Fishing The Coasts And Inland Waters Of Italy

Off on a whirlwind fishing adventure!

Last September, my first-mate Vicki and I took off on a whirlwind fishing vacation to explore the waters of Italy. We started in Venice, where other than the shoe leather express, the only way to get around is by boat. To my knowledge, Venice is the only place on earth where unique modes of water transportation play out in day-to-day living.

Fishing in the Adriatic Sea

The Adriatic Sea plays host to yachts, cruisers, pleasure and fishing boats. The Riva de Biasio (The Grand Canal), Venice’s main thoroughfare, is busy with all types boats, like taxis, police, garbage, ambulances and construction cranes, which all share the canal in relative peace. Fishermen line the canals with long poles, catching what look like small baitfish for dinner.

Fishing in Tuscany

Tuscany, in central Italy, was our second stop, where we hired fly fishing guide, Gianlucca Orselli, of Florence. Gianlucca was one of four terrific guides from a local fly shop in Florence. He grew up fishing the Arno River, which runs through the middle of Florence, but suggested we fish the Lima River, close to the towns of Lucca and Pisa.

During a 90-minute drive to the river, we saw the old castle walls of Lucca and other historical sites we would not have seen without the drive. Once in the mountains, the views were as picturesque as those of northeast Georgia. The river and its feeder creek were comparable to places we’ve fished in Colorado, Idaho and Wyoming.

We worked hard to catch rainbows and browns. Unfortunately, the fishing was not as productive as we had hoped, but it was no different than some days I’ve spent on rivers in the U.S. There are a lot of trout and char streams in Italy to consider, but we would not trade our experience of being together in this lovely setting.

Fishing in the Italian Riviera

Our third stop, the Italian Riviera, is where Vicki and I left part of our hearts. The Cinque Terre is part of an Italian National Forest located in northwestern Italy on the Liquarian Sea. The rugged coastline is incredibly beautiful. Five villages are built on mountain ledges, with steps up to each cliff-side dwelling. Fishing and boating are “old world,” existing only for locals who make their livelihoods on the sea. A limited number of recreational fishermen on small vessels were seen close to shore or sitting on the rock ledges catching small fish on sabiki-like rigs.

We chose the quaint town of Vernazza as a base and stayed for three nights. I rented a 20-foot boat for two days to explore the waters. There were reports of yellowfin tuna swimming the rocks as close as 300 yards offshore, but all we could do was wish for adequate equipment and bait, as there were no tackle shops. Next time we will take our own.

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By Capt. Terry Fisher

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