Yesterday I managed to fish in two rivers at the same time which, when you think about it, is a hell of a stunt to pull off. Geographers tell us that when one river flows into another the “new” river conventionally retains the name of the larger of the two and the river with the lesser flow is meekly assimilated and its name disappears from the map.

My two rivers are the Guadalhorce that runs roughly north to south before its rendez-vouz and the smaller Río Grande which approaches from the west. The confluence itself is close to the small town of Villafranco del Guadalhorce. The two rivers, when they merge, continue roughly eastwards continuing the trajectory of the Río Grande. It is as though they had struck a compromise deal. The Grande, in return for losing its name, would determine the course the water flowing along the the Guadalhorce valley until reaching the Mediterranean close to the city of Málaga.

Both of these rivers are shallow. In normal flows you can cross either in most places without getting wet above your knees. But the levels of each have been fluctuating as a result of recent rains and the rise and fall of only a few inches will alter the flows, creating or sealing off channels and runs and so the confluence is not so much a simple emptying of one watercourse into another but rather a series of meeting points of two braided waterways.

It is a simple matter to identify the water from each river. The Río Grande when not in flood runs clear while the Guadalhorce is turbid. At the point I approached the river yesterday there was a seam of clear water provided by the Grande on the near bank running next to the cloudy water of the Guadalhorce. There really were two rivers in one. Further downstream, after a more thorough mixing of the flows this clear seam would have vanished.

I held well back off the river and spent most of my time watching. My side was really an extension of the Grande and the far bank and the bulk of the river flow was the Guadalhorce. Every now and then fish would drift into the clear water and I found that they could be persuaded to take a nymph if it arrived in its vicinity without too much fuss or splash and if I stood well back and went about my business quietly. It was very interesting.

Sight fishing  the Guadalhorce is not much of an option at the moment because it is difficult to see the fish and, of course, difficult for the fish to see the fly. Conversely, sight fishing the Grande is quite the opposite; you can see the fish very well but they can see you too and you need to be quite stealthy to have a reasonable shot at them in bright light levels. More often than I would care to admit I have tried to take a step closer than I should and seen the fish I was stalking, often with previously unseen companions, throwing bow waves into the surface as they swam away.

The twenty or so metres where the waters of each river were becoming acquainted turned out to produce very good fishing. The coloured water provided cover for the fish (and for me) and the nearside seam provided a clear view of the fish that would venture periodically from the main current. Without moving from the same spot it was possible to catch several fish. Typically they would take the nymph on the near side and then run off into “other” river before I could work them downstream and beach them in the shallows.

I have fished close to the confluence of these two rivers on many occasions. Usually it is clear that one river will be a better option than the other but yesterday was a real eye opener. It might be better, at least on certain occasions not to select one river over the other but rather to fish both at the same time!


Here is a gypsy barbel a few seconds before it swam away. It is being released in the clear water of the near side of the confluence downstream of where it was taken.


This is one of ten or so barbel that was fooled by a little nymph.


Two rivers for the price of one! You can see a pretty clear demarcation between the murky water of the Guadalhorce and the clear water of the Río Grande. All the fish were hooked in the clear water.

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All the fish were taken on this nymph. There is nothing magical about it. It got pretty battered during the course of the evening with the body slipping down the hook but when I pushed it back up and tucked the tungsten bead back where it should be it behaved itself once again!