Fresh water fish occupies a prominent position in th local gastronomic fare. In the costal villages from Porto to Assenza to Magugnano and castelletto fishing is still a reality with deep traditional roots. The typical recipes of the villages around the whole of Lake of Garda are almost exclusevely fish based, particularly with eels, carp, withfish, pike sardines and trout. As you leave the Lake and climb the mountains, you find dishes based on meat, game, cheese and also woodland produce such as mushrooms, truffles and chestnuts in autumn. But as mentioned the lake fish is the star of the local cuisin. Worth a mention is the rare "noble" carp, a salmonid endemic to the lake of Garda. The less noble fisch such as sardines, chub, bleak, pike and perch, also occupy a leading role at the dining table.
Carpione: The Carpione is a member of the salmon family that lives exclusively in the deep and pure waters of Lake Garda. For several reasons this fish is currently very scarce. The carpione has two reproductive periods: from December to January and from July to August. It can reach a weight between 1 and 2 kg and its diet consists of plankton.
Trout: The trout is called the queen of the lake thanks to its tasty flesh. It lives far from the coast at temperatures of between 15 and 20 degrees. It reproduces in November and December in shallow gravel beds. The male has a darker colour with a blackish belly and the tip of the lower jaw is more strongly curved. It reaches a weight of 4-6 kg and its diet consists almost exclusively of other fish.
Eel: The eel is carnivorous and voracious and usually lives in muddy depths. It can withstand staying on dry land for several days, crawling along the ground. The extraordinary thing is that the eel reproduces in the Sargasso Sea near Bermuda. After reaching sexual maturity it sets out on its long one-way trip to lay its eggs from which small transparent larvae which then turn into small eels of about 6-10 cm. At this point the eel returns to the fresh and peaceful waters of European lakes and rivers.
European perch: This perch has highly prized flesh and is characterised by a spiny dorsal fin. It breeds in April and May, laying its eggs on aquatic plants. It can reach 4kg, but Garda species never exceed 2kg. It lives on the rocky seabed.
European whitefish: The European whitefish is a silver colour, on average 50 cm long with a small almost toothless mouth. It feeds almost exclusively on plankton and its reproduction period is between December and January. In the breeding season its sides are covered with horny shields, more developed in the males, who are more intensely coloured, especially on the back and whose bellies have dark shades.
Alburnus arborella: This small fish of the carp family is very well known to the people of the lake. It lives in shoals that often come up to the shore. It is a maximum of 20cm long and eats plankton. It reproduces from May to June, spawning near the shore at night in deep water, on plants or on sand or rock banks. An essence used to make artificial pearls is extracted from its scales.
Tench: The tench can reach a length of 50 cm, is a greenish colour, has small scales and hunts at night. It feeds on aquatic plants, worms and insects. It reproduces between May and June along the southern shores of the lake spawning on aquatic plants, while during the winter it enters a type of hibernation on the muddy bottom of the lake.
Pike: The pike has a long, thin body with small scales and is coloured green-brown with yellowish spots and a silver belly. Its mouth full of teeth makes it a voracious predator. It can reach two metres in length. It reproduces between February and May in shallow muddy or grassy waters near the coast. Its tasty flesh very popular.
Chub: The chub mainly feeds on worms, crustaceans, insects, frogs and mice, hence its nickname of the street sweeper of the lake. It reproduces between May and July, spawning almost anywhere on sand or rocks. It can reach 4kg and its flesh is excellent, although full of bones.