How to Fish in Northern Spain

Written by justine bayod espoz
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How to Fish in Northern Spain
The best fishing in Northern Spain is in the rivers and lakes of the Pyrenees Mountains. (lake in the pyrenees image by Isabelle Gelle from

Coastal fishing is possible in the north as well, but the most popular Spanish coastal locations for fishing are located in the south. Northern Spain offers a multitude of species to fish as well as diverse freshwater fishing opportunities, from fly fishing to the beginner’s basic angling.

In 2003, the Fly Fishing World Cup was hosted in a network of rivers and lakes that make up part of the Pyrenees in Aragon, indicating the high quality of the location. The Pyrenees and its fishing are also famous for having hosted a certain celebrated writer: Ernest Hemingway.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Fishing license
  • Equipment (e.g., rod, bait)

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  1. 1

    Choose a region or specific location in which to fish. Anglers in Spain are required to carry a fishing license. Each Comunidad Autónoma (autonomous community) issues the permits separately, and permits are exclusively valid in the community from which they are issued.

    There are 17 autonomous communities in Spain. The northern communities include Galicia, Asturias, Cantabria, Castilla y León, the Basque Country, Navarre, La Rioja, Aragon and Catalonia. Both the rivers of the Pyrenees Mountains and the Ebro River, Spain’s largest river and the backbone of the northern river system, are excellent locations for fishing.

  2. 2

    Research and contact angling tour companies located in the desired location. Many companies will not only offer fishing guides and tours, but they will also assist in finding accommodation and obtaining the necessary recreational fishing permits. Booking with fishing trip companies can help to make the angling experience as enriching and enjoyable as possible, especially when a language barrier exists.

  3. 3

    Purchase or rent proper equipment based on the season, location and species of fish. For example, the prime fishing season in Aragon lasts from May to mid-July. The prevalent fish in that area and the majority of the Pyrenees is brown trout, for which any travel rod for trout, as well as dry flies and heavy bead-headed nymphs for fly fishing bait, will be sufficient.

Tips and warnings

  • According to the Salvelinus Fishing Adventures website, the rods most often used for fly fishing in the Pyrenees are 8 to 10 feet in gauges between 3 to 6.
  • A fishing license is absolutely necessary in Spain, and some areas allow catch-and-release fishing only.

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