Fly fishing in Spain
Fly fishing in Northern Spain is fantastic: amazing alpine landscapes, cristal clear waters, wild zebra trout, 100% dry fly. Welcome to Ernest Hemingway’s favourite European fishing destination!
We are a local company, we have the most knowledgeable team you can find, experts on these rivers where we have grown up since our childhood.
We have all the experience needed to make a great fishing trip, you will discover the real north of Spain with us.
Spain fly fishing
Discover Spain with us.
These are our guided fly fishing trips in Spain.
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Fly Fishing in Spain: All You Need to Know
The Spanish Pyrenees are the largest mountain range in southern Europe. Its rivers, streams, and alpine lakes are home to abundant populations of wild zebra trout.
It is a sparsely populated territory, with no fishing pressure and extraordinary beauty. A true paradise!
Spain is a unique fly fishing destination for many reasons:
· Fishing in rivers loaded with history: in his novel, The Sun Also Rises, Ernest Hemingway describes his fishing journey through the Pyrenees.
· Wide variety and quantity of rivers in easy distance of each other.
· 365 days / year of dry fly fishing: Spain is a country of sun and good weather. The abundance of insects along the river allows us to fish using dry flies all year round.
· Zebra Trout: the most ancestral wild trout of the European continent lives in our rivers. A variety of brown trout unique in the world.
· Fishing and much more: excellent gastronomy, fabulous wines, beautiful cities, castles, monasteries, cathedrals, National Parks… all in a very safe country with excellent travel connections (international airports and high-speed trains).
Freshwater fly fishing in Spain offers multiple options:
· Zebra Trout: fishermen from all over the world come to Spain to fish for the «zebra» trout. A unique fish in the world.
· Brown trout: these giant trophy trout are found in rivers on the plains of the Pre-Pyrenees, it is rare to capture such big trout anywhere else in the world.
· Barbel: known as the freshwater bonefish. Site fishing on crystalline water is spectacular. A very entertaining fishing day using a beetle dry fly.
· Brook trout: this endemic fish from the United States was introduced into some streams and lakes in northern Spain. 100% dry fly fishing in small alpine streams is a lot of fun.
· Rainbow trout: species in regression found in some rivers of the Pre-Pyrenean plains. In the past decades it was introduced by the administration for sport fishing.
What are the best months of the year for fly fishing in Spain?
In Spain, we can offer fly fishing 365 days a year. This is possible thanks to a mild climate and lots of sunshine.
In the medium and high mountain rivers, you can fish from March 1st to October 31st.
· March: the month before the snowmelt from the mountains. The flows are optimal and the trout are active during the central hours of the day.
· April and first half of May: spring begins and the fish are more active. The mountain rivers run cold from the thaw. It is an excellent time to fish the flat rivers and small tributary streams.
· From mid-May to the end of October: this is the time of year when you can fish the high mountain rivers. These places offer excellent conditions for fishing and beautiful alpine rivers.
· November and December: there are still a few places you can fish in November and December, in the «intensive fishing grounds». This time before the trout breed is extraordinary for fishing as the trout are very active (they need food to start breeding). Perfect to fish for that trophy trout!
· December to February: these are months of little activity but it is possible to fish in the intensive sections. Dream of fishing for dry flies in January? In Spain, we can make your dream come true!
Where are the best rivers for fly fishing in Spain?
The best rivers for fly fishing are in the north of Spain, in the Pyrenees.
We have a great variety of environments, with some of the most well-known including Gállego river, Ara river, Esera river, Noguera Ribagorzana river, Aragon river, Veral river, Arga river…
All of them have a north to south route and are very close to each other.
The main fishing companies and lodges in Spain work around these rivers in the Pyrenees.
Where to fish for trophy trout in Spain?
As a general rule, Spain is not a destination for trophy trout, but there are surprising exceptions, we have unique places where incredible populations of giant trout are concentrated.
The rivers of northern Spain offer the opportunity to catch a variety of trout, mainly dry flies, with sizes ranging from small to medium.
The exception is in the Aragón Pre-Pyrenees. In this area, there are rivers that give the trout slow water and a lot of food. This creates extraordinary growth with trout reaching sizes close to 90 cm long and 10 pounds weight.
Although these fish are abundant and can be observed in hunting action, they are difficult to catch. Our professional guides can help!
License and fishing permits for fishing in Spain:
Spain is a country with 17 autonomies and 17 different ways to obtain a fishing license.
In addition to the fishing license for the region concerned, a daily fishing permit is required.
The daily permits allow the fisherman the possibility of fishing in the best waters: fishing reserves.The daily fishing permits are obtained at the corresponding regional administration on the morning schedule from Monday to Friday.
Unfortunately, all these bureaucratic obstacles make it difficult for foreign fishermen to organize a fishing trip on their own.
The advantage is these administrative difficulties have helped to keep the destination away from mass tourism and to preserve the fishing resources in a magnificent state of conservation.
Our company takes care of all the legal licensing and permits so you don’t have to worry. We also have special tourist passes that allow us to offer our clients exclusive access to the best fishing reserves in the country.
Inter-Autonomous Fishing License
The inter-autonomous fishing license has recently come into force. With this document, the fisherman can enjoy fishing in the free waters (not reserves) of the communities of Aragon, Asturias, Castilla y Leon, Valencia, Extremadura, Galicia, Madrid, and Murcia.
The price of this document is 25€.
The best flies for fishing in Spain
As in other destinations, the flies used by the angler vary depending on the season.
Generally, European patterns are used although some Americans work very well.
Some of our favorite flies are the following:
Fat Albert (hooks 4 to 10)
The Pyrenees have large areas where there are many species of beetles, grasshoppers, and other terrestrial insects. This pattern is a fly that could imitate any of the above-mentioned insects.
Stonefly (hooks 4 to 10):
This is one of our favorite flies to fish in spring when there are large hatches of large Plecoptera.
These flies work very well «scratching» the surface of the water and the surface strikes are usually spectacular.
Foam Hopper Dry Fly (hooks 4 to 12):
Grasshoppers are probably one of the most abundant terrestrial insects in the Pyrenees.
The banks of many of our rivers are full of these insects of green, brown, yellow colors…
In our fly boxes, we always carry some imitation hoppers such as Whitlock Hopper, Deve’s Hopper, or Parachute Hopper.
Ants (hooks 14 to 18)
Winged ants are imitations that must be in all the boxes of any angler traveling to Spain. In the evenings prior to summer storms, many rivers, streams, and lakes are carpeted with this insect with a great food value for trout.
Hi – Viz Beetle (yearlings 6 to 10)
The lakes of the Pyrenees are full of small beetles.
This fly is sometimes difficult to see in the water, so we recommend placing a white, orange or pink plume on top.
CDC Mayfly (hooks 14 to 18)
At the end of the summer, when the water level in the rivers is very low, it is necessary to use small flies to trick the trout.
CDC flies are very effective for this type of situation.
These are some of our favorite montages:
Parachute Adams (hooks 10 to 16):
It is perhaps the most indispensable fly for fishing trouts anywhere in the world.
It is a fly that drifts very well through the water, looks great, and fishes in a multitude of environments and situations.
This essential fly is also used as an indicator in tandem (dry-nymph).
Royal Wulff (hooks from 10 to 14):
This fly is a widely used attractor for fishing in mountain streams and rivers in Spain.
You have to take advantage of its virtues. It is a fly that floats beautifully, it looks great thanks to its white wings, even in choppy water. We use it a lot in small streams, dark fishing days or evenings when one’s eyesight is not good enough to scan the water.
Klinkhammer Indicator (hooks from 10 to 14):
The Klinkhammer is an assembly created by Hans von Klinken to imitate an emerging caddis.
This fly has a colorful and striking indicator that allows us to see the fly in all kinds of situations. It is also a fly that we use a lot as a bite indicator.
Deer Hair Caddis
Caddis are a family of insects very common in the rivers of Spain. We never fish a stream without having in our box this classic fly that works in rivers all over the world.
Sometimes if you use a very thin tippet it can curl the line, for this type of situation we recommend the parachute mount.
Are the waters for fishing in Spain public or private?
Rivers in Spain are public. The fisherman needs two documents:
- The fishing license for the Autonomous Community concerned.
- The daily fishing permit.
Transit on the rivers is public but certain plots that give access to the river are private and prior authorization from the owner is required for access.
It should also be noted that in order to reach the upper parts of many rivers, it is necessary to travel along forest tracks with restricted access. To be able to transit through these places it is necessary to hire
a company with the corresponding authorizations.
We have the authorization to drive on most of the restricted access tracks in Aragon and Catalonia and we have agreements with owners for access on private plots, allowing our clients access to the full range of fishing areas in the region.
Is it possible to fish in Spain's National Parks?
Spanish National Parks law does not allow fishing inside the parks. It is only allowed and very exceptionally for the control of invasive species and with prior authorization.
The regulations of the National Parks of Spain are very restrictive for activities such as fishing and hunting.
Fishing is usually allowed in the Pre-Park areas- otherwise known as Peripheral Protection Zones.
Head guide and activity manager. Inquire now and I’ll get back to you as soon as the fishing lets me.
Our goal is that both companions and fishermen enjoy a unique experience. Culture, gastronomy, history, mountain activities…
Our tours are adapted to make your dreams come true. We work with the highest standards of quality.
Spain Fly Fishing loves the Pyrenees and we work on several projects to ensure its protection and development.