2017 FISHING REGULATIONS

Current fishing regulations can be confusing and vary depending on the stretch of the Ebro you are intending to fish. In Cataluña fishing regulations are enforced by the local police, and they can be very strict – under no circumstances should you start fishing until you have obtained a licence! These licences are inexpensive and can be organised by us in advance of your holiday.

In summary (The most important rules) extracted from the current regulations for the Flix to Xerta stretch of the river Ebro:

  • It is mandatory have active your current fishing licenses
  • Live bait is forbidden in River Ebro and in most of the rivers in Spain
  • Fishing nets are forbidden
  • Keeping live fish in nets is not allowed
  • Fishing is allowed from sunrise until 00:00h
  • Members of Catalonia Fishing clubs can fish all night
  • Carp are catch and release
  • Catfish, Zander, and Perch are voluntary catch and release
  • A Maximum of 2 rods per fisherman

River Description and what you can expect to catch.

The River Ebro has a reputation for being Spain’s finest angling destination. It’s certainly the largest single expanse of water and begins its journey near Santander in Northern Spain; winding its way through La Rioja and past Zaragoza, Aragón’s regional capital before exiting into the Mediterranean via a huge delta area, located on the southern limit of Catalonia, equidistant between Barcelona and Valencia.

Our stretch of the Ebro is rocky and fast flowing with plenty of weed and importantly deep eddies and rising gravel runs. The deep eddies provide the perfect holding area for the larger Carp and Catfish. I have likened the Ebro to the River Kennet or River Avon that run through Berkshire and Hampshire, rivers I spent many happy hours fishing for barbel, however, the Ebro is 10 times the size of these UK rivers, everything is bigger and more powerful, including the fish.

The river has a great head of Catfish, wild carp, mirror carp, crucian carp, chub, zander, perch and roach. The nature of the river means the fish are constantly on the move so are fit and powerful… The Carp are fin-perfect, brightly-coloured fish with big mouths and large powerful tails 20lb to 40lb fish are not an exception. Our Catfish average 30lb-90lb, but grow much bigger 100lb + fish again are not an exception and fish of 180lb plus are regularly caught.
The Flow of the Ebro is controlled by a number of dams up stream, when they open the sluices the river can rise fast. This far more likely in April-June when the melt water from the pyrenes fills the dams. This can work to your advantage as the stronger the current, the more the fish look for shelter in eddies and deeper water.
So be prepared for a real fight when you hook a wild Lower Ebro Common or a legendry catfish at El Figueral.

Bait

As live bait can no longer legally be used on river the main baits used for the cat’s are pellets and meat baits, including luncheon meat and chicken. For the Carp we find sweet corn, boilies, pellet and luncheon meat can all fish well. The fish for some reason seem to like yellow bait.

Of course if you want to try for the Chub and Roach maggots work well but tend to be more expensive in Spain.

Probably the most important ingredient to catching quantity and size on the Ebro is ground baiting, it’s a big river and you have to get the fish to come to you. We have ideal swims for the fish to hold up in so once they move in, it’s easier to keep them. The catfish tend to respond to heavy pellet feeding (20mm) on the edge of the eddies. For the Carp we use to good effect, a mix of standard ground bait mixed with sweetcorn, chick peas and pellet.

Donut Rig - El Figueral Rural Tourism Spain
Hacek Mustad Catfish - El Figueral Rural Tourism Spain

Methods

Catfish seem to occupy the deeper water, and are not usually found right out in the middle of the river, where the current is at its strongest. For a drift try and find a line where the fast water and the margin slacks meet, this is called the crease and usually marks the boundary between the shallower margin water and the deeper navigation channel. Using one of our hire boats with a fish finder allows our clients to cover more water and identify these creases. Different swims call for different methods so be prepared to try ledgering and float, have an assortment of weights from 1.5oz-5.0oz to cover the different current strengths and use hair rigs so that you can get multiple pellets on single line or donut rigs. Don’t be shy on the size of your float.

The cats can get very big so you won’t need a net, instead a thick garden glove is essential so you can get your hand in its mouth grip the lower jaw and heave. Word of caution, look where the hook is and don’t get your hand to close to it, last thing you want is hook in your hand and a 2m fish determined to go in the opposite direction. Always fish in pairs when catfishing and don’t underestimate there strength.

The River Ebro Carp are pound-for-pound, incredibly hard fighting compared to their pond-dwelling cousins so be prepared for a real fight when you hook one. Upgrade your rods test curve and line strength by a notch to account for the current and very fit fish.
We have had success using large swim feeders to keep a generous feed going in both lower current deeper holes or rolling them across the current of gravel rises. Use boilies, sweet corn, chick peas or halibut pellets on a 38cm link knotless-knotted hair rig and either running or bolt feeder rig.
Catfish Slipfloat Rigging In Fisherman - El Figueral Rural Tourism Spain

Tackle

Travelling to Spain with your tackle unless you are travelling by car has its own problems and cost. For those anglers who prefer not to bring their own tackle we can hire quality rods and bait runner reels for both cats and carp.

Each set of rods; 2 x cat or 2 x Carp or 1 cat and 1 carp (Cat reels are loaded with braid and carp with braid or mono) also come with pods, mats, gloves, scales, slings. We do not supply terminal tackle as part of the hire package but we do keep a selection of rigs, end tackle (including weights), bait (pellets, sweet corn, ground bait, etc.) for sale If you bring you own make sure the hook links are big and strong and that hooks are ultra-strong. If you want us to supply bait please let us have your requirement a couple of weeks before leaving.

Knotless Knot With Hair Rig - El Figueral Rural Tourism Spain
Anti Tangle Bolt Rig - El Figueral Rural Tourism Spain

Time to fish

Is a nice seaside town, with a population of a little over 15,000, which makes an excellent base for exploring the Delta de l’Ebro.

Spring

March: Un-predictable weather wise, Carp fishing can be excellent and Catfish regularly caught. It’s often rather cool with more cloudy days but the temperatures are generally still in the mid-70s.

April: the river Ebro weather becomes more stable with consistently warmer temperatures, the Catfish are becoming more active and the carp can be prolific. The weather can still be cool with spells of rain a likely.

May: A beautiful month, the sun is out, blossom is on the trees and the carp and catfish are active The weather is generally pleasantly warm with sunny days being the norm, we open the pool and the carp, the catfish and the anglers are very happy!

Spring; water off the mountains and especially the Pyrenees melt water means the river Ebro runs fairly high and is coloured and still cold, the Carp and Catfish though are very active. To prove appoint stand at the edge of the pool after dark and listen the fish rising on the river.

May is a beautiful month, the sun is out, the blossom is on the trees and the carp and catfish are active.

Summer on the Ebro

June: the daytime temperatures are climbing rapidly and the Carp and Catfish are very active, from June to September the temperature will often exceed 30 degrees on most days. Make sure you have sun cream and hats, keep to the shade and if you are on the river in one of our boats take plenty of water and keep hydrated. Many of our anglers take the heat of the day as an opportunity to tri the menu of the day in one of the bars or restaurants and concentrate on early morning and evening fishing. We do get some spectacular evening thunder storms, while welcome if out make sure you have some wet gear and look forward to the after storm fishing.

July and August: generally the Carp and Catfishing is excellent. The Catfish metabolism increase and so does their appetite. It’s thought by many that the Carp and Catfishing is at its best. However, the sun and temperature is more comfortable during the (early) mornings and evenings.

Autumn on the Ebro

September: the weather can still be quite hot, but overall is starting to cool down and the temperatures are gradually getting lower. This trend continues through to November making this a very comfortable time to fish. The water retains it temperature so both the carp and catfish are still very active. Order of the day is sun and we don’t close the pool until the end of October.

Winter on the Ebro

December, January and February: can be cold, although depending which way the wind blows can be warm. This is really a time for carp and some guides report that the largest carp are caught during the winter months. The catfish are still around and can be caught but they generally are not very active. This can be a wet, cold and windy period but I can guarantee there are more warm and sunny days on the Ebro in Spain than in many other parts of Europe.

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