Coarse Fishing in Spain by Philip Pembroke

Information about places to go fly fishing for trout in Spain (León and Benavente)

Buscalo, September 2007

Whilst researching information about places to go fly fishing for trout in Spain, I had heard that León province proudly boasted of some of the oldest and best trout rivers in northern Spain. I aimed to find out the truth for myself and soon discovered that although you may no longer fish Richard Ford’s loch mentioned in his famous guidebook there are 28 other major rivers to choose from.

Of note, León has wide shallow valleys and extensive flood plains are a world away from the short, steep canyons of the Asturias from where I arrived after a straightforward 2 hours car journey south.

The majority of Spanish anglers prefer to spin in order to bag up and they tend to ignore tramo libre pesca sin muerte - catch and release, free fishing stretches where only fly-fishing is allowed.

There are exceptions one is ace local fly-fisherman Pablo Castro who offered to show me the ropes on his local favourite stretch of the Torío River in early May that flows from north of León south into the Duero River basin. Information about places to go fly fishing for trout in Spain can be found in many places.

We parked up by the bridge: and fished a tablada – deeper water behind a small weir. Pablo cast to the boulders by the far bank using a small brown dry fly lure called a Pardon and immediately caught and returned two small beautiful wild brown trout. He pointed out that their anal fin often has a white edge that stock trout mostly lack.

Pablo is a member of the national fly-fishing team and makes catching fish look easy. I used a general-purpose 6-7weight rod with matching floating line. On my own terms I would describe the fishing as challenging but rewarding. We retired to nearby Matallana for bocadillo jamon y cerveza – local cured ham and a refreshingly cold beer, it gets hot in Spain.

Buscalo readers may like to know that there is a tackle shop at Avenida Gran Via de San Marcos, 53, Email: Jose Cenador the friendly proprietor sells León’s famous cockerel feather fly lures.

After researching information about places to go fly fishing for trout in Spain, on the Internet, my third fly fishing location in northern Spain I chose the town of Benavente a relaxing 90 minutes drive south from León along the N 630 main road, situated 60 km north of Zamora. Here there are three good rivers to fish less than 20 minutes from town.

In the morning I spotted some larger trout to 1.5 kg that were jumping 200 m downstream from the N 525 road bridge over the Órbigo River located at Santa Cristina a 10 minute drive west from Benavente.

I cast from the gravel beach area below the weir into deeper water towards the island on my right using a caddis imitation dry fly lure. No luck, what I should have done was to cast a spinner to cover the wide expanse of water. And perhaps bag a large pike that grow fat on the trout that are stocked in abundance. I took lunch in a popular chiringuito – snack bar situated upstream from the bridge by the factory.

In the afternoon I crossed over the bridge and took the first left turn and headed 7 km down to the Tera River located at Mózar. This is the fly-fishing destination that was recommended to me by the manager of the Zapatero – shoe shop situated in Benavente.

I witnessed a small boy catch five fish in one hour by the road bridge. He did better than me. Being a lowland rivers the Tera experiences the best fishing in late season, September and October where high water levels are preserved in tabladas behind the dams.

On my final day I drove from Benavente up the flat Tera River plain along the A-52 towards the town of Puebla de Sanabria situated in the beautiful Sierra de la Segundera. Anglers may fish the beautiful Lago de Sanabria, and the surrounding rivers:  the Truchas, Tuela, Bibey, Forcandura and Trefacio.

Benavente is a happy place with a restored historic centre offering a generous selection of refurbished bars and a very nice Victorian theatre. There is a great view of the surrounding rivers from the promenade by the Parador hotel where I stayed for a few nights.

The regional fishing licence costs €8.25: per year and also covers Benavente details of where Buscalo readers may obtain a fishing licence, day tickets and detailed directions to the rivers in the region of Castilla y León: including fishing season periods are available in Phil Pembroke’s books on Fly-Fishing in Northern Spain.

For those interested in taking a rewarding fishing holiday in Spain visit Phil’s website: for some great fishing challenges.

I stayed at the superbly appointed Parador “Hostal San Marcos” in León (Convent de San Marcos) and Parador Rey Fernando II de León in Benavente. Readers ca n book the great value Parador bed and breakfast accommodation via my website: click on Spanish fishing holidays.

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