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Top Fishing Charters in Italy

Fishing in Italy

The fishing in Italy is as varied as the landscape of the country itself. Countless rivers, streams, and lakes are teeming with freshwater gamefish, while seas on all sides host angling opportunities of an entirely different category. Here you can witness some of the oldest traditional fishing methods in Europe, many of which are still used to catch Italy’s gamefish. From Bluefin Tuna to Trout, you can add sportfishing to the long list of traditions that this land is home to!

Known For

Saltwater

The Adriatic Sea

The main attraction on Italy’s east coast is Bluefin Tuna–which, funnily enough, is actually called Red Tuna in Italian (Tonno Rosso). Bluefins make their way from the Mediterranean Sea into the southern Adriatic in late spring. These fish reach the northern portion of the sea (from Venice to Porto San Giorgio) in early summer, where they stay until fall. Giant Bluefins are most abundant between July and September, but you can catch medium and small Bluefins throughout much of the year. In late fall, the southern Adriatic gets a second wave of big Bluefin Tuna as they return to the Mediterranean.

The Tyrrhenian Sea

Italy’s west coast faces the Tyrrhenian Sea, where the water is deeper and the seafloor is rockier than in the Adriatic. Here, Bluefin Tuna fishing keeps anglers busy from May through October, as large specimens pass through the Sicilian and Sardinian channels. The Bluefins in these waters (sometimes referred to locally as “big reds”) are smaller than the ones you’ll find in the Adriatic. Many of the best Tuna fishing spots on this side of the country can be found along the 60 fathom curve, anywhere from 10-40 miles out.

The Big Islands

Fishing off the coasts of Sicily, Sardinia, and smaller islands in the south is all about Longbill Spearfish, Broadbill Swordfish, and Bluefin Tuna. Meanwhile, surfcasting from the rocky shores of the islands could bring you a wide variety of fish such as Barracuda, Bonito, Bluefish, Jacks, Snapper, Drum, Seabass, Rays, and even Sharks.

Anglers in Italy also hook into Albacore Tuna, Mahi Mahi, Swordfish, Mackerel, Seabass, and Sharks on a regular basis. It’s common to catch these species during the off-season or as bycatch while targeting Bluefins. While the height of Italy’s big game fishing comes and goes, you’ll find good action closer to shore year-round. A little light tackle trolling and bottom fishing nearshore will bring you Amberjack, Garrick, Seabass, Dentex, John Dory, Bream, and Grouper.

Freshwater

For all the coastline you can explore here, there may be just as many miles of rivers and streams. Popular game fish include Trout (Lake, Brown, and Rainbow), Grayling, Whitefish, Pike, Perch, Carp, Catfish, Chub, Bream, Wels, and Barbel, among others. Freshwater fishing in Italy varies depending on the region you’re in, and the opportunities are far too many to count. Here are some highlights to look forward to if you find yourself in the area:

Northern Italy

Naviglio Langosco reservoir and Lake Maggiore are some of northern Italy’s finest fisheries, while the Po Basin hosts Europe’s largest population of Chub and Wels. Anglers catch fish well over 150 lbs when fishing in waters of the Po Basin during summer. Productive rivers in northern Italy include the Po, Ticino, Adige, Tagliamento, Brenta, and Sarca–to name just a few. These waters have good fishing for Trout and Grayling between March and September. Carp and Chub fishing stays consistent all year, with a peak in summer.

Central Italy

Tuscany and Emilia-Romagna are the source of long-established fishing traditions, and this comes as no surprise once you experience the freshwater fishing in central Italy! Rivers such as the Tevere, Sieve, Tronto, Secchia, Arno, and Ombrone are teeming with Trout, Pike, and Chub. You calso make the most of lakes Trasimeno, Bolsena, Corbara, Chiusi, Massaciuccoli, and more using the traditional methods developed in these waters.

Southern Italy

A few of the most significant fishing rivers in southern Italy are the Sangro, Liri, Biferno, Volturno, and Sele. These waters hold Brown Trout, Perch, Pike, Chub, Barbel, and much more. On the islands of Sicily and Sardinia, you’ll find small streams and lakes with Chub and Brown Trout.

Need to Know

Regulations

Recreational anglers do not need to buy a fishing license when fishing in saltwater. A license is required for freshwater fishing, however, and you may need to pay a fee to fish (depending on the location). Freshwater anglers must purchase an annual fishing license from the Federazione Italiana della Pesca Sportiva e Attività Subacquee. Fishing regulations vary by region, so be sure to hire a guide or ask local anglers about the rules before you cast a line!

Budget

Fishing charters in Italy vary widely in price, depending on the area you’re in and the quality of the boat. Nearshore trips last anywhere from 4-8 hours and cost between €250-550, depending on the charter operator.

Prices for big game fishing trips depend largely on the area you’re fishing out of and how quickly you’ll reach deep water. The farther you are from the deep sea fishing grounds, the more expensive the trip will be in order to account for fuel costs. Trips which last 6 or 7 hours cost around €800, while longer trips cost anywhere from €500-1,250.

Italian Fishing Techniques

Casting lures and flies will help you catch just about anything in Italy’s lakes and rivers. “Ledgering” is often used to catch coarse fish, a method which involves bottom fishing with bait rigs and no floats. Bolognese is another method favored by freshwater fishermen here, which involves fishing a float at depths of up to 28’.

Saltwater anglers mainly rely on trolling, drift fishing, and bottom fishing. It’s common to target Bluefin Tuna here by drifting, or by trolling with small feather jigs. Anglers target Swordfish year-round by drift fishing at night; some also target Swordfish by sight fishing during the day, which is only possible in spring when these fish spawn.

Spend a little time fishing in Italy, and you’ll soon discover this sport is about much more than the fish themselves. Learning the local techniques and traditions is a large part of the adventure, and you may even find yourself trying some of them in your own fishing hole back home!

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Italy Fishing Seasons

You won’t have the chance to experience much of Italy’s big game fishing in January, but you can bring home a full cooler after a few hours of nearshore trolling and bottom fishing.

You can bring home a decent haul in February, when you’re likely to catch Amberjack, Grouper, Bonito, Conger Eel, and more.

The fishing offshore is starting to pick up momentum, as Bluefin Tuna make their way toward the southern Adriatic. Amberjack, Bonito, and False Albacore are at their peak. 

In southern Italy, anglers are hooking into big, bad Bluefin Tuna! You can also try trolling 10-30 miles offshore for Spearfish to mix things up a little.  

By may, some Bluefins have already reached the northern Adriatic, while those in the southern part of the sea are at their peak. The annual Bluefin harvest (Mattanza) will soon take place in Sardinia.

Bluefins are at their peak in the northern Adriatic. Thresher Sharks, Spearfish, Dentex, and more are in the cards at this time of year. Summer is also a good time for shore angling. 

Italy’s deep sea fishing is the best it’s been all year! Haven’t found your sea legs yet? Try drifting and trolling with live baits close to shore for Amberjack, Dentex, Grouper, Bluefish, and Garrick.

Fishing offshore will fetch you anything from Bluefin and Albacore Tuna to Mahi Mahi, Spearfish, and Swordfish. Freshwater anglers are hooking into Carp, Catfish, Trout, and more.

Come early autumn, many Bluefin Tuna start leaving the northern Adriatic. Bluefin fishing will be fantastic in southern Italy for several months more. Freshwater fishing is still at its height.

Whether you’re one for fly fishing in the lakes and rivers or a hardcore deep sea angler, Italy is sure to deliver! Many big game fish are at their peak in October, as are Carp, Catfish, and other freshwater fish.

Bluefin beginning leaving the central Adriatic in late fall as they head back to the Mediterranean Sea. Spearfish and Swordfish will continue biting through the off-season.

With the height of Italy’s deep sea fishing behind you, December can be a great time to see what’s biting in the estuaries. You can catch Chub, Garrick, Dentex, Seabass, Bream, and more.

Italy Fishing Calendar

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Top Targeted Species in Italy

Amberjack

Tuna (Bluefin)

Dolphin (Mahi Mahi)

Dentex

Top Italy Destinations