Fly fishing in the Pyrenees of Spain

Discovering the magic of fishing

Explore the charm of the Pyrenees with Salvelinus

Our Fishing Trips

SALVELINUS has organized fly fishing tours and expeditions in the Pyrenees of northern Spain since 1999.
SALVELINUS takes its task seriously; all the effort put into each adventure is to live up to what the guest wants out of a fishing holiday.

Fly fish where no one else reaches

THE HIGH PYRENEES

Fly fish the most hidden corners of the highlands in gin-clear freestones, glacial lakes, and spring creeks, while enjoying verdant green valleys, ancient villages, and the majestic Pyrenees mountains.

Explore the charm of the Pyrenees

THE LOWLANDS

A few cold water fisheries for easy to moderate wading offer healthy trout populations in the lowlands of the Pyrenees. Surrounded by farming areas, century old vineyards, and villages formerly ruled by the Muslims.

Fly fishing in the Pyrenees of Spain

Fishing locations are chosen by the Head Guide at SALVELINUS from the more than 1500 miles of rivers and streams and the hundreds of lakes scattered across the region.

Testing each location and choosing the best time to fish is the key to success.

Each valley has its own personality. Each part of the river born high up in the mountains is very different. The head waters with fast flowing waters and boulder strewn stream beds, the middle stretches – easier to fish with pools, rapids and pools. The 100 yards wide lower stretches with their deep pools.

Pyrenean rivers are from 12 to 125 miles long

Every pool, every current has its own personality, every possible feeding location, every possible lie has its own special characteristic.These food rich waters breed feisty trout that more often than not surprise the angler leaving him staring at a snapped tippet.

Trout of all sizes can be caught because the trout population is balanced; it contains the appropriate proportion of age and size.  This is true of nearly all the waters SALVELINUS accesses.

For those thinking of planning a fishing holiday in the Pyrenees, the most interesting areas for trout are on the southern slopes, in north-eastern Navarre, northern Aragon and north-western Catalonia.

The western part of this extensive area is considered one of the most pristine areas in Western Europe. There are very few areas in the world with such an enormous variety of climates, altitudes and landscapes than this region.

SALVELINUS operates from two different bases so as to cover locations in both the western and eastern Pyrenees.

High mountain

  • Pocket waters

Typical high mountain streams with large rocks and rapids

These are the typical high mountain streams for fly fishing and feature fast waters, large rocks and boulders and small deep pools where big trout lurk.

The further you go up Pyrenean valleys the more high mountain streams you find. They make for thrilling fishing.

  • High Mountain lakes

At present, fly fishing the high mountain lakes known as «lacs», «ibones» or «estanys» depending on where you are in the Pyrenees (and wich languaje is used in the area), is hardly ever practised in Spain.

2.512 high mountain lakes have been identified and catalogued. Some are totally or partially frozen 9 months a year which creates incredibly hard conditions for the resident trout, and brook trout population.

These lakes are so remote that the access is via a 2 to 6 hour hike or by helicopter.

Countless hours spent scouting and exploring many of the high mountain lakes enable us to guide our guest to the most productive areas to fish.

  • High Mountain Spring Creeks

Smooth waters, full of food for trout, selective trout and sight fishing are the four features that sum up spring creeks.

They are very few and far between in the Pyrenees so visiting anglers really appreciate the opportunity.

Medium Mountains

  • Medium mountain streams

These are ideal fly fishing waters and there are many of them in the Pyrenees.

They are very comfortable to fish. These waters display pebble strewn beds, alternating pools and rapids. We are talking about rivers that –on average– are from 15 to 25 meters wide.

  • Middle Level Mountain Lakes

The lakes and reservoirs in the middle area of these mountains are home to the biggest native trout.

Specimens of over 5 kilos (11 pounds) are hooked and landed every year and trophy fish tipping the scales at 9 kilos or 20 pounds have been caught.

Trout this size feed on other fish, small mammals and large nymphs that are brought in by inlet waters.

Float tubes and boats can be used on certain reservoirs for those interested in hooking the fish of a lifetime.

Low Country

  • Flat Rivers & lower reaches

Comfortable wading waters with long glides and pools summarize angling in the lower stretches of the majority of Pyrenean rivers. The average depth varies from 65 cm to 2 meters and the average temperature is between 11ºC to 17 ºC (51 to 62 F)

SALVELINUS has access to 14 big rivers in the Pyrenees that house big trout. It is extremely important to know when to fish and what flies to use.

  • Tail Waters

These waters have certain specific features that make them different to other trout waters. The stable water level and temperature produce vast populations of aquatic insects which produce a healthy population of trout

The average size of trout in these waters is superior to that of fish from other rivers. This habitat and the quality of the water produce 55 cm ( 22 inches) long fish  who spend a great deal of their time surface feeding

A real challenge for fly fishing anglers in the Pyrenees.

Dry fly fishing in the Pyrenees of Spain

If there are two things that characterizefly fishing in the Pyrenees it is the sheer variety of scenery and the very shy trout that bolt for cover at the slightest danger. These trout descend from the native gene pool of Mediterranean trout.

So fly fishing for these wary trout in their natural habitat entails the mastery of different techniques and using the right ones in each of the different fishing scenarios where trout will be encountered

The range of possibilities expands dramatically when you realize that you can find trout waters from the foothills to the upper areas of the Pyrenees; from  600 feet above sea level  to just over 8000 feet.

Dry fly fishing is the best way to fish these rivers if you know when to use this technique in each stretch of water. Many fishing sessions organized by SALVELINUS involve 100% dry fly fishing and that means sight fishing too!

Nymphing is, however, the most productive way to fish in the majority of these waters.

Fly fishing with lures or streamers as they are sometimes referred to, is also successful, albeit more with rainbows than with other trout species.

Logically, the rod length and line weight are dictated by the technique to be used, the species and size of trout we are going to target and the place and time of year.

Fly fishing in the Pyrenees of Spain. Every month, a different scenario

A wide range of fishing scenaries is provided by that area of the Pyrenees which starts at some 200 meters above sea level and goes up to about 2.500 meters.

In fact, the variety is such that fishing is possible from March through November

With such a variety of water, many areas fish best early and late in the season, while other high altitude locations are only fishable during the middle of summer. Coordinating your angling needs with careful trip planning carried out by us will ensure you have the best possible trip.

If you know where to go at any given moment in the season, you will find great hatches from mid March to late October.

SPRING FLY FISHING IN THE PYRENEES OF SPAIN. March-April-May

Spring means water levels drop and fishing is good especially through the midday hatches.

The official opening day for the majority of the waters in the Pyrenees is between March 1t  to the 15th. At this time, most anglers restrict their fishing to the middle and lower reaches.

Our fishing trips access areas with constant levels of water and the right temperature for trout activity. 

March and April feature low water levels that present anglers with great nymph fishing. Productive midday hatches are present.

Despite high water levels in the majority of the valleys because of the thaw, May is a special moment to sight fish for rainbows and browns in some of the tail waters included in the Pyrenees foot hills programs.

SUMMER FLY FISHING IN THE PYRENEES OF SPAIN. June-July-August- early September

Summer is a great time for morning fishing in high mountain waters with evening fishing on the lower reaches.

These months offer the best conditions for High Mountain Fishing due to appropriate  temperatures and productive hatches.

The best dry fly time is June to early July and September.  This is probably the best time for catching trout that rise readily to surface flies.

Late July and August are the key months for fishing in the highest waters during the day. What is more, there are productive  evening hatches in the lower reaches

Anglers can opt for (for an additional charge) same day return  helicopter flights to certain waters for fishing  brown and brook trout.

LATE SUMMER & AUTUMN FLY FISHING IN THE PYRENEES OF SPAIN

Late September and October. The lower reaches provide selective dry fly fishing with small patterns. Fishing with streamers for trophy trout starts paying off in selected waters.

November  Hefty browns are taken from stream inlets in lakes.  Old stream beds produce trophy rainbows. Good late autumn fishing techniques are: streamer fishing and tandem rigs with small nymphs on point.

WINTER FLY FISHING IN THE PYRENEES OF SPAIN. December-January-February

Fiishing trips are organised to those waters still open. Mainly rainbows with the occasional brown and zebra trout.

These programs are organized mainly in the Pyrenean foothills.

December, January and February are the months for catching trophy trout with big streamers and nymphs but anglers should be prepared for cold weather.

This is a great time to consider one of our destination trips to Patagonia!