vineyards. We took the whole place (8 double suites) and put ourselves in the warm, capable hands of the owners Stefano and Paula. We ate about half our meals there. The food was fantastic: antipasto lunches of vegetables, sausages, hams and cheeses; homemade pastas; freshly slaughtered lamb; and (given the season) truffles, truffles and more truffles. For each meal Stefano chose great local Umbrian wines; we brought a lot of labels home. With La Palazzetta as our base, we launched into various daily adventures. The fishermen in the group spent 3 days fishing two highly productive rivers (more on this later). When not fishing, we visited lovely medieval towns, viewed fabulous Renaissance art, went horseback riding, sat by the pool, went hiking and biking, had massages, took a cooking class and explored local shopping opportunities. It was also boar and bird hunting season. We could hear some of the shooting around us but time did not permit us to try it ourselves. There was a ton to do in addition to the fishing, and Claudio had written almost a book for us laying out choices, providing maps, recommending restaurants, giving us the history and highlighting the sights of note. Now to the fishing. We fished two rivers, the Tiber, a tail water fishery where the world fly tying competition was held last month, and the Nera, a spring creek. Both are loaded with fish up to 24. The first day we fished the Tiber, which holds predominantly brown trout and grayling. Water temperature was 48? F. This is a self-sustaining fishery with no stocked fish. The fish are incredibly sensitive to drag so we ended up using 18 foot leaders with 6 feet of 8x tippet. For the most part it was tiny dry flies. Hatches included blue winged olives, black caddis, tiny black stone flies and terrestrials. I caught 15-20 trout and 5-6 grayling on dry flies over the day. My trout ranged from 6 inches to 17, although much larger ones were visible. The grayling fell in the 8" 13" range. For the most part, we were casting to rising fish or fishing the water in likely looking spots. At the end of the day I had a frenzied last half hour with a streamer, catching a half dozen trout in the 15-18" range. Our guides were members of a local fishing club that controls the fishing rights to the river. (We had the whole 8 km stretch to ourselves.) They were good fishermen, and really nice people. They were generous with their flies and genuinely enthusiastic about helping us enjoy their river. They provided us all the equipment needed (their own), except waders. It was a terrific day and I would enthusiastically return given the chance. The other days we fished the Nera with the same guides. It is loaded with very large browns, all clearly visible in the gin clear spring creek. Water temperature was in the high 50s. This is heavily stocked by a hatchery right there on the river. But make no mistake, these fish see a lot of flies and are not
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