ZEBRA TROUT FLY FISHING IN PYRENEES
The Mediterranean trout is the fish per excellence of the Pyrenean rivers. The Mediterranean trout before Salmo trutta fario macrostigma and currently Salmo trutta. This trout is mainly characterized by three broad bands or dark bands that can be seen clearly on the sides of the fish in contrast to wide and lighter spaces. Another fundamental feature is the number of black spots on the head of the fish and located in a number not less than 16 (points) on the operculum and on the cheek, with a large and diffuse spot, similar to a charcoal spot, in each one of the opercula of the trout. It is a very old fish that appeared in the tertiary era, therefore multimillion, and that has practically not undergone evident modifications in its morphology and in its exoskeleton. Physiologically it is characterized mainly by a very elongated body, with a wide and powerful tail and a large head with huge and large jaws. Indeed, the Mediterranean trout is a fish of the tertiary period, therefore one of the oldest inhabitants of planet Earth, with a morphology and physiognomy that has not changed in thousands of years. In short it is a species tremendously adapted to the environment in which it lives, the rivers of the Pyrenees in this case, and customs clearly marked, as they are, the ordinary moths of insects, caution and camouflage.
The Mediterranean trout is a salmonid of diurnal activity fundamentally, although in the summer it can prolong its activity until well into the night. Hunting throughout the day, although this activity is always reduced by too much light or too much heat, that is, the Sun clearly determines its hours of activity. On cloudy or slightly rainy days, the fish hunts insects, stirs stones in search of nymphs or pursues other smaller fish, such as the small river fish and other small cyprinids, which are also part of their usual diet. They are tremendously scary and when they are disturbed or persecuted too much, they become rough and elusive. Its skin, replete with marks in the form of small crimson red spots and smoky blacks, printed on a yellowish olive-brown background, gives it a woody and ancestral aspect. In short, the Mediterranean trout is a fish with an excellent camouflage in an aquatic environment of torrential regime. In the Pyrenean rivers they are the fish par excellence living and occupying any corner and stone of the river. Thus we find them stationed in the wells, very numerous in the Pyrenean rivers, the impetuous currents and the backwaters and tables. They almost always look for the banks, covered or not with vegetation, the gentle water in the middle of a great current, but they also bet on the curl of the strongest current to emerge from time to time in the capture of insects. The most effective way to catch this trout is to look for it on the river bank, because whenever possible you can bet on it or very close to it. For this reason it is convenient to fish slowly without making noise and without entering the river. One of the best fishermen I have ever met told me that fishing boots should almost always be on the dry shore.
The best fishing hours in spring are at noon, extending throughout the day during June and in the hottest months, that is, July and August, circumscribe fishing in the sunrises and sunsets. The size of the fish is very variable depending on the river basin and the size and characteristics of the river that is found. As a general rule, Mediterranean trout have a length of 22 to 24cm, although in any river there is usually a good number of larger specimens, between 30 and 35cm. From this measure onwards it is harder to find many larger fish, being the 40 to 45cm more difficult to fish simply because there are much smaller fish. The large Mediterranean trouts also exist and are fished with some normality. They are fish of 50 to 60cm that although they are not anything habitual, it is also possible to fish some during several days of fishing. In the Segre are the largest specimens to catch them with a fly rod. The upper area of the river is the best of all and every year there are numerous fish weighing more than two kilos and a length of 60cm and even more (up to 75cm). The zone of La Seu to Puigcerdà is the one that offers many wells and currents where to tempt a great specimen.
Other rivers of the Pyrenees such as the two Nogueras (the Pallaresa and the Ribagorzana) as well as their relatives in the Aragonese part (Eséra, Ara and Gállego) or the French (Aude) have an abundance of Mediterranean trout but not large ones. say: many fish less than 35cm and only some older. All these rivers are very fast and fast, with a steep slope that gives their waters an amazing strength, but in which their trout have a clearly smaller development unlike a smaller river but calm waters where the fish can eat quietly for the whole day. The difference with the Segre is that it is located in a large and long glacial tank that makes the river flatten and become slower and deeper, which trout eat better and in more quantity. The case of the Segre bears a certain similarity with the riviere d’Ain, in which good and large specimens are also found and which, curiously, are also repeated, as in the case of the Segre, episodes of drought. They are oriental rivers with very permeable gravel and sand bottoms, this makes them prone to drain and therefore lose water quickly, even more so if it is treated during the summer period when there is greater sunstroke. The capture of a copy or several of Mediterranean trout is not difficult as at first glance you might think, on the contrary, when the fish is eating, normally if it is calm it will take with some ease the artificial one that we present, be it a dry fly or a nymph. Your battle can start with a big jump of this when caught, but usually the fish will go to the bottom and downstream to try to get rid of the hook. One characteristic is that this trout will not hesitate to take refuge under the first stone it finds or under a fallen tree. When the fattening period is over, you can remain in a long period of inactivity, paying no attention to anything that we present to you until you return to action several hours later. This can provoke the exasperation of any fisherman.
The most recommended flies are the following: ephemera’s olives, deer hair trichopteers, attractive flies such as the Royal Wulf, ants, diptera and blackbirds, phaisant tail and hare ear nymphs, the buckshot (perdigones) are equally effective nymphing with european style. The fly rods to be used are normally of line weight 4 and 5, and currently with the modernization of the blanks also of the 2 and 3 wt. The length between 8.5 and 10 feet mostly, but smaller rods like the 7 feet can be used for fishing to dry in streams or those from 10.5 to 11 feet for fishing the nymph european style in large rivers.
~ Carles V.