FLY FISHING IN SAN SEBASTIÁN

All You Need to Know About Fly Fishing in San Sebastián: Species, Season, License, Regulations, and More.

San Sebastián is a city in the Basque Country, renowned for its haute cuisine, pintxos, and the beautiful La Concha beach. What few anglers may know is that during the fall, winter, and spring, you can fish for brown and rainbow trout in its intensive fishing grounds of Leitzarán and Araxes.

Our Fly Fishing Trips from San Sebastian

Fly fishing in Spain - Completed Guide

SAN SEBASTIAN TROUT GUIDED DAY

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TOUR PYRENEES – BASQUE COUNTRY

INDEX

WHY CHOOSE SAN SEBASTIAN FOR FLY FISHING?

Many fishermen do not know that just 30 minutes from San Sebastian, Playa de la Concha, of the Palace of the Cathedral of the Good Shepherd or the pintxos bars of the old town, it is possible to enjoy fly fishing in Spain.

The best-known river is the Leitzarán River, as it passes through the municipality of Andoain.  It is a river with its tributary, the Oria, which has excellent populations of large rainbow trout. The fishermen can enjoy guided fishing in a medium-sized river, crystal clear waters where fishing has practiced both nymph, dry, and streamer. Depending on the conditions of the river and the time of year.

The best area of the river for fishing is the famous preserve that has the name of the river, the Coto de Pesca de Leizarán. To fish these waters, you need the fishing license of Guipuzcua and a daily pass. This stretch of river has a length of 5 km. Its upper limit is located in the dam, and the lower is at the mouth of the leitzaran river confluence with the Oria river. Take note that only fishing without death is allowed.

Secondly, the river we guide the most is the Araxes. It is a river where the fisherman can fish for both rainbow and brown trout. Some of the perfect sizes. This river is a little smaller than the Leizarán.

Its best fishing section is the Araxes River’s intensive reserve, with a length of 6 km. This river allows dry fly fishing, as well as nymph and streamer, which we will find all kinds of fishing positions, both currents and boards.  The upper limit of this section is in the Insalus dam in Lizarza, and the lower limit is in the Amaroz neighborhood dam.

To a lesser extent, we fish rivers such as the Agaunza and other small streams hidden in the heart of the Basque mountains.

WHAT SPECIES CAN BE FLY FISHED NEAR SAN SEBASTIAN?

In the vicinity of San Sebastian, the most prominent species for fly fishing are brown trout and rainbow trout. Although salmon used to migrate up the Bidasoa River and its tributary, the Endara Creek, their presence is diminishing. Despite not being the ideal destination for saltwater fly fishing, there are still some opportunities to catch species such as sea bass, mahi-mahi, and Little tunny.

Fly fishing in Spain - Completed Guide

FRESHWATER SPECIES THAT CAN BE FLY FISHED NEAR SAN SEBASTIAN

Let’s delve into the details of each species inhabiting the vicinity of San Sebastian:

Brown Trout: The brown trout, locally known in Euskera as «Ibai Amuarraina» and in Spanish as «trucha común,» is a fish that inhabits some of the rivers near San Sebastian, although it has disappeared from some basins due to pollution and insufficient river flow. Despite these challenges, wild populations still persist in certain rivers. Additionally, there is the migratory variant, the «sea trout.» Sea trout is scarce in the Oiartzun and Urumea basins but more abundant in the Bidasoa basin.

Atlantic Salmon: The Atlantic salmon is a migratory species in decline on the Iberian Peninsula. It is born in rivers, migrates to the sea, and returns to the river to reproduce after a variable period in the sea, ranging from one to three years. Near San Sebastian, salmon can be found in the Bidasoa, Urumea, and Oria basins, with occasional sightings in other basins.

Rainbow Trout: Rainbow trout, being less demanding in terms of temperature, oxygen, and pollution tolerance, is used in degraded stretches for the creation of intensive fishing reserves, such as Leitzarán.

FLY FISHING SEASON IN SAN SEBASTIAN

If you’re interested in fly fishing for trout near San Sebastian, it’s important to consider two fishing seasons depending on the scenario in the province of Guipúzcoa where you plan to fish:

The trout fishing season in inland waters typically begins the first week of April and extends until late July. However, in the catch-and-release fishing areas of Araxes, Zelai, Leizaran I, and Leizaran II, the season usually starts in mid-March.

On the other hand, intensive fishing reserves will have the following opening dates:

  • Agauntza: from October 1, 2023, to March 31, 2024.
  • Araxes: from August 1, 2023, to March 15, 2024.
  • Leitzaran: from September 1, 2023, to March 31, 2024.
Fly fishing in Spain - Completed Guide

FLY FISHING REGULATIONS IN SAN SEBASTIAN

If you are interested in fishing near San Sebastián, it is essential to consult the inland fishing regulations in Guipúzcoa, also known as the Guipúzcoa fishing book. This document is updated annually and can be found in Spanish through an internet search.

FISHING LICENSES AND PERMITS IN SAN SEBASTIAN

Guipúzcoa is a province in the Basque Country, an Autonomous Community of Spain. Therefore, if you wish to fish near San Sebastian, it is essential to have the fishing license for the Basque Country.

The Basque Government currently categorizes fishing licenses into two main types: river licenses and maritime licenses.

To obtain a river fishing license in Euskadi, you need to submit the following documents:

  • ID card, passport, or driver’s license.
  • Citizens of European Union member states: passport or ID document accepted in the home state.
  • Non-European Union citizens: passport.

The license can be obtained in person at one of the Agricultural Regional Offices (OCA) or through this link: http://mobi.nekagip.eus/Arrantzabaimena/Default.aspx?idioma=es&AspxAutoDetectCookieSupport=1

In some rivers, in addition to the fishing license, it may be necessary to obtain a daily pass or fishing reserve permit. These daily permits provide access to the best waters in the region and can be purchased at the following link: https://arrantza-paseak.aplikazioak.gipuzkoa.eus/cotos

FLY FISHING GUIDES IN SAN SEBASTIAN

Hiring a fishing guide from San Sebastian can be an excellent choice for anglers who want to enjoy a hassle-free experience and maximize their fishing in the region. Fishing guides are well-versed in the complex regulations and offer benefits such as providing equipment and gear, selecting optimal locations, and handling the processing of licenses and permits, sparing the angler from the task of doing it themselves. It is crucial to verify the legality and insurance of the fishing guide company, and in many cases, these reliable guides are often associated with travel agencies that offer combined packages for a more comprehensive and convenient experience. Despite the apparent higher cost, investing in a fishing guide can be worthwhile to ensure a seamless experience and optimize fishing in the area.