Fishing in Portugal



A pleasant climate with a minimum of 300 days of sunshine a year, untouched nature and great fishing waters, Portugal has it all. This land is ideal for a fishing holiday.

Portugal has 943 kilometers of coastline on the Atlantic Ocean and sea fishing obviously belongs to the possibilities. But even if you're fan of fishing in freshwater, you will love this beautiful country. The Portuguese reservoirs (barragems) and rivers hold large quantities of fish. You can go fishing for carp, catfish, perch, trout and barbel. The fish here generally fight much harder than their northern European cousins. A visiting angler will most likely go home with a memorable experience.

However, the country is still relatively unknown to most anglers. The fishing in Portugal is in fact relatively undiscovered, so you can enjoy peace and quiet while enjoying fishing during your holiday. You fish in almost virgin waters, located in the most beautiful unspoiled nature in Europe. So whatever your technique might be and whatever bait you use, the chances of a good catch here are very good.

Portugal has a long maritime tradition, which shows in the fishing culture and gastronomy of the country. One can find about 200 different species of fish in the waters of Portugal, such as sardines, sole, sea bass, sea bream, anchovies, mackerel and turbot. So there are great fishing opportunities in Portugal's coastal waters.

Whether you want to fish from the rocks, from the beach or on a boat at sea, everything is possible. Big game fishing is very popular in Portugal and can give you the ultimate thrill! You can try to get a tuna, marlin, shark or swordfish on the hook. If you want to go fishing, you can charter your own boat or join a group. Most boats have a "catch and release policy" for big game and rare species, but you can take some more common types of fish home to prepare on the BBQ.

The best about fishing in Portugal is that the country benefits from a great climate, beautiful scenery, friendly people, delicious food, fine wines and unspoiled nature. Moreover, there is a lot to discover and experience for non-fishing family and friends.


As in most other European countries, you need a license to fish in Portugal. There is an authorization granting permission to fish in the sea and there is a separate license required to fish in freshwater. You are two rods allowed per license. The permits are cheap, so do not risk a penalty. Children under 14 do not require a permit if they are accompanied by an adult with a license. In addition to the license you should also be able to show your passport. Best ask the local authorities where you can buy a fishing license.

For information about fishing licenses (Portuguese):


The fishing season for trout (trutta) runs from 1 March to 31 July. For perch (achigã), barbel (Barbo) and carp (carpa) the season runs from May 16 to March 14. For the complete agenda (in Portuguese) click on the link "Calendário Desportiva de pesca" from the following website:


  • Take, especially in summer, enough water to drink - it can be very hot!
  • The best fishing spots in unknown territory can be found by looking at empty cans of corn, etc. left behind by the local fishermen.  
  • Most fish in Portugal have never been caught before. They like corn, lunchmeat and nuts.
  • Most fish are heavier than in the Northern Europe. Adjust your equipment accordingly.
  • Make sure you always have a license in your pocket when you go fishing. The controls are strict, thre are high fines and your fishing equipment will be confiscated if you can not show it.
  • If you bring your fishing rod on vacation, pack it in a plastic sleeve for protection.
  • The shores of the lakes are often difficult to access. For fishing reservoirs a boat or kayak is perfect!
  • Bait can be found in most larger supermarkets or in the "Loja de pesca" - the rod shop.
  • When you go fishing in the sea, ask for a "tabella the mares" - a tide table - in the local fishing shop.
  • In Portugal, night fishing is prohibited.
  • In the north of Portugal you can find Europe's best trout rivers, eg. the River Douro!
  • According to local fishermen, one catches much barbel with chicken livers as bait. Carp anglers will enjoy fishing in the larger reservoirs, such as the Alqueva and the Santa Clara reservoir.