Sorry about the title of this post first up. After descending from the lofty heights of the high Pyrenees, my small stream fishing continued in the astounding surroundings of the midi-Pyrenees near Puente D´Espana, right on the border with Spain. The crystalline waters of the upper Gauve and the lush, fertile meadows provided a perfect environment for the pursuit of the Zebre trout, an ancient strain of meditteranean brown trout. This, the locals told me proudly, was a genetically pure and unique strain of trout that was pursued further back in history by the Romans. The broodstock of captive zebres are planted in the high lakes once a year by helicopters, along with brook trout and lake trout. The lake trout are rumoured to reach lengths of a metre as they hunker down for the winter in the depths of thses remote lakes. As for me, I was happy to catch the small zebres by the dozen, using caddis and stimulators all day long. I was lucky to bump into the helicopter pilots as they completed their annual planting of the high lakes- they seemed surprised to find an Englishman thrashing around in their rivers, but after a good chat about fishing and flies, an ´entente cordiale´ was agreed and it was beers all round.
If there`s one thing that will motivate me to climb a mountain, it´s the promise of capturing wild trout in pristine surroundings. Thus I found my tar corrupted lungs soundly punished over the course of a three day hike in the French Pyrenees last week, all in the name of capturing wild brook trout on a plateau some 2,500 meters above sea level. The scenery was magnificent, and although the trout were tiny, it was amazing to be casting flies in such a majestic setting. Part two of this post deals with the fishing lower down, for the unique `zebre´strain of brown trout that are unique to the Spanish and French Pyrennes. Although the brook trout is not native to this part of the world, they were planted some time back and now have thriving populations in the high mountain streams. This kind of small stream fishing is great fun, giving the angler the satisfaction of knowing that they are unlikely to meet another angler - or human - in the course of a day`s fishing.