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Sold for 1600€ to Rekondo restaurant in San Sebastian

This first specimen (lehenbiziko in Basque language) was caught in the Bidasoa river by a local fisherman and was bought as is tradition by the Rekondo restaurant in San Sebastian. The specimen weighed 4.4 kg and was caught by spoon at the Endarlatsa dam.

The Atlantic salmon fishing in the Basque Country is very restrictive and several permits are needed to fish. Salmon specie is in a recovery phase in our rivers, so its fishing is very limited. In the past, salmon fishing was a very important resource for the people in the Basque Country and northern Spain, but overfishing, river pollution and hydraulic dams made it disappear. Decades ago the government developed a very ambitious plan for its recovery.

Today the rivers are very clean thanks to the water purification plants, and the old dams that prevented the salmon from going up the rivers have been destroyed. Fishing quotations are very controlled and only 5% of the total number of fish returning from the sea for spawning are allowed to be caught. In my opinion, there is still a lot to be done to enjoy fishing in our rivers. We lack more ecological policies that educate the river populations on how to take care of the environment in order to enjoy it to the full. Still, unfortunately, it is normal to see children throwing plastic on the ground or plastic waste from an industrial park thrown all over the river bank. This makes my blood boil and these are very important issues that should be addressed.

On the other hand, we have to be happy about the current situation of our rivers. It is a situation with room for improvement but today it is very satisfactory for sport fishermen. Numerous catches of brown trout and sea trout can be made. The capture of salmon is always more complicated due to the limited number of specimens and their feeding habits.

The policy for trout and sea trout is catch and release, for salmon a special permit is needed and there is a limitation on the number of catches with death.

We will continue to fight to improve the quality of our rivers for us and for future generations and in my opinion education is a determining factor in this conservation process.

YouTube video

Fly fishing in the Basque Country

It was a mid-July day in the Basque mountains. The summer has been very rainy this year 2021 so the river was flowing beautifully with plenty of water.
This day I was guiding my guest and friend Bill from California. In a shallow area of fast flowing, oxygenated water the big trout awaited us.
A few minutes before Bill had lost another big trout in a previous rapid but after a while of fighting the trout escaped. So we were in a good area and the trouts were very active. I was wearing shorts at the time and didn’t have my waders on. On the third cast with the nymph the trout took it! The fight was on! She climbed up the pool, went under the rocks, jumped, got into the currents, but after all these maneuvers I managed to stop the fish. After those heart-stopping moments the fish relaxed a bit and all I had to do was wait for the right moment to net it. The fight lasted about 10 minutes but I didn’t want to show it all in the video. It was one of the fights of my fly fishing life, an unforgettable moment.

 

Fishing in the heart of the Pyrenees in Spain, surrounded by mountains from 3000 to 3400m. The highest peak is Mount Aneto at 3404m. It belongs to La Maladeta massif. It is a unique and very well preserved place. This area of the Pyrenees is not exploited so it retains all its natural beauty. This area is surrounded by natural parks so the quality of the water and fish is guaranteed. In all the rivers and lakes, fishing is cacht and released. For this reason, the trouts are very abundant and very voracious. They attack the fly as if they had never seen one in their whole life.

The villages in the area are very beautiful and picturesque. Also, we must emphasize the local gastronomy. The most traditional are the grilled meats and the fresh products of the local gardens.

fly fishing at the Pyrenees

 

The first day we went fishing in a high mountain valley at an altitude of 2500 meters. One part we climb in an indestructible Russian car and the other part we walk up. Once in the fishing area we went up the rivers and waterfalls fishing. At the end we arrived at the lake from which the river originates and there we also fly fish. Both in the river and in the lake the bites were continuous. My friend’s son counted 63 trout all day long between two rods. It was a real wonder. On the other hand, this type of fishing requires a certain physical capacity since it is like a combination of hiking and fly fishing.

 

pyrenees trout

The second day was more relaxing. We fished a very wide valley with several rivers at an altitude of about 1500 meters. It is a flat area so it does not require much physical activity. The car can be parked right there so it is very comfortable. The river descends through the valley winding through the green meadows. On one side and on the other side there are imposing mountains. These rivers are also very productive and there are continuous bumps. The most appropriate flies in these areas are tricopters. In this area there is a small mountain hotel-restaurant where you can eat and rest to continue fishing in the afternoon. It is the perfect option to not do too much exercise.

 

 

 

 

 

Pyrenees fishing

                            The third day was about fishing in high mountain lakes where native trout abound. First you have to get to the lakes so the only option is to go hiking. It is not too hard but it requires a minimum of physical fitness. The feeling of arriving at a ravaged lake in the mountains with no people around is indescribable. You feel like an explorer who has discovered a hidden treasure. Best of all, that remote lake is full of trout so all you can do is fish. Fishing in the lake is a little different from the river but I love it. When the fly falls, the trout come closer like sharks until one of them appears by surprise and attacks the fly with violence. They may fight less than the river trout but they are also bigger.

After writing these brief words, I felt like going back there to fish. I hope that next June I will be able to enjoy again those natural places, those rivers, waterfalls, flowers and trout. Beautiful trout that hide in those mountains.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

YouTube video