Choose between reef, sea and big game fishing in the Atlantic ocean, or go freshwater fishing in one the many rivers, lakes and reservoirs. There is something to suit every fisherman in the Wild Southwest! 

lake fishing in Portugal
Woman angler with huge fish
Photos courtesy of Phil Rosa-Leeke from Angling Holidays in Portugal


Since Portugal has a long maritime tradition, sea fishing is an integral part of the country's culture and diet. You can find almost 200 different species of fish in its waters, so there are fantastic fishing opportunities here. Big game fishing is very popular in Portugal and can offer you the ultimate fishing thrill. You can try to catch fish like tuna, marlin, shark and swordfish.

If you would like to go sea fishing you can charter a boat or join a pre-arranged group trip. Most boats operate a catch and release policy for big game and rarer fish species but you may be able to take other common fish species home for the BBQ.

Fishing tournaments take place at Azenha do Mar (meaning the 'windmill of the sea'). It has a restaurant of the same name serving fish from the small fishing port.


Inland the reservoirs (barragems) and rivers provide rich fishing grounds for barbel, large mouth black bass, carp and pike amongst others. Generally fish here fight a lot harder than their northern European cousins. A visiting angler will most probably go home with a memorable experience.

There are three large reservoirs in the Wild Southwest –Santa Clara, Fonte de Serne, Barregem de Campilhas, Mone da Rocha and Barregem de Morgavel. The fishing season for fish like barbel, bass and carp goes from 16 May till 14 March. Pike, Zander and Catfish can be caught all year long, but fishing for trout is only allowed between 1 March and 31 July.

There are also some private waters where you can book a fishing holiday. 

Night fishing and 'wild camping' (camping on anything other than an official campsite) is not allowed in Portugal although it is offered by some organisations. If a person is caught doing either or both of these the consequences can be heavy. Not only do you lose all your fishing tackle and camping gear, you also get fined and you could even get a prison sentence. It really is not worth the risk.

Phil Rosa-Leeke of ANGLING HOLIDAYS IN PORTUGAL offers some valuable insights into fishing in the Wild Southwest 

Phil Rosa-Leeke was born in Northampton but moved to Portugal in 1978 and reckons to speak the lingo more fluently than his native tongue. An avid coarse angler fishing mainly for carp and barbel, he is at the forefront of setting  up Portugal's first association for carp anglers. Hehas got to know the area like the back of his hand and has fished many of the reservoirs and rivers throughout the country.

"There is some great fishing to be had here! Very few have the chance to see what lies beyond the Algarve. Our clients get the chance not only to fish in almost untouched waters, but also to see the unspoilt areas of Portugal. The Alentejo is the region where most of the biggest and best lakes and reservoirs can be found, and it is here that most of our clients end up for their angling holidays.

In the rivers you can find barbel, a wide variety of carp, Wels catfish, pike, nase, tench, lamprey and eels. The reservoirs hold tench (9.2kg), carp (34.5Kg) and large-mouth bass. You stand a good chance of hooking into something BIG! So, some thought should go into planning what sort of angling you will be doing and what sort of tackle to bring along with you."


What to take In the summer all you need is just your fishing tackle, suntan lotion (factor 30) light clothes, mosquito repellent and a hat! The winters are shorter and a lot milder compared to those of the UK. Bring a good lightweight waterproof jacket/coat and a jumper or two. Don't forget to bring your camera!

Angling laws There are three angling laws that will effect what tackle you take. Firstly, no night fishing is allowed, so no bivvies or beds are needed. Secondly, there is a limit of two rods per angler when fishing. And thirdly, keep nets must be at least 3m (10ft) in length and have a diameter or diagonal of at least 50cm (20in). As mentioned above, you stand a good chance of hooking something BIG. So if you are after something big, we suggest that you bring along tackle that will be able to handle the long hard battles that you will encounter! You have been warned!

Rod Transportation Nothing protects equipment like a hard shell case. Some airlines will no longer take responsibility for broken rods when packed in a soft nylon bag. All Sportube cases are accepted by the airlines. 

Phil's Portuguese fish list

Andy Little wrote in an article for the Angler’s Mail back in December 2006:

“I'M AMAZED that Portugal hasn't really become a popular angling destination for travelling carpers, as from what I can make out the potential is absolutely enormous.There are a mass of waters available either free of charge or on a very low cost day-ticket basis."