Fly Fishing the fascinating Misurina, Pearl of Cadore!

Text by Bruno Generali

Photo by Stefano Trevisiol & Stefano D’Aluisi.

In the heart of the Cadore Dolomites, Lake Misurina is one of the largest natural basins in the Dolomites. One of the most beautiful Alpine lakes in Italy.

Fly fishing around Lake Misurina means admiring its mountains, observing the majestic peaks and their reflections in the lake. But also knowing its history and legend.

Lake Misurina is located at 1756 meters above sea level.

There are particular climatic features that distinguish this area. Undoubtedly, Misurina is one of the places where the air is cleanest in the world. The air is so pure that it is ideal for the treatment and rehabilitation of respiratory diseases. In this location, since ancient times, some respiratory diseases have been treated. This is thanks to the purity of the mountain air and the contact with nature.

The lake has flora and fauna of great naturalistic interest. In addition, there are always some nice aquatic birds present, including various species of ducks, sometimes with their little ducklings. From the legendary Lake Misurina, also called the Pearl of Cadore, an interesting watercourse is born. It develops for about thirty kilometres through the surrounding forests, gradually changing its characteristics.

Due to the crystal clear waters and suspicious trout it is necessary to approach the fishing spots very carefully.

Among all the legends that tell the stories of the Dolomites, that of Lake Misurina is probably the best known and most evocative.

The name Misurina seems to derive from the dialect expression “meso ai rin”. In Italian literally means “in the middle of the streams”.

Legend tells of a very spoiled little girl, named Misurina, little daughter of ancient King Sorapis. The name of the king is the same as an important mountain group in the area. The king governed the surrounding lands between the Tofane peaks, the Marmolada, the Antelao and the Tre Cime di Lavaredo. He definitely adored his little girl, in fact he tried to satisfy her every odd whim.

One day the little girl learned that a fairy owned a weird magic mirror capable of reading the thoughts of anyone who looked in it. The little girl wanted this mirror at all costs and she insisted until her father, tired of her, took her to the fairy’s house on Mount Cristallo. The fairy had understood that the little girl was extremely spoiled, so she didn’t want to please her.

But, after her father’s strong insistence she decided to impose a very harsh condition before separating from her mirror. The fairy told King Sorapis she would give him the mirror only if he transformed into a mountain, in order to protect her beautiful garden from the beating sun, which made her flowers wither prematurely. The king, despite her, accepted and, just as he was handing the mirror to her daughter, it began to transform, becoming a gigantic mountain.

Little Misurina, sitting on her father’s lap, realised she was on the edge of a precipice and, struck by her dizziness, she fell disastrously. Following, the sad father, now gigantic, mourned the dramatic death of his minute daughter with giant tears that collected in two shiny streams, giving life to legenday Lake Misurina.

Breathtaking views, pure air, harmony with nature, fly fishing in the middle of nowhere, represent the perfect situation to find yourself at peace with your soul.

Enchanted forests and boundless prairies with ancient origins are places and landscapes that can become real states of mind.

Wildlife in Misurina

Wild brown trout and alpine char populate the crystal clear waters of the Lake Misurina and surrounding creeks. The lake has an average depth of between four and five metres. Few depper pools can reach up to eight meters. Fishing at high altitude is possible starting from the month of May, after a long period in which the surface is frozen, until October. It is not uncommon to encounter grazing cows, wild horses and other forest animals in the meadows near Lake Misurina.

The Dolomites are famous not only for their scenic beauty, but also for their biological diversity. This wonderful mountain environment is home to a varied fauna, which includes numerous easily recognisable animals, such as deer and chamois. But also the ibex, the marmot, the fox, the badger, the marten and the ermine. In humid environments it is very easy to encounter amphibians such as the fire salamander, with its typical black-yellow colour, and the alpine newt.

Light tackle, very accurate casts and delicate poses, sometimes trout don’t give the fly fisherman a second chance.

The mountain community that inhabits Lake Misurina has medieval traditions, whose roots date back to a few centuries before Christ.

Misurina is one of the most beautiful naturalistic oases in the world.

It is a territory that formally belongs to the Municipality of Auronzo di Cadore. But, it is at the disposal of the ancient Regole of Villagrande and Villapiccola. They were the self-governing body of the native population who settled here a few centuries before Christ. For some years institutions reconstitute the Regole, previously abolished by Napoleon Bonaparte. Then administered as Fractions with separate budgets by the Municipality of Auronzo.

At the beginning of each summer, the people of Auronzo brought their cows to Misurina, which, feeding on the grass and flowers of the rich pastures, produced milk rich in vitamins with which the cheesemaker, made excellent butter, ricotta and cheese. The original name of the town was Mesòrina, later Italianised as Misurina. Some of the most beautiful mountains in the world reflect in its lake with emerald green waters.

Stunning wild brown trout sometimes find shelter in the most unexpected spots, below the stream bank, hidden by aquatic plants.

With a bit of luck, it is possible to meet peaceful wild horses that let you get close. In the photo below, the photographer Stefano Trevisiol in action with fishing rod and camera.

The salamander is a shy and solitary animal that generally lives in cool, humid woods, preferably near small streams.

Fishing alone or in the company of an expert guide, among charming mountains and forests, can be a soul-enriching experience.