perjantai 9. tammikuuta 2015

Alpine cyprinids

End of September 2014, northern Italy. Me and my girlfriend had been planning a little road trip around northern Italy and some other Alp countries. Of course I made sure that our accommodations were situated by or at least near some kind of fishing possibilities.
A real fishermans dream car. Powerful, spacious etc.

We flew to a city of Bergamo, rented a nice little Fiat 500 and drove couple of hundred kilometers to the village of Dolo. Next day we took a bus to the Venice. They say that you have to see Venice at least once in your lifetime. Well now I have seen it. Yes, it was different and kind of interesting but same time way too crowded for me even in late September. On the other hand it would be handy to fish straight from your window….
How about fishing from your window?

Ok, let’s get back to fishing. On the second morning it was time to add Italy to my list of the countries I’ve been fishing at. There was about 50 meters from our hotel door to the river bank. It was a nice little river with a quite clear water and moderate flow.

Once again I started with my four meter travel whip rod and it didn’t take long when I was holding my first Italian (or should I say North American) fish. It was a Pumpkinseed. There was some small bleak like fish swimming on the surface and I wanted to catch few of them so I took my one meter whip with a tanago hook and caught a few. There it was, my first new species of the trip, Alburnus arborella. I also caught one little cyprinid which I haven’t identified yet. I think it’s a juvenile rudd, but is it European or Italian version….somebody could tell me that.
Italian bleak (Alburnus arborella).
Would it be juvenile Rudd?

After mini species hunt I set up my bottom rig too. First I caught couple of Ruffe and Roach then came the second north American species I’ve caught earlier. Largemouth bass was very welcomed species indeed cause I didn’t have decent picture of it earlier. I caught one more Ruffe and a small Bass before it was time to us check out from our hotel and head north to the Lake Garda.
A bad ass bass.
The view from my fishing spot at Lake Garda.

We spent only one night at Lake Garda and of course I headed to the shore early at morning. There was lots of fish surfacing at the lake and I also saw few nice fish cruising by the shore line. I’m pretty sure the fish I saw were carp and maybe there was one tench too. My catch though was not so good. Only couple of European perch and few Sunfish. I thought they were Pumpkinseeds but if you disagree please let me know….here they are:
Sunfish 1

Sunfish 2

Sunfish 3

Later that day we crossed the border of Austria and spend the night at a traditional alpine house located in a small alpine village. There was nothing to fish for but a small river which was unfishable due the heavy rains day before.
Landhaus Walch. This was really nice and reasonable priced accommodation.

Next day was dedicated to “collecting” countries when we drove from Austria to Switzerland, made a quick stop at Liechtenstein and whizzed through Switzerland back to Italy. Our next hotel was situated by the lake of Como. After a short walk round the village and a delicious pizza at our hotels pizzeria it was time to get some sleep and getting ready for the mornings fishing.
Lago di Como.

Once again I sneaked out when it was still dark outside. I started my fishing by lurking with a small mormuska between the shore rocks. It didn’t take long when I landed a small wiggly fish. It was a Freshwater blenny and a new species for me. When the sun rised I saw there was lots of fish under the concrete stairs I was fishing by. The only problem was the fish were really cautious and I managed to catch only few of them. Luckily there was two more new species among the fish I caught. These two were a Danube roach and an Vairone. 
Freshwater blenny (Salaria fluviatilis).

Danube roach (Rutilus pigus). This species is NOT living in the Danube river.

Vairone (Telestes souffia).

At the afternoon I made the second attack of the day. This time the fishing was even more difficult but I still caught one Perch, one more Vairone, couple of Rudd (they might be even Italian rudd which would be new species for me) and last but not least a small cyprinid which turned out to be Italian nase and a new species.
My swim. Most of the fish were hiding under the concrete.

I had decided that next morning I will focus on catching one of the bigger fish I had seen cruising on the surface. I threw some freebies to the lake and waited for the fish to come. They were swimming in a small groups of two to four fish and were eating my offering every once and then. But when I casted out my crystal waggler float they vanished right away. I concluded that my only option was to fish with a freeline methods. It was really hard to cast the hook and a small piece of bread far enough but when the fish arrived again I gave it a go. I casted my bait few meters ahead of one of the fish and it dashed for it immediately and hoovered it in….the fight was on and soon I landed a nice looking fish a bit short of 1,3 kilos.
You can almost read from my face how happy I was...

Because we were on a road trip it was time to leave again. Our next destination was Lake Maggiore but on the way we made a quick visit to Lugano, Switzerland. It’s a really nice looking city with a magnificent surrounding. Among the fish species I’m also collecting countries visited and fished. There was a nice underground river flowing in to Lake Lugano right at the end of the city promenade. So I just had to smuggle my icefishing rod and box of worms to the shore. The place was full of fish. At least hundreds of Roach and Perch were gathered to the rivers end. It took about ten seconds to add a country when I caught my first Swiss fish. Soon after that we hopped to our Fiat again and rushed back to Italy.
My first Swiss fish. Sorry about the bad picture.

I got up before sun again and made a short walk to the nearby marina. There was really nice looking rocky shoreline so I started to lurk between the rocks. First I caught couple of Freshwater blennies but then there was something different hanging on my line. It was a Padanian goby yet a new species for me. During the morning I caught several blennies, gobies and Perch more before we headed to the lake by the kayaks we rented.

Padanian goby (Padogobius bonelli).

29th of September I made my last fishing attack of our road trip. My destination was the mighty River Ticino at Somma Lombardo. My target here was Rhodeus amarus which I saw night before when we were relaxing by the river with dozens of local people. I started at dawn and caught two Padanian gobies right away. Rest of the morning was really quiet. Absolutely no sign of Rhodeus amarus and all the other fish had almost no interest about my baits. I caught only two small Perch and one juvenile Italian chub and a new species for me.

After all it was nice trip. 1600 kilometers in ten days. Four lakes, two rivers and two new countries fished and at least seven new species was much more I expected.

I want to thank Dr. Porcellotti from He has been a great help with identifying the species I caught from Italy.