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The Ebro River

We are going to describe the river upstream, starting from the Flix Lake and finishing around the zone of Escatrón. During the trip we will pass through the famous Ribarroja Lake and some other less known zones, but very interesting, some of them almost virgin, where there are a lot of fishing possibilities.

 

FLIX

From the delta and going upstream, the first lake that we find is the Flix Lake , just before the Ribarroja Lake . Flix is an older dam (built in 1948) that has only a capacity of 11 Hm3 and covers an area of 320 Ha .

This little lake was known for its big carp before Ribarroja. In the eighties there were some big captures, some above 20 kilos. But now everybody seems to have forgotten about Flix, but the big carp are still there. There are also a lot of small ones, so there have been a lot fishing matches coup-style. Right now there are no matches there because the bigger size of the fish and the light tackle used in those matches. In those matches there were regular captures of carp in the 6- 8 kg bracket, even 12 kg . It is a very shallow lake, the deepest and better areas for the big carp are next to the two dams.

 

RIBARROJA

Above Flix we find the Ribarroja Lake , the carp and catfish meca. It has a bigger capacity (210 Hm3) and covers an area of 2152 Ha . In this lake there is much more angling pressure, and because of the low activity of the catfish during the day most anglers try carp fishing in the hours of daylight. This is why this lake is more known, and where there had been more big captures. Without doubt, this is a very good zone for the fishing, but it doesn't have to be better than some other unknown zones.

 

 

The carp

In Ribarroja most carp are common carp. They are very long in shape, silver coloured and with big fins, typical of the river carp. The have adapted to an habitat where the strong current is an important factor. They reach important sizes, this year and last year a lot of carp between 18 and 20kg have been caught. We have seen bigger ones and we have heard of a capture of a 23 kg specimen until that day. The 20 of February 2005 the official record has fallen with a big common carp of 28.5kg and 110cm long caught by a Spanish angler. It seems that the average size of the carp is growing fast. Two years ago a 17 kg carp was a rare specimen, but now those sizes are frequent, and there have been captures up to 20 kg . In the year 2004 there have been a few ones over this magical number, one of them a 20.5 kg stunning common caught by a member of our Webcarp Team Raúl López. This year 2005 could not start any better, for the moment I have broken the Team record with two beautiful carp, one of 20.8kg with 101cm and the other of 21.6kg with 98cm. The reasons for this fast growing average size can be various, one of them may be that there are less small carp because of the catfish. Because of that there is more food available for the bigger ones. Other reason may be the introduction of zebra mussel, although harmful, it provides a natural food source for the carp. The population of mirror carp is very small (less than 2 %) and also their size. We never heard of mirrors above 12 kg , but this winter there has been caught a 16 kg one. There is another variety of carp, the black one. It reaches smaller sizes, up to 15 kg , but it fights harder than the other varieties.

The bait

We consider Ribarroja as a fast water in terms that the effects of a big baiting up shows very quickly. The carp are very nomadic, and because of the big numbers they find the beds of bait very quickly and finish them in no time! They are not selective on the bait, they feed on particles, boilies or even Frolic (dog biscuits). This lake is frequently fished by French and German anglers who use dog biscuits in big quantities for baiting up, so the carp know this bait well and respond very well to it. But the number one bait is the boilie. A lot of team of anglers sponsored by important brands come to the lake to field test their latest releases and fine-tune their new boilies, so the carp are used to eat good quality “gourmet” food. So it is not worth trying cheap boilies because the carp are used to feed on quality boilies. Which is the best flavour? This is not an important issue, it is more important the quality of the ingredients.

The bottom

The bottom of the lake is muddy, although the banks are harder, with sand and small rocks. Upstream, where the River Segre joins the Ebro , we can find more sandy areas, but in the lake where we will position our baits the bottom is mainly mud. The depth depends of the section of the lake. Ribarroja has four water inlets, the river Ebro , coming from the Mequinenza Lake , which gets deeper and deeper until the dam, the deepest area. In this zone the banks are particular, with some plateaux at different depths. We can have a depth of 4 metres a few metres from the bank, then going down to 9 metres and then to 15 metres in less than 30 metres from the bank. In the town of Mequinenza there are two inlet rivers, the river Cinca and the river Segre. This is a very shallow water where the depth remains constant.

The weed

Most banks are infested with reed beds, so it allows only a few swims on clearer areas. This can be a real problem, because during the fight the carp use to try these snags to get rid of the hook. There are a lot of different kinds of weed in the bottom. This weed beds can be seen from the bank, as the carp patrolling through them.

 

The water

The water levels on this lake varies a lot through the year, and even in a few hours we have had the water level rising up to 1.5 metres . There is usually a strong current, specially in the area where the rivers Cinca and Segre join the Ebro . The water is usually brown coloured because of the muddy botton, altough the water from the river Segre is very clear, but because of the strong current the water removes debris from the bottom that makes the water darker. The strong current contributes to the erosion of the terrain, adding sediments that make the lake shallower each year. Only the strong floods can wash out all this sediments and restore the natural depth.

Practical advices

There is no need of making long casts to have good results. 40 metres from the bank is enough, and it also makes the baiting up easier. At this range and with a catapult you can bait with particles, boilies, ground bait, etc. or with a big spoon as the Cobra type. Being the bottom so muddy, pop ups could be advisable, but our results say that standard bottom baits work better. This is because the carp are used to search for food in the mud, so they will find before baits that are just above the bottom. A small boat is very useful, so we can free snagged carp during the fight. Regarding bait, we will reject fruit and birfood based boilies because of the natural food available. We have had very good results with fishmeal based boilies of some brands like Eurobaits and Nashbait, and with sweet baits of Sensas. Also pellets and particles work well, we have had very good results with CCMOORE's Super Stim Pellets. They provide a wide range of particles and pellets at very good prices. There are crayfish present, but not at high levels, so there is no need of special rigs or baits to solve the crayfish problem. Some swims are stuffed with sunken branches and trees, so be prepared next to your rods and fish locked up in this situations.

LA GRANJA DE ESCARPE

This is the name of the town where the rivers Cinca and Segre join. This is a very shallow weedy and snaggy part, with some islands full of reeds. This is a very good zone in the spring because it is where carp and catfish congregate for the spawning ritual.

THE RIVER MATARAÑA

This is the last stream of water that joins the lake, where the water has covered the old town of Fayón , and only the bell tower can be seen. In this valley the lake becomes deeper through the lake, but upstream it us much shallower. The most interesting zone is where this river feeds the lake, where there are usually a lot of carp and even Mediterranean barbel, with carp up to 16 kg that had been caught.

EMBALSE DE MEQUINENZA

The Mequinenza Lake , also called the Aragon Sea , is the biggest reservoir in the area. It was built in 1966, it has a capacity of 1534 Hm3 and covers an area of 7720 Ha . The dam is upstream the Ribarroja Lake , and from the town of Caspe there are a lot of steep banks and big arms of water. All this deeper zones are very good for fishing for Zander and catfish, and not very good for the carp, with specimens up to only 12 kg . From Caspe the landscape changes a lot, with shallower zones full of bays and weedy bottoms. If the water level is high, this is a very good zone in the spring, with easy captures of carp up to 15 kg .

ESCATRÓN – CHIPRIANA

The town of Escatrón is situated just where the River Ebro joins the Mequinenza Lake . To get there you have to pick the road C211 from the town of Mequinenza . Escatrón is a zone of river wild and unknown, with banks full of snags and vegetation. The water is dark in colour, and the river forms meanders and very wide zones with a lot of bays and deep zones that may hold unexpected secrets. Going upstream we arrive to the town of Chipriana , and the landscape becomes arid and with less vegetation, and the river flows slower. In these zones we can find big bays with muddy bottoms and rocky and sandy areas, which suffer no angling pressure. We have fished only a few times there, and we have ha very good results, with some 15 kg fish and even a few 17 kg specimens.

Angler licence:

Aragón : Cataluña:

Medio ambiente Medio ambiente

Tel : 974 47 42 25 Tel: 973 28 95 97

Fax : 974 47 42 26 Fax: 973 26 96 77

C./ San Quintin, 1-3 C./ Academia, 14

22520 Fraga 75002 Lerida

Accommodation and guiding services :

For everyone who wants to spend an unforgettable fishing holidays, just at the banks of the Ribarroja Lake you can find the “Bavarian Guiding Service”. Bavarian has a team of very experienced fishing guides who know the area as the back of their hand. With them, the chances of succeed is over anything in offer by other similar services, and of course if you are planning to go by yourself. Bavarian offers to their clients all the tackle needed and has a huge amount of boats for hire. They are specialist in several kinds of fishing, above all, catfish and Zander.Apart from the fishing services, they offer a camping site with 8 wooden cabins that are very comfortable and are fully equipped with heating, and even a few apartments. The camping has also some commodities such as showers, kitchen, scullery, etc. All the services are excellent, but most important and something that money can't buy is the good climate of partnership and familiarity that offers all the team at Bavarian. For more information, you can contact:

Bavarian Guiding Service S.L.

Tel : 00 34 974 465 032

Fax : 00 34 974 465 403

E-mail : info@bavarian-guiding-service.de

Web : www.bavarian-guiding-service.de

 

 

 

You will be able to find more information in the International Carper Nº20 Jun. 2005