Fly – fishing for Native Brown Trout in the Pyrenees of Spain

The colour of trout

Most trout found in the Pyrenees of Spain are of central European origin whereas the original native brown trout of those drainage basins that flow into the Mediterranean is known – in quite a few circles - as the zebra trout or striped trout. One look at the livery of this native trout will reveal the reason behind the name This ecotype - the Caspian - Mediterranean group is the oldest lineage that lives in the water courses that flow into the Mediterranean as far as the Caspian Sea. This type of trout probably sought refuge there during the last European Ice Age. The most notable feature about these native brown trout is the presence of four dark coloured stripes- allowing it to camouflage itself against the stream bed - coupled with a generally pale body colour. Of course, colour is subject to habitat and source of food SALVELINUS guides have witnessed how these native trout can vary the intensity of body colours, especially the four dark stripes, in a question of minutes. This type of change can be found in certain salt water fish. Although such a claim would appear, on the surface, to lack scientific rigour, SALVELINUS has uploaded various cases of this happening which can be found on YouTube

These trout are indigenous and have lived in these waters for thousands of years and are fully adapted to their habitat. Mountain streams with cobble and rock covered beds are often struck by flash floods and other sudden surges in the water level. As a result, these trout seemed to have developed larger than normal pectoral fins. This is quite noticeable in juvenile fish which possess pectoral fins that are as long as a quarter of the total body length. Obviously, without this feature the trout just wouldn´t survive. Another trait of this trout is its fast yet selective feeding habits. Sometimes speed is such that angler believe that it is not taking the fly, however, the solution is to strike faster. Those who have caught both the indigenous brown trout and the central European sourced brown trout reckon a 10 inch long indigenous trout puts up as much fight as a 15 inch long “standard” brown trout The indigenous trout can reach up to 12 pounds in the lower stretches of the water courses in the Pyrenees of Spain with some exceptional specimens topping the scales at 18 pounds. Still water shave witnessed fish of over 20 pounds. Once it weighs more than 5 pounds it becomes a predatory feeding on crayfish, other fish and large nymphs. Selective, very territorial and tremendously strong, it poses a real challenge if you are looking for trophy fish.

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