Carpione (Salmo carpio) is a salmonid fish which lives only in the depths of Lake Garda. It resembles char (restaurateurs sometimes take advantage of the similarity) but carpione has a swallow tail and pinker flesh, while char has a paddle-like tail and reddish flesh.
Catching the fish requires spending a long around the freghe , where the carpione reproduce and come up to the surface. Because of this, and because the carpione are by now very rare, their fishing is no longer a profitable activity.
In the early 20th century, there were over 700 fishermen on Garda, but now there are just 120. Until 40 years ago, they caught tens of tons of carpione every year, compared to the current 100 kilos. The fishing was done collectively, because the deep-water nets were large and needed many people to pull them up to shore or on to the boats. However, every fisherman had to supply a certain number of females for the eggs to be extracted so that the fish could be artificially reproduced. This practice was abandoned from the 1970s on.
Carpione is fished starting from September, but the best time is October.
Lake Garda (Brescia, Trento and Verona provinces)
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