The artificial lakes of the Serena and Siberia in the east of Extremadura are a real fishing paradise, and this is due to the lakes themselves. Orellana Lake has a surface of 5000 hectares and has belonged to Spain’s protected natural ecosystems for 20 years. Part of the lake is a bird reserve. Next to Orellana Lake is the Embalse de la Serena which is, with its 13,000 hectares, much larger than the Orellana. The Embalse Garcia de Sola and the Cijara have respectively a surface of 3,550 and 6,500 hectares. More small lakes like the Embalse del Zuja belong to the Lake District. The government of Madrid planned to dam the large rivers of the country in the 1960s in order to supply the water works and to increase the electricity capacity.
Meanwhile, the lakes have become accustomed to their environment, and plants and animals do very well in the lakes of the Serena and Siberia. The Lake District counts among the most spacious areas of Extremadura, with people feeling at ease in the Zona de los Lagos. During warm weekends they relax on the lawn for sunbathing or at beach, sailing or surfing, or treating themselves to some fine fish restaurants at the riverside. Many travel routes lead to the lake area. It is possible to take a plane to Madrid, and from there rent a car for a two and a half hour journey to the destination. Or you can fly directly to Badajoz because Extremadura possesses its own airport, which is one and a half hours away from the Lake District. In addition, you can take a train or bus to the lakes, along which there are several villages. A wide range of accommodation is available. Fishermen will be at ease either in hotels like, for example, the three star Hotel Embalse de Orellana in Orellana la Vieja, which catches the eye because of its futuristic architecture, or in small hotels and holiday houses. Nature lovers are also well provided for: they can rent a space for their tent or caravan on the camping site Talaburrias.
Anyone who does not want to fish in the Zona de Lagos can stay there all the same, for Extremadura possesses a great deal of small watercourses. Black basses can be found in the tiny Embalse de Prosperina. This artificial channel is only a few kilometres away from the capital Merida, and it takes only one hour from the Lake District of Serena and Siberia to reach it. There is another lake district around Plasencia in the north-eastern outskirts of the self-governed region. In the south of Plasencia flows the Embalse de Valdecaña, in which Spanish barbells of up to 15 kilogrammes can be found. The artificial lakes Gabriel y Galan, Borbollon, the great Alcantara Lake and many more small watercourses are located in the north of Plasencia.
It is recommended to buy the fishing licence on the spot because it is valid for many watercourses in the region. This is an insider’s tip for European fishermen, and means there is enough space for everyone. Large quantities of carp can especially be found in the lakes of the Serena and Siberia. Some of them can weigh up to 30 kilogrammes. Anglers have already fished a pike of 20 kilogrammes or a tench weighing 5 kilogrammes. Furthermore, a large variety of barbells, as well as eels and trout, can be found in Extremadura’s lakes. There is even a fish species which is unknown in Britain watercourses: it is the black bass, which has the same name in Spain. The black bass is considered smart and agile by fishermen. After biting the bait, it bounces out of the water in order to get rid of the hook. Although it can take hours to catch this fish, the black bass is particularly popular with Spanish anglers. Angling clubs regularly organise black bass contests like in the USA and Canada, where fishing the Smallmouth bass has become a popular sport. Because the black bass likes living in shallow water, a surface wobbler is the most suitable for catching it. However, some anglers have already caught it with the Texas-rig. The best fishing season for carp is from February until April, and October until December, and for pikes it is from October until April.
To protect the species and increase their population, Extremadura founded the Centre Las Vegas del Guadiana. The centre for water pollution control performs research for the preservation of Extremadura’s original fish species, breeds them and then releases them into nature. Moreover, the research scientists are always zealous to improve the water quality of the rivers and lakes at the behest of the government. All this is beneficial to anglers, but of course principally to fishes.