Located at the border of Spain and France, the Pyrenees Mountains are a renowned fly fishing destination. Placed in very unique latitude, Spain is far enough north to produce a healthy trout population, in the clear cold rivers, streams and lakes of the Pyrenees. Undoubtedly the Spanish climate, in combination with the topography of the mountains, makes this destination an idyllic place for dry fly fishing. Anglers can enjoy fishing for wild brown trout in the most secluded, pristine and beautiful rivers of old Europe, the very same rivers fished by the American writer Ernest Hemingway.
Fly fishing in these waters, is one of the most exciting, challenging and enjoyable experiences for the subtle fisherman. The elusive character of these native trout makes them perfect for dry-fly lovers: each riffle, pool and eddy provides a different challenge for the angler, which will test the skills of any seasoned fly fisher. Fly fishing in the Pyrenees is a unique outdoor experience, surrounded by wild, unspoiled countryside; an angler can expect to spend the entire day fishing without even seeing another angler. Rather than fishing deep pools for fish with a sinking line; you will experience the exhilarating sensation of actively and continuously sight-fishing for wild trout between 0.5-2 lb.
The Spanish Pyrenees are comprised of the North Eastern Navarra, North Aragon and North Western Cataluña. The Aragonese Pyrenees, in the province of Huesca, contains the majority of the High Spanish Pyrenees. Situated between Navarre and Catalonia Pyrenees, it is in these superb surroundings you will discover one of the most exclusive dry-fly fishing destinations for trout in Old Europe.
The Western & Eastern Pyrenees :
The Navarre and Aragonese Pyrenees are considered one of the most primitive places in Western Europe. There are only a few places in the world which can boast such a variety of climates, altitudes and landscapes. The word “ Aragon ” comes from a language older than Celtic (13th Century B.C.) meaning “region of water courses”. Thousands of years of history, have created a rich cultural heritage set in extraordinary landscapes. In the mountainous northern province of the region, Huesca, there are only some 20 inhabitants per square mile, with extensive areas of wild countryside, cut by rivers and streams.
The River Ebro and its tributaries form the main river system of Northern Spain. The rivers of the Aragonese Pyrenees alone constitute more than 50% of this system. Additionally this region, the central section of the Pyrenees , is home to most of the sub-systems, valleys and 3000 metre peaks. The Cataluña Pyrenees is home to good populations of trout, stocked rainbow trout can be found in the “cotos de pesca”, as well as wild brown trout.
Pyrenees, Rivers for Fly Fishing :
These famous rivers, once fished by Hemingway, when he was attending the Sanfermines bullfighting fiestas in the 20's and again in the late 50's, offers over 800 miles of fly fishing opportunities. The majority of these rivers are, medium-sized with the following distinct characteristics:
Source: typical high mountain streams with large rocks and rapids.
Mid-section: more comfortable fishing with smaller rocks, rapids, churning pools and calm water with an average width of 10 to 15 yards.
Lower reaches: slower flowing water up to 90 yards wide. The rivers here are between 2 and 6 feet deep so are suitable for wading.
Temperatures vary between 50-60 Fahrenheit (11-17ºC). Hidden in the high mountains (2000 metres and above), there are a number of large Ibons (a high-mountain lake of glacial origin). These lakes are normally only accessible on foot with typical treks between 2 to 6 hours.
Insects hatch in abundance from April to September and the variety of species is exceptional due to the high quality of the water. The most widely used and successful flies include: mayflies & caddis (#12-18), stoneflies, flat & caddis nymphs (#8-14), attractors (n#12-16), varied terrestrial (n#8-12), and streamers in natural colours (n# 6-8).
Rods & Lines :
For dry-fly fishing on rivers we suggest rods be 8 to 9 feet and between 3 to 4 in gauge. Floating line, 8 to 10 foot trailers with a final tippet of 5X to 7X. For lake fishing we recommend a 9' or 9' 6” rod of between 5 to 6 in gauge, floating WF line, 10 to 12 foot trailers and a taper of 2X to 5X.
Fishery Management :
The regional administration is responsible for fisheries management. It is mandatory to have different regional fishing licences: Navarra , Aragon , and Cataluña. The fishing areas are between 3 km and 30 km long, with restricted access in some areas, where a day permit in required in addition to the regional fishing licence. Catch-and-release is mandatory in most restricted areas to ensure a quality fishery for the future.
Climate, Fauna & Flora:
The southern face of the Pyrenean range has a very favourable climate. The average temperature during the fishing season (June to August) is around 60-80 Fahrenheit (16-26ºC). In winter snow covers the majority of the valleys. The Pyrenees, mainly the Aragonesee has many protected natural areas covering approximately 8% of the region. There are also 200,000 hectares of hunting grounds. There are many species of wild animals, reptiles and birds in the Pyrenees – from brown bears to fire salamanders. Egyptian, griffon and bearded vulture, golden eagle, dipper, capercailles, wild boar, sarrio (similar to chamois), mountain goat, eagle owl and red squirrel are all frequent sights to accompany a day's fishing. There is also the possibility of spotting the elusive Pyrenean desman in the higher mountain streams.
For more information visit,
Salvelinus Fishing Adventures.