Bill Carnazzo specialized in land-use issues as city attorney for Sacramento, but his passion was fly fishing. In a 2002 interview, he said, "I love the solitude and beauty of the places I fish."

Obituary: Bill Carnazzo was Sacramento city lawyer, loved fly fishing

Published: Sunday, Jan. 27, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 5B
Last Modified: Sunday, Jan. 27, 2013 - 8:48 am

William "Bill" Carnazzo, a top lawyer at Sacramento City Hall who was a noted fly fisherman, died Jan. 15 of a hemorrhagic stroke, his family said. He was 71.

Mr. Carnazzo spent 25 years as a lawyer in the Sacramento City Attorney's Office. He practiced privately for 11 years and was a partner at a law firm in Salinas before moving to Sacramento in 1979 to serve in local government.

Specializing in land-use issues, he was instrumental in development in the Natomas area. He rose to chief assistant city attorney and frequently served as a spokesman for City Hall on legal issues. He retired in 2004.

Meanwhile, Mr. Carnazzo pursued his outdoor passion, tying flies and casting lines as an expert fly fishermen. During trout season, he spent most weekends from late April to mid-November dressed in wading boots and armed with a rod and reel in rivers and streams.

His answering machine informed callers, "I'm either on the river or trying to get there." He split his time fishing the upper Sacramento, McCloud, Pit, Rubicon and North Yuba rivers.

"I love the solitude and beauty of the places I fish," he told The Bee in 2002. "The scenery in the fall particularly is astoundingly beautiful."

Besides teaching fly fishing and running a guide service in Newcastle, Mr. Carnazzo shared his expertise as a columnist for California Fly Fisher magazine and other publications. He recently finished writing a book on fly fishing techniques.

"Just a couple of weeks before he passed way, he got a letter from the publisher saying they wanted to make three books out of it," said his sister Gigi Knudtson.

Born in 1941 in Pacific Grove, William Patrick Carnazzo was the eldest of four children raised by a doctor and a homemaker.

He graduated from Santa Clara University in 1962 and entered the U.S. Navy Officer Candidate School in Rhode Island. He served four years in the Navy, including two tours in Vietnam aboard aircraft carriers as communications officer on the admiral's staff.

He enrolled in law school at University of San Francisco, where he received a scholarship award. He served as law review president and graduated first in his class in 1968.

He raised three children with his wife, Judy, and lived in Foresthill.

Besides fishing in rivers throughout Northern California and Oregon, Mr. Carnazzo was a steward for the environment. He supported efforts to protect trout and served on the board of the North Fork American River Alliance.

"He loved solitude and spent a lot of time alone on the river," said his brother Jerry. "He loved being out there and the challenge of fly fishing. It added a real nice balance to his life practicing law."

William "Bill" Carnazzo

Born: Feb. 17, 1941

Died: Jan. 15, 2013

Survived by: Wife, Judy; children, Anthony, Dominic and Regina Dvorak; brother, Jerry; sisters, Carol Carnazzo-Brown and Gigi Knudtson; six grandchildren

Services: Were held Saturday

Remembrances: Donations in memory of Mr. Carnazzo may be made to the North Fork American River Alliance,; or to any charity.

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