The world is just coming to discover carp fishing in Spain, where monster carp of more than 70 pounds have recently been caught. The truth is, fishing in Spain has always been a particular joy of mine. The place is wild, with great weather and wonderful cuisine. Not to mention the drink.
Carp Fishing in Spain
Spain’s waterways were stocked before the turn of the Millenium. Most of the big lakes and rivers there now harbor some of the biggest carp and catfish you have ever seen, thanks to very favorable conditions. And the kicker is, many of them are as of yet uncaught.
You definitely should get yourself the chance to angle for carp in Spain. I will tell you all about it in this article.
Rules and Regulations of Carp Fishing in Spain
To fish in Spain, you need to have a license and a local angling permit. The permit is pretty easy to obtain even as a foreigner, but the license can be a real headache.
To get the license, you need to be 16 years or older. You can apply for a Spanish fishing license from the territorial ministry of the Environment (Ministerio de Medio Ambiente). One thing that sucks about it is that you need to pass an exam in Spanish to get it. It can take over a month just to get the results.
However, if you currently hold a foreign fishing licence, you’re in luck. You won’t have to do the exam. I got mine on the same day, although I had the services of a guide. I would recommend having one too, at least for the first few days.
You can also get one online from Telelicencia, but fast approval is not guaranteed. In most regions, I discovered that you will need fishing insurance in case of civil liability. It’s a good idea to buy the cover before applying.
Once you have the fishing license, getting a carp fishing permit for any area is a piece of cake. You can just visit local tackle shops or have your guide pick one up for you.
There are three types of waters you can fish in. Free (Libros) waters do not require a permit so long as you have the license. Restricted (cotos) waters require one, while fisheries (intensivos) require permits that can be bought from local shops.
Also note that:
- Live bait is forbidden in most of the locations, especially the Ebro river.
- Fishing nets are not allowed.
- In the Aragon region, you can fish up to 2200hrs.
- You can do night fishing if you are a member of a Catalonia fishing club.
- Carp fishing is strictly catch-and-release.
- Excessive baiting with pellets is not allowed.
- The maximum number of rods allowed per angler is 2.
Carp Fishing Seasons in Spain
Spain is a relatively warm country and is unaffected by temperature changes and other limitations. Its waters are also well stocked with carp. The happy result of this is that you can angle for fish all year round.
However, the peak season is during Spring and Autumn. Some fisheries also close over July and August in case of excessive heat.
Best Carp Fishing Locations in Spain
Spain has a rich carp fishing industry. Most of it is based on natural waters, although these can be publicly or privately managed. You will hear most people referring to certain regions such as the Extremadura, Aragon, or even the Ebro river.
From the time I spent in Spain angling for carp, I got to experience all of the top spots. Here is what I think about them.
Lake Orellana is without a doubt one of the best carp fishing spots in all of Europe. It is located within the famous Extremadura area and is part of the Guadiana river system. It was created when the river was dammed in the ’60s and currently occupies over 12300 acres.
Lake Orellana was stocked with carp shortly after creation. Since then, it has remained largely undisturbed. Given the rich water system the carp found themselves in, they have grown to be real hard-fighting monsters.
Word got out about the lake when a 30 kg/66lb monster was caught, with rumors of even bigger ones remaining uncaught. The lake has seen recent improvements to aid access, so you really need to get there for a piece of the action.
The Ebro river system is one of the largest in Spain and Europe at large. It has long been a famous carp fishing spot, and more so now that more people are realizing how much potential is present in Spain.
The Ebro river is home to some of the biggest and heaviest carp you have ever seen. It is not uncommon to catch 50+ lb mirrors there. Even better, those fish are fighters. They will test your warrior spirit to the utmost.
If you want a challenge, the Ebro is the place to go. There are deep dammed sections, shallow fast flowing ones, weeded areas, and more. Even better, there are some huge commons in the river, with the current record being at 83lbs/37.6kg.
In winter, the carp tend to congregate and move in shoals. With a bit of luck and some skill, you can get on the best fishing streak of your life.
The Sierra Brava is an artificial lake created in 1996 by the damming of the River Pizarose. It is one of the few stocked lakes in Spain, and over 15000 carp of different kinds were introduced. As of today, those carps have grown to an astonishing size and make the Sierra Brava an ‘angler’s paradise.’
The lake occupies 4077 acres and has an average depth of 26ft/7.9m, although it can go as much as 82ft/24.9m.
It has many rock drop-offs, plateaus, and weeded sections that make for the perfect carp angling spot. You can expect to regularly land 30lb carps, and even 50lbs with some luck.
There have been reports of 70lb carp caught in the Sierra Brava. Who knows what jackpot you might hit, given that the lake is still wild and the fish largely untamed.
Yet another popular lake in the Extremadura area, Horno Tejero is the ultimate carp fishing challenge for the pros. It consists of about 7 swims in total covering its marshy waters.
The lake is known to have the biggest concentration of monster carp in Europe and possibly in the world. Some years ago, a virulent disease called Carp Verenia killed most of the small fish, including thousands in the 22-44lb range.
Now, Horno Tejero is full of crayfish and other small fish that carp love. The survivors have grown massive as a result, so that if anything bites you can be sure it’s going to be huge. This is definitely the place for an angling challenge, but you will need more patience than I to succeed there.
Lake Buendia is another serene carp fishing location located North of Madrid in a place called Guadalajara, Castilla la Mancha province. As a whole, the province is famous for its beautiful scenery and many lakes full of carp and other coarse fish.
Buendia is actually a reservoir located on the Tagus river system. It is connected to many of the other systems in La Mancha province and makes a prime location for a family vacation.
The lake is stocked with some big carp, and it is easy to catch mirrors weighing 35 pounds or more. The commons here are even larger. It yields some particularly fascinating mirrors, with all kinds of scale patterns and colors. You hear the veterans say that size doesn’t matter, and in this case, it is certainly true.
Spain has a lot more carp fishing locations worth your while. In La Mancha province, there are the gorgeous Ruidera lakes. This is a large system of interconnected bodies with beautiful scenery; however, the carp here are not very big.
There are many travel companies to cater to your carp fishing needs in Spain. Many are exclusive to one major location, such as lake Orellana in the Extremadura region or on the Ebro river system.
These companies will organize your transportation, fishing gear, accommodation, and even licensing. Most offer very decent rates, especially if you’re clever about your timing.
If you prefer to have a quiet vacation with not a soul in sight, the reservoirs deep in the country are your best shot. Either way, you are bound to love the place.
Many European countries have monster carp weighing well over 50 pounds, but most of them are commercially farmed under strict control. Spain offers you the last indigenous carp in wild waters.
I just love angling for carp in Spanish waters! Most of the carp there have never been hooked before and put up a mad fight. Even a 30lb fish is capable of giving you the experience of a lifetime, so imagine bagging a 50-pounder or more. I say, get out there and experience it for yourself.
Niels Thomas is a wildlife expert and fishing fanatic that works with major fishing brands like Deeper Sonar, Abu Garcia, Berkley, PENN, BassPro and Pure Fishing. Through sharing the best fishing tips, tricks, gear reviews, locations and much more he hopes to inspire fishing fanatics to start their own journey towards becoming the King of the Catch!