Fishing in Portugal – Everything You Need to Know Before You Go

Ready to go on an adventure? Eager to fish in spectacular locations, eat wonderful food, and visit stunning attractions? Then Portugal should be your next vacation spot!

Guest Post from Barbless Flies, supplying flies for the catch & release angler.

Portugal is a country located in southwestern Europe, on the Iberian Peninsula, bordered by Spain and the Atlantic Ocean. With over 65 lakes, a coastline of around 1,115 miles (1,794 km), and a little bit over 250 rivers, Portugal is undoubtedly the perfect fishing destination. We’re not even going to mention the lovely climate, and how Portugal has one of the highest fish consumption per capita in the world.

Fishing comes naturally to the Portuguese, which is why you simply need to book yourself a spot on a fishing adventure today! So, grab your barbless flies and let’s get to work!

Portugal Fishing

When it comes to sea fishing, Portugal's waters are home to hundreds of types of marine fish, including tuna, sardines, sword fish, bass, plaice, bream, blue fish, salmon bass, and even sharks.

As for freshwater, the season for river trout is March 1st to August 31st in certain bodies of water and April 1st to September 30th in others (see the list here). Also from Pesca ICNF, during the period in which fishing for trout or trout fishing is prohibited, fishing for all other species in these waters is also prohibited (more info). Night fishing is allowed for some waters but not all, which is one extra reason we recommend fishing with a guide who knows the local regulations. If night fishing isn't allowed where you're going, we recommend you discover the nightlife, or simply get a refreshing eight hours of sleep in preparation for the next day’s fishing adventure.

Popular Portugal Freshwater Fish, Seasons, and Where to Find Them

If you’re looking for the shad, you can find it from February to July in all of Portugal’s rivers; outside that time frame, it’s only found at sea. You can find salmon in the Minho and Lima rivers, between March and July. The sturgeon can be found in pretty much all the rivers in Portugal, between January and July. If you’re interested in the barbel, know that it is available in all streams and rivers, between July and March. Search for the largemouth bass between July to March in the Bonavente and Salvaterra de Magios, Agueda River region, Meranhão Reservoir, Valle de Gaio Reservoir, Elvas region, Algarve dams and a few other regions. The trout is available from March to July, in the lakes and streams in the Serra da Estrella mountains and the Alge, Mindho, and Lima rivers. As for the carp, find it from July to March in all rivers and streams in the south of Portugal, or in the country’s center.

A guide to consider for fly fishing for shad or lure fishing for largemouth bass is Russell Oram and his guide service, Fishing in Portugal. Russell is based in Southern Portugal, fishing the Guadiana river system and its many lakes.

Two of Fisher Guiding's first guide partners in Portugal, Cavado Fly Fishing (pictured) and Minho Fly Fishing, fish primarily for trout. Since it's a favorite target for passionate, traveling anglers, here are a few recommended flies you might be interested in purchasing or tying in advance:

  • Black Stalking Bug – a stunning black and red fly that is meant for still waters where visibility isn’t the best
  • Dawson’s Olive – a yellow, green, and red beauty perfect for reservoirs and especially small, still waters  
  • White Snake – a white lure that represents a minnow/fry that can be found in both rivers and still waters from July onwards
  • Mini Streamer – a black and pink fly that also represents a minnow/fry
  • Crystal Buzzer – a gold buzzer that is intended for reservoirs and small still waters  

Popular Portugal Sea Fish, Seasons, and Where to Find Them

For deep sea fishing, where you can find tuna, sharks, swordfish, salmon bass, ray, broadbill, marlin, and scabbard, it’s best you go to Nazaré, Peniche, Sesimbra, and Sines.

For bass, sole, bream, mackerel, red mullet, sea mullet, shad, blue fish, porgie, glaucus, golden bream, and conger eel the best spots are Alentejo coast, Povoa de Varzim, Sagres, Faro, Albufeira, Quarteira, Vila Real de Santo António, Peniche, Sesimbra, Lagos, and Portimão.

For the grey mullet, bass, mackerel, squalus, whiting, and bream, we recommend Ericeira, the Algarve coast, Cape St. Vincent, and Sagres.

Don't forget that the Azores and Madeira are a part of Portugal too! If you're visiting the Azores, consider North Shore Sea Tours on São Miguel Island or Pro Island Tour on Terceira Island for a fishing trip.

The top season for offshore fishing in Portugal in the Azores runs from July to late October, when the gulf stream brings blue marlin and bluefin tuna to feed off of the Azores. In addition to those trophy fish, there is the chance to catch white marlin, bigeye and yellowfin tuna, spearfish, swordfish, and mako sharks, too. 

In Madeira, the blue and white marlin seasons runs generally from May to October. In addition to the marlin, there are resident albacore, dorado, spearfish, bigeye tuna, bluefin tuna, skipjack, amberjack, and wahoo, ensuring there is fishing all year around. Blue sharks are the most commonly caught shark, but it is not unheard of to catch Mako and hammerhead, too. 

To summarize, during July through August the offshore fishing will be heating up for tuna and marlin since the gulf stream will be closer to shore, and there are plenty of resident pelagic fish to catch. If you're looking for offshore fishing in Europe, Portugal is one of the top places to go.

We hope this will prove somewhat helpful to you, but if you require more information on fishing in Portugal, we recommend you head on over to the Portuguese Federation of Sport Fishing.

Do you have any questions or suggestions? Then head on over to the comment section below and drop us a line. We love hearing from our readers! 

Any of our Verified Guide and Charter partners in Portugal can be contacted and booked online from their guide accounts linked below. Plan your trip today!

Search Trips in Portugal

Mainland Portugal

  • BragaCavado Fly Fishing (full day rates starting at $375 for one fisher, $600 for 2 fishers)
  • MonçãoMinho Fly Fishing (full day rates starting at $375 for one fisher, $435 for 2 fishers)
  • CovilhãZebra Trout Fly Fishing (full day rate of $370 for 1-2 fishers)
  • MertolaFishing in Portugal (full day rate of $197 for 1-2 fishers, both fly fishing and lure fishing offered)
  • Cascais (near Lisbon)Deep Sea Fishing by Palmayachts (half day rates starting at $174 for 2 fishers, up to $1050 for a private full day trip for up to 10 fishers)
  • OlhãoBlue Captures Fishing Charters (big game specialists with white marlin trips for $1000, blue marlin trips for $1200)
  • São Brás de AlportelFly Fishing Algarve (saltwater or freshwater wading full day trips at $170 for 1 fisher, $310 total for 2 fishers)
  • Faro@algarvefishing (full day trips to fish for carp and barbel with access to the only privately stocked lake in the Alargve at $120 for 1 fisher, $300 total for 2 fishers)
  • Santa Clara-a-VelhaBlack Bass Fishing (half day trips starting at $120 for 1 fisher and $60 per each additional fisher, and full day trips for $200 for 1 fisher and $100 per each additional fisher)

Azores

  • Maia, São Miguel, AzoresNorth Shore Sea Tours - An Authentic Azorean Experience (half day fishing trips starting at $270, also 2 hour boat and snorkeling tours starting at $140)
  • Angra do Heroísmo, Isla Terceira, AzoresProIslandTour (bottom fishing trips starting at $120 per person, up to big game trips for $950 for the full group)
  • Velas, São Jorge, AzoresVELASFISHINGTUR (half day family fishing trips at $50 per person, half day big game fishing trips at $85 per person)

Madeira

  • Fishing in Madeira, Portugal (half days at $400 for bottom fishing, $530 for big game fishing, full days at $630 for mixed fishing, $900 for big game fishing)
  • Madeira Sight Casting Fishing Charters (half day charters at $470, full day charters at $765, or full day freshwater fly fishing at $120 for 1 fisher, $60 for a non-fishing guest)
  • Flipper II (half days starting at $150 per person or $400 for a private charter, full days at $250 per person or $900 for a private charter, $400 for a half day of private jigging)

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