The Pyrenees Mountains form a natural border between France and Spain, separating the Iberian Peninsula from the rest of continental Europe. They extend about 267 miles from the Bay of Biscay in the West to the Mediterranean Sea on the eastern coast of the peninsula. Wild and unspoiled, the Pyrenees are home to innumerable rivers and glacial lakes populated with wild trout. It is here, in the Spanish Pyrenees, where subscriber Marinus Heer tells us he has fished 30 days a year for the past seven years with a guide named Iván Tarín of a company called Salvelinus (www.salvelinus.com), the Latin name for the salmonid genus. Tarín chose the name Salvelinus after the brook trout that inhabit various Pyrenean rivers.
Heer is a Dutchman living in Mallorca, and he initially did not want to talk about Tarín, even with the editors of The Angling Report. However, he says that he has now fished so often with Tarín that he considers him a good friend and wants to help him find new clients. Not too many of them, mind you, because the waters he knows can not take a lot of pressure.
Tarín is a 30-something entrepreneur who has spent his life on the rivers in the Pyrenees. He operates what he touts as Spain’s first fishing lodge dedicated solely to fly anglers. He also runs a fly fishing school and guide service. He is based in the autonomous community (state) of Aragon, where a large section of the Pyrenees is located. The word “Aragón” means region of watercourses, and the area lives up to its name with more than 15 rivers and 30 glacial lakes within only a 30-mile radius of the Aragon Valley. Tarín fishes 70 different canyons and more than 800 miles of mid- and lower stretch waters, in addition to many lakes. Most of the rivers are medium-sized, and their characteristics change depending on the elevation. At their sources, they are typical high-altitude streams with large rocks and fast rapids. The mid-sections are more comfortable to fish, with some rocks, rapids and pools of slack water from 10 to 15 yards wide. The lower reaches are slower and suitable for wading at two to six feet in depth. The streams are typically about 90 yards across at the lower levels.
As for still waters, Tarín has explored more than 60 of the 400 high- altitude and glacier lakes in the region. Some lakes are accessible by foot; others solely by helicopter at elevations of 6,500 to 9,800 feet. Low to non-existent fishing pressure means the trophy browns there are eager to take flies. Because the waters in these lakes are so clear, anglers can see as far as five meters down. The fishing here is sight casting to fish that ascend to take a fly.