Ultimate guide on fly fishing in Cantabria: species, season, license, regulations, and much more.

Cantabria, a region in Spain, offers excellent opportunities for fly fishing enthusiasts. In Cantabria, anglers can pursue brown trout, sea trout, and Atlantic salmon. Among the most renowned rivers for fly fishing in the region are the Saja, Ason, Miera, Deva, and Ebro.

Our fly fishing trips in Cantabria

Fly Fishing Cantabrian Range




Cantabria is a region in northern Spain with rivers belonging to three major basins: Ebro (flowing into the Mediterranean Sea), Duero (flowing into the Atlantic Ocean), and Cuenca Norte (flowing into the Cantabrian Sea). This is the region’s first allure, as from its capital, Santander, within an hour’s radius, one can fish three different varieties of brown trout.

Another characteristic of the region is its milder temperatures compared to what its latitude would suggest, similar to that of Nova Scotia in North America. Cantabria has a humid oceanic temperate climate, with mild summers and winters, thanks to the Gulf Stream.

We have summarized in a series of points the reasons we believe Cantabria is an excellent destination for fly fishing:

  • Brown Trout and Sea Trout: Cantabria boasts numerous rivers with beautiful brown trout. Due to the proximity of rivers to the Cantabrian Sea, anadromous trout (sea trout) can be found. Fishing for these trout can be highly technical and challenging at times, making it a region where dry fly fishing is prevalent.
  • Atlantic Salmon: Rivers such as Asón, Pas, Nansa, and Deva historically supported healthy salmon populations. Similar to Asturias, salmon populations are declining in Cantabria, and fewer salmon are ascending its rivers.
  • Rivers with Stunning Natural Settings: The region, sheltered by the renowned Picos de Europa, offers wild mountains and enchanting valleys. Well-kept villages and magnificently preserved nature create a moving environment.
  • Accessibility of Rivers from the Capital: There are diverse rivers approximately an hour’s drive from the city of Santander. Additionally, Cantabria is conveniently close to Bilbao Airport, with numerous international flights.
  • Other Aspects: Tourist attractions in Cantabria for an American visitor include the Altamira Caves, famous for prehistoric cave paintings, the Magdalena Palace in Santander, the Santo Toribio de Liébana Monastery, and the charming town of Comillas with its historical architecture. The Picos de Europa offer breathtaking landscapes, while cities like Santander stand out for their beaches, the Magdalena Palace, and the Botín Center. Cantabrian cuisine, featuring specialties such as cocido montañés, Santoña anchovies, and local cheeses, is also a prominent attraction. Additionally, nature spots like the Caballo Lighthouse, El Soplao Cave, and the Sequoia Forest add a unique dimension to the experience.
Fly fishing in Spain - Completed Guide


The fly fishing season in Cantabria varies depending on whether your interest lies in fishing in the sea or the rivers and lakes of the region. For sea fishing, it is allowed throughout the year. However, if your goal is to catch trout and salmon, the season is as follows:

  • Salmon fishing is permitted from April 1 until reaching the maximum catch limit per river or the extended quota. If the authorized quota is not reached, the fishing season will conclude on June 30.
  • Common trout fishing is authorized from April 1 to July 31, with exceptions outlined in the corresponding annexes for each basin.
  • Fishing for other species is allowed from April 1 to July 31, with exceptions detailed in the corresponding annexes for each basin, if any.
Fly fishing in Spain - Completed Guide


The Cantabria Continental Hunting or Fishing License is a necessary and non-transferable document for inland hunting or fly fishing in the region. Issued by the Department of Rural Development, Livestock, Fishing, Food, and the Environment, it is valid for one, two, or three years, with exemptions for individuals aged over 65, under 18, and those with a disability exceeding 33%. The application, which requires parental/guardian authorization for minors, is done electronically through SOLÍA (, with payment via credit card or electronic certificate. Upon payment, the license document in PDF format can be generated for printing, and in case of loss, it can be regenerated by entering the details into SOLÍA.