Coarse Fishing in Spain by Philip Pembroke

Fishing around Madrid

Buscalo, August 2007

A day trip, spent fishing around Madrid                 

Having arrived at Madrid airport a day early – better than a day late, I found myself with time on my hands to take a day trip to explore some of the excellent to be found fishing north east of Madrid.

I took the Burgos motorway (N I), north direction and exited east after twenty five minutes, junction 50 onto the M 608. Shortly after is Embalse de Pedrezuela (artificial lake). This is a stocked trout lake, classified as a fishing reserve (sign posted “coto de pesca”).

Then I took the M 626, north west through Miraflores (nothing of interest here) north onto M 629 and up through a tree lined pass (altitude 1782m a.s.l.) there are guide poles by the road that indicates, to me that they receive a lot of snow in winter. On the ascent I looked back, all the way to Madrid’s new towers that are being constructed on Real Madrid football club’s old training ground.

Descending the other side of the pass takes you too a      T-junction, where I turned left (west) onto the M 604. I passed a railway viaduct then signs for the dam wall (presa) of Embalse de Pinilla, a fishing reserve. There are tracks down to the shore and there are lots of paces to cast here. Finally I stopped for a cold beer on the main road at a bar called Balcon de Tito located in Lozoya by the reservoir.

Refreshed, I retraced my tracks along the M 604 and turned off left just before the railway viaduct, signposted for Gargantilla del Lozoya and through this village, I turned off right (east) towards Pinilla. Here you drive through the village onto a good, unsurfaced track (take the right fork, the left is for the water plant) and park up 300m from the shore of Embalse de Río Sequillo. Now walk down to the lake.

This is my top-tip location for a few hours fly fishing. I did see hundreds of stocked rainbow trout (I used Polaroid sunglasses to see below the water’s surface), averaging 1kg and small carp within an arms length of the bank, as I walked along the waterline for an hour.

In fact, I came within a few centimetres of grabbing a carp with my hand. Ok, it’s a reservoir not a mountain river full of wild brown trout but the setting is quite atmospheric, there is no noise and it’s definitely a place for chilling out, on the deserted shoreline.

I recommend spinning with a small mepps number 3 lure or fly fishing from the bank, in fact why not wade out, as far as possible, and cast towards the shore where a lot of fish seemed to be feeding.
Departing, I drove under the N I motorway via Buitrago del Lozoya. In this town there looks to be a fishing pool by the old wall.

On the east side of the motorway the River Lozoya is pretty much dammed along much of its course and there are a series of steep gorges and large lakes containing superb views of the sierra as I drove sedately south east along the M 126.

I turned off left (east) after a few kilometres just before Manjirón for the impressive presa de El Villar (dam wall). From the numerous vantage points, by the dam wall, I could observe a steep drop the other side and a superb view of the rocky, steep canyon that carries the river channel far below.

The river flows next into the enormous embalse de Al Atazar – free fishing for large carp, pike and barbell here. I carried south on the M 127, along the west side of this lake stopping just before El Berrueco at Albergue Cervera, next to camping El Picachuelo. This restaurant has a terrace bar with great views of the lake and I had a pit stop for a cold, refreshing beer.

Locals said that the best access is found over the other side at Cervera de Buitrago where there are boat ramps and moorings. On this side of the reservoir access tracks are reserved for essential services.

I drove through the nice looking town of El Berrueco, south on the M 131, and this part of the journey offered glorious views of the Sierra de Guadarrama-Norte over my right shoulder.

After passing through Torrelaguna (nothing much here) I drove south on N 320. You may wish to inspect the River Jarrrama by a road bridge, on the way south, and it contains some nice barbel and brown trout.

Republicans fiercely defended numerous bridges along the River Jarrama in 1937, forming the frontline to the east of Madrid during the civil war. I then turned south onto the    M 103, heading for Alcala de Henares for my evening meal.

Alcala was the biggest surprise of my whole trip. Buscalo readers may remember that it was from this town’s railway station that bombers unleashed their terror on Madrid commuters not so long ago.

What I didn’t expect was a 500 year-old town centre full of some of the best renaissance buildings in Spain and the birthplace of Cervantes, author of Don Quixote. Although only half hour from Madrid visitors feel that they are in the heart of Castilla la Mancha.

After dinner, in the atmospheric main-street and plaza mayor, I chilled with a cold beer in front of the superb floodlit façade of the university building.

I stuck to 60 kph throughout my day’s drive and fishing stops except for the short motorway section. I would describe the route as easy no-pressure driving with great scenery and plenty of good fishing on the way.

Buscalo readers may wish to cross reference the fishing locations, I have mentioned, with the Trofeo de Pesca Web page, click on the lugares banner then click on the Madrid flag banner.

Day tickets for reservoirs classified as fishing reserves (cotos de pesca) are available from the department of environment (Medio Ambiente) where you purchase your fishing licence in Madrid or from local bar-restaurants closer to the trout fisheries.

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