Notes from Spain, Days Two and Three: More Than Fish

Found at Lalanne, this is clearly the best vintage, right?
Photos by Sandy Hays

Our last two days at Salvelinus in Spain have been a fascinating mixture of fishing and cultural experiences. On Tuesday, we fished in the morning at a confluence of a gorgeous, clear stream and one of its tributaries. Our guide, Aleix, walked us through some presentations that required accuracy and patience. Because the river features many weed patches, you have to dead-drift nymphs through the gaps between them. It was both frustrating and compelling, and we managed one nice fish before it was time to leave.

Blecua is created by blending the best grapes of each season.

We met up with Maria José, one of Salvelinus‘s brilliant cultural guides, for a tour of two local wineries in the town of Barbastro. Bodega Blecua is a stunning restored Italian villa that serves as a winery to create a top-end wine from a blend of four different grapes. Tour guide Diego led us through the various stages and pointed out the features of the remarkable building, including an aging room full of oak barrels. On one side is a wall of rock into which caves were carved for medieval monks to live in. It’s the kind of mix of old and new that makes Spain so fascinating.

History is very important to the folks who produce wine in the Somontano region.

Next, we moved on to Lalanne, a winery run by three sisters using traditional methods. One of the coolest features is the room full of old vintages, dating back to 1936–the history of the family business on display. We finished with a tasting that showcased some of the sisters’ signature wines.

The wild browns of “Lost River” fought hard and often jumped.

Yesterday, our guide Alberto took us to a place they call “Lost River,” where we drifted nymphs for brown trout all day, landing some very nice fish. The river features a canopy of trees and bushy banks that make casting a challenge, but the fish were worth the effort. I did hook and lose a couple beauties, but we caught enough to lessen the pain a bit. It’s impressive how many waters Salvelinus has access to and how each presents a different kind of angling experience.

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