Now there must be a good, damn reason why I went to the Pyrenees, correct? Yes! Another fishing trip for this elusive fish species: Zebra Trout! I’ve never even heard of this type of trout before so after doing some reading about the possibilities of catching them only in the Pyrenees, I knew that I had to do this fly fishing for them. An unusual fish species… well, kind of. More like a subspecies of a Brown Trout that somehow got cut off from the rest of the Europe during the Ice Age. Well… that’s what people say. Zebra Trout is not a separate fish/trout species. It’s actually a subspecies of Brown Trout due to the black vertical markings on each side of the body.
I was extremely excited on this day as I was hoping for great success, bigger than the last time I fished which happened to be a 7 pound pike in the UK. Spain has always been good to me since the last time I fished in Spain, I ended up fighting a 110 kg (240 pound) thresher shark and landed it! My all-time best, heaviest fish caught so far so I’m looking for some similar excitement and a good catch as well. Of course, fishing in alpine/mountainous rivers and creeks don’t always produce monsters but you just never know. I pulled up a 14 pound lingcod out of nowhere not really expecting it.
At first, I have to admit that it was challenging because I knew how to fly fish with my most recent trip not too long ago fly-fishing in the UK but because I was using a lighter rod with a lighter line being used on narrower water lanes aka a creek, let’s just say that it’s been awhile since I did this. I think I missed the first ten trout by being too late on getting that hook set. But then I changed tactics to be much faster on setting the hook and that’s when I finally started landing these fish! My first hookup and land was a tiny Zebra Trout, my intended fish species! In these waters where there isn’t a lot of food sources, the fish tend to be a lot smaller so there aren’t any trophy-sized fish here.
Overall, I had a lot of fun catching these tiny fish because it’s not that easy having to cast with a fly rod (sometimes a little far at times to get the proper distance) and accurately aim the area you want while being ready to set the hook. I must have caught about 80 of these fish in two days and probably lost close to 50 fish. My guide was telling me that most people that go to these creeks only catch about 15 fish in a SINGLE day! What??? I caught 80 of them in 2 days even though it’s been years since the last time I went mountain creek fly-fishing! I must have transferred that big game fly-fishing skills to the Pyrenees!
Luckily, after one day of fishing, I was able to complete my task at hand: catching a Zebra Trout. So instead of needing two days, I completed the task on the first day with the second day being more of fishing for a much bigger fish but sometimes you cannot force it to happen. Unlike the failures in Slovenia for Danube Salmon and in Scotland for Atlantic Salmon, I was able to catch a specific European fish species for once! No more failure juice for me back at the hotel and airport! You can pour that right into the toilet and not on the fabric making all those stains on it. I guess the biggest fish that I caught was about 25-30 cm long despite catching about 80 of them. That’s just how it is, but a lot of fun.
Some requirements should be heeded before doing this – make sure you know how to fish, know how to fly fish with a floating line and dry fly (and practice it like I did in the UK about a month prior to this trip), be in shape (there is a lot of hiking and walking around!) and know Spanish. You could get an English-speaking guide but it happened to be that my guide was Spanish only. It kind of reminded me of the fishing that I did in La Paz, Mexico, on the San Juan River in Nicaragua, and out in the jungle of Peru: these people are only speaking Spanish. English might be understood to a small extent, but my Spanish fishing guide was not as well versed as the other European guides in Madeira, Azores, Iceland, Slovenia, and Czech Republic since they see a lot more tourists so they are able to learn the language quicker. You could go without knowledge of Spanish but it might make it tougher to communicate any advanced tactics. Usually though once the guide sees how you fish, then he might not say much at all if you know what you are doing. So if you catch less than 15 in one day then there’s probably something wrong with your fly-fishing ability and knowing Spanish would probably help a LOT.