As I may have mentioned in my previous blog on fly fishing in Spain, the season is or can be a short one. With that in mind & fall / winter quickly marching in, I decided I really wanted to have a go at some of the high mountain rivers in the Pyrenees. A wee bit of research and I was in touch with Chema @ Danica Guides. And as luck would have it, he and his lovely wife Marta also run the phenomenal La Casa del Río hotel. So we were off…FYI – this blog post will be more pictures & less text as I was also blessed with an ace photographer as well as a professional trout guide!
Anywhere is a long drive in my 1975 Series III Land Rover (Gertie) so we tried to make the most of it and stopped off at various sites for a look see and often a cold cerveza. Hound #1 requires a few piss & poo stops so we pulled over at this lovely looking reservoir where quite a few folks were either having a dip (it was a warm one) or fishing. Litter is a big problem in just about every place we have lived, but I think sometimes Spain is vying for the global championship.
The very final stretch of our travels presented the Land Rover with a wickedly winding gorge road that paralleled the Ésera River the whole way – sometimes several hundred yards/metres above with shear drop offs that gave Hound #2 the willies.
But we made it safe & sound and received a warm & wonderful welcome at La Casa del Río….we were most def ready for a beverage or three, some comestibles and a good bed!
A sign I like to see upon arrival! And BTW, La Casa del Río is also very dog friendly which gets a solid 2 thumbs and 1 paw up from this crew.
The weather could not have been more co-operative and we awoke our first morning to a stunningly sunny, bright blue sky day…and a estupendo breakfast which was exactly the food fortification we would need for our full on day of activities.
The river water in the high mountains of the valle de Benasque is stunningly pretty – clear as the water that I find in my home rivers in New Zealand. But the fly fishing style is a bit different than most of New Zealand fishing as these rivers are quite bouldery with small pools of pocket water. It can be difficult wading at times, and much of the actual fishing is dapping a dry fly with a nymph dropper on the water surface with very little fly line out, mostly leader.
One of the things I had to learn when I moved from New Zealand to the UK and now Spain is that the trout are damn quick on the take. It is a common piece of advice or practice in New Zealand that when you see a trout take the fly, you need to say “God Save the Queen” (or the real Kiwi phrase – “Bloody Hell – a fish”) so as not to strike too early. Not here…
On numerous occasions during my two days of fishing with Chema we had some challenging boulder scrambles and tricky casting perches.
As the first day wound down to a close, Chema took me to a section of the Ésera River lower in the valley where it flattens out a bit and looks a bit more like your normal river. We stayed at it until dark or I was unable to see the fly and were rewarded with some very solid hookups & fish!
As I mentioned above, the quality of the river water struck a New Zealand chord with me as did much of the flora and fauna (of which Chema was supremely knowledgable)…just a wee squint of my eyes and I could have been fishing one of my fave rivers Down Under.
And Hound #1 is a faithful wee boy – it’s just that rivers and fast moving & sometimes deep water is not really his thing. So he and Hound #2 joined us for a wonderful lunch each day for a chance to recharge the batteries and then they were off to hike the valley & mountains.
We also greatly appreciated the fact that besides giving me 2 excellent days of fly fishing in the Pyrenees, Chema organised the day’s activities to easily include Hounds #1 & #2 in the fun. Muchas gracias…
Halfway through the second day I, by George, think I got it, the pocket pool fishing & it was fun…