FLY FISHING IN ASTURIAS

The ultimate guide to fly fishing in Asturias: species, season, licenses, regulations, and much more.

The Principality of Asturias was once a true paradise for fly fishing. This Spanish region provided excellent opportunities to catch brown trout, sea trout, and salmon. However, inadequate fishing management has led to a concerning decline in populations. Some of its most famous rivers include the Cares, the Sella, and the Narcea.

Our fly fishing trips in Asturias

Fly Fishing Cantabrian Range

CANTABRIAN MOUNTAIN RANGE TOUR

INDEX

WHY CHOOSE ASTURIAS FOR FLY FISHING?

The Principality of Asturias stands out as a true paradise for fly fishermen, blending a picturesque coastline with excellent opportunities to catch salmon, sea trout, and brown trout in the rivers that descend from the Picos de Europa. Despite the concerning decline in populations due to improper management, Asturias remains a worthwhile destination in Spain that deserves to be explored.

We have compiled a series of points highlighting the main reasons to visit the Principality of Asturias:

  • Species Diversity: Asturias offers a unique variety of species, from the majestic brown trout to the prized salmon and elusive sea trout. The diversity of Asturian waters allows fishermen to enjoy fishing for various species in a single day.
  • Dry Fly Fishing: Asturias is a region with crystal-clear rivers where it is very common for trout to feed on the surface. It is also true that some of the most selective and challenging trout in the country can be found in Asturias. Dry fly fishing leaves no room for errors, making it a practice suitable only for anglers who love significant challenges and are highly experienced.
  • Fishing and Tradition: Every year, at the end of March, the opening of the fishing season in the Principality becomes a media event to discover who, where, and how catches the first salmon. This first salmon is called «Campanu,» derived from the Spanish word for bell, «campana.» In times of hunger, most likely during the Middle Ages, the ringing of the bells in each church announced the sighting of the first salmon ascending each year, alerting the population to seize an important source of food.
  • Picos de Europa: The natural environment of the Picos de Europa provides a stunning backdrop for fly fishing. For those who don’t fish, the region offers exceptional opportunities to relax on the beach, explore beautiful rivers for adventure sports, or embark on exciting excursions in the extraordinary mountainous landscape.
  • Variety of Accommodations: From quaint mountain hotels to luxurious Paradores, Asturias provides accommodation options for every taste. The proximity and small size of the region allow guided fishing trips to be offered from any of the aforementioned accommodations.
  • Exceptional Gastronomy: The rich Asturian cuisine reflects the abundance of its landscapes, offering everything from wild fish and seafood to mountain lamb and artisanal cheeses. Local cider and the famous Asturian fabada complete a unique culinary experience.
Fly fishing in Spain - Completed Guide

WHAT SPECIES CAN BE FISHED WITH FLY FISHING IN ASTURIAS?

In the Principality of Asturias, a total of 24 species of freshwater fish are recorded. The most prominent for fly fishing are the following:

  • Brown Trout: Asturian brown trout are of Atlantic origin, as all their basins flow into the Cantabrian Sea. This fish has a widespread distribution in the region, occupying practically all river courses, even reaching altitudes of up to 1450 meters. Its presence has been observed in mountain lakes for decades, with documented introductions in several lakes starting from 1881, including Lake Enol, La Cueva, Valle, Calabazosa, Arbás, and more recently, in Lake Ubales.
  • Atlantic Salmon: The Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar Linnaeus) is an anadromous species that regularly inhabits various basins in Asturias, such as Eo, Porcía, Navia, Esva, Nalón, Sella, Bedón, Purón, and Deva. Its populations are clearly declining, and it is considered to be very close to extinction. The main reasons for this deterioration are climate change, overfishing in the high seas, and water pollution.
  • Rainbow Trout: The rainbow trout, an exotic species native to North America, was first introduced to Asturias in 1907 in Lake Calabazosa. The introduction practice spread to other lakes such as those in Somiedo and Covadonga, as well as the Arbás lagoon. In 1968, the first industrial rainbow trout hatchery was established in Asturias, resulting in its more frequent presence in rivers due to accidental escapes. Although it inhabits reservoirs and lagoons, it lacks reproductive capacity in the region, disappearing from the environment after a while following the cessation of introductions.
  • Brook Trout: An exotic species native to North America, introduced to Spain in the late 19th century. The first introduction was recorded in Lake Calabazosa in 1907, and it was subsequently introduced to other mountain lakes, such as Lake La Cueva. Currently, the breeding population seems to have survived only in Lake Calabazosa in Somiedo, while it has disappeared from other lakes where it was introduced.
Fly fishing in Spain - Completed Guide

FLY FISHING SEASON IN ASTURIAS

The fly fishing season in Asturias varies depending on whether you’re interested in fishing in the sea or the rivers and lakes of the region. If you’re interested in sea fishing, you can fish all year round. However, if you’re keen on catching trout and salmon, the season is as follows:

  • Trout, reo, and other species (except salmon): Allowed from the 3rd Sunday of March until August 15, and in catch-and-release fishing stretches, it extends until October 15, except in salmon areas without catch-and-release, which conclude on August 15.
  • Salmon with catch-and-kill: Authorized from the 1st Sunday of April to July 15.
  • Salmon catch-and-release only: Allowed from the 3rd Sunday of March until the opening of catch-and-kill salmon and from July 16 to 31. These periods do not apply to fishing “cotos” and bordering areas of the Eo and Deva, where salmon fishing with catch-and-kill starts on the 1st Sunday of April and ends on July 15, with or without catch-and-release.
  • Starting June 16, catch-and-release is the only allowed method in the upper basin areas, such as upstream of the fishing refuges of Mestas in the Narcea, Brieves scale in the Esva, Ñoña in the Sella, and Niserias Reserve in the Cares.
Fly fishing in Spain - Completed Guide

Exceptions:

  • In “cotos” and catch-and-release sections, except those located in salmon areas, the fishing season extends until October 15.
  • In border areas, such as Navia with Galicia and Deva with Cantabria, fishing concludes on July 31.
  • In salmon and mountain areas, fishing is allowed from the 3rd Sunday in May until August 15. In salmon areas, fishing with dead bait is authorized from the 1st Sunday in April, provided the trout exceeds the minimum size of 24 cm.
  • Intensive fishing reservoirs La Granda, San Andrés (Aboño), and Trasona: Authorized from March 1 to November 30.

FLY FISHING REGULATIONS IN ASTURIAS

The Principality of Asturias annually publishes fly fishing regulations in the Official Gazette of the Principality of Asturias. This document encompasses fishing quotas, fishing periods, water classification, permitted baits, penalties for non-compliance with the regulations, and other relevant aspects.

If you intend to fish in this region, it is crucial to familiarize yourself with these regulations in detail. You can access the regulations through this link: [ASTURIAS FISHING REGULATIONS].

FLY FISHING LICENSE IN THE ASTURIAS REGION

To engage in fly fishing in Asturias, it is imperative to possess a fishing license specific to the region or an interregional license.

PRINCIPALITY OF ASTURIAS FISHING LICENSE:

The fishing license for the Principality of Asturias can be obtained through in-person submission at the Citizen Service Offices, Assistance Offices for Registration Matters of the Councils of the Principality of Asturias, or via the online submission option. The latter allows for the process to be carried out on the Electronic Registry of the Principality of Asturias, the General Electronic Registry of the General State Administration, or the electronic registry of entities mentioned in Law 39/2015. The challenge lies in the fact that foreign fishermen may not have the digital certificate or digital key required for this procedure.

Therefore, you have three options: hire the services of a guide who will process the fishing license on your behalf, process the license in person at the designated offices, or manage the interregional license.

INTERREGIONAL FISHING LICENSE:

The interregional license allows you to engage in fishing in rivers and bodies of water in the Principality of Asturias, designated as «free zones,» as well as in Castilla y León, Extremadura, Madrid, Valencia, Aragón, and Galicia.

FLY FISHING GUIDES IN THE ASTURIAS REGION

If you are interested in hiring a fly fishing guide in Asturias, we recommend opting for a certified guide. Fishing guides will take you to locations where, depending on the time of year, there are optimal conditions for fly fishing and tailor the experience to your skill level. It’s important to note that fly fishing in Asturias is highly technical, so we always recommend that clients have a good level of fishing skill to achieve successful results.

Moreover, fishing guides can help organize parallel activities for those not participating in fishing. Asturias is a region with numerous cultural and gastronomic possibilities, as well as opportunities for adventure sports.