Like nearly every fly fisherman I know I have a particular soft spot for trout and was very excited recently by the prospect of fishing for the little wild trout of the upper Guadalquivir. I caught only one of these but I was nevertheless delighted. It may only have been little but it was as pretty as a picture.

One of the most fascinating things about trout is that they show regional variations in their colouring and these regional variations result from the splitting up and subsequent diversification of ancestral populations many thousands of years ago. The story of trout is a story of deep time, of habitat fragmentation, of towering glaciers and of retreating rivers and it is a story not written, but painted in the pigments that adorn the flanks of the fish.

There is no room to tell the story here but I have written a chapter about it in my book Dry River and if you are interested in the book you can find it by following this link:

My little trout had particularly vivid colours, as smaller trout often do, and a pronounced scattering of red dots. It also had distinct pattern of dark and light bands that, I believe, is called zebré markings and characterize trout of the Mediterranean region. It also has a distinctive dark patch on the gill cover.

I was particularly keen to get a good photograph of this fish so that I can have a go at painting it in watercolours as soon as I have some time on my hands. I know I will never be able to do it justice but I am going to do my best.


A little wild trout from the upper Guadalquivir.