Levico, fishing and sports tourism
Walter Arnoldo, the owner Hotel Sport tells us about himself
"Levico is a city of water, with its lake, spas and mineral water", begins Walter Arnold, owner of the Hotel Sport in Levico, one of the first to believe in the potential of the lake in promoting fishing-focused tourism.
In the 1960s, Aldo, Walter’s father, decided to invest on the Levico lake shores. "It was a marshy area, there was some tourism, but it was linked to the spas and there was not yet the vision to invest in a specific sport as a tourism product."
Walter’s family were hotel keepers: in fact, his cousins and uncle own Hotel Florida, while other cousins have the Camping Levico.
In particular, Hotel Sport, has developed two very strong tourist products: fishing and holidays with your dog.
Walter took this gamble because, since he was a child, he has loved spin-fishing, which is a type of sport fishing focused on catching predatory fish. It differs from fly-fishing due to the type of bait. In spin-fishing, you use artificial bait.
"I learned to fish when I was four,” Walter says, “right in front of my hotel. Dario from Modena taught me how to fish. He would take me fishing with him ... I don’t remember his surname, but he passed on his strong love for fishing".
Over the years, Walter cultivated this passion, becoming a point of reference in Trentino, also thanks to his contribution to trade magazines, such as "Pescare in Trentino” (Fishing in Trentino).
Trentino Alto Adige is the region with the largest number of rivers, streams and lakes. "It is therefore an extremely popular destination for fishing enthusiast tourists. In our waters you can find marble trout (trota marmorata), a species that is widespread in northern Italy and Slovenia, but also the whitefish (coregone). Actually, in the Caldonazzo and Levico lakes there are the largest sizes of whitefish, which is greatly appreciated”, adds Walter.
In the waters of the Valsugana valley, in addition to trout, there are all the fish species that are currently very popular amongst fishers, that is, pike (luccio), carp (carpa), black bass (persico trota) and European perch (persico reale).
“So, you don’t just fish trout here!" It is this fish biodiversity that makes Trentino so different from other places".
Hotel Sport is one of the many fishing lodges in Trentino: "Our guests can be assisted by a skilled and trained person, directly in our hotel. Moreover, we have contacts with fishermen’s associations and fishing shops. We also have fishing permits and breakfast and dinner times are designed with fishermen in mind. There are other useful facilities for fishermen, such as a place where they can dry their boots."
From Lake Levico, tourists can go fishing in the river Adige, in the Brenta basin and in other lakes too.
As already mentioned, Walter was one of the first people here to consider fishing as a tourist attraction: "Already twenty years ago, we would participate in trade fairs in Bologna and Florence and then we also went to a Riva del Garda fair that was focused on hunting and fishing. We were the first to draw up guidelines for the Trentino Fishing project, which today has become a flagship product for our tourism".
Finally, amongst the most important events in Italy, there is the one that was devised by Walter 14 years ago: "Tourists come from all over the world, and they stop here even up to a week to participate in the Mountain Pike (pike fishing) competition, also because the prize is fantastic. The person who catches the biggest pike wins a trip to Sweden. Obviously, we adopt the “catch and release” practice, that is you fish the fish, but you then free it so that it can swim around in the lake”.