Lottery winners are allowed to fish Spain: Who gets access on a given day in the spring and summer to the best trout and salmon preserves along the key rivers in Cantabria is decided in the autumn. Applications will be accepted Nov. 1-30.

Travel Q&A

November 03, 1996|By NEW YORK TIMES NEWS SERVICE

At our place in Cantabria, Spain, we'd like to offer our visiting friends the opportunity for trout fishing. Can you help obtain information about season and license requirements?

Getting official permission in advance for salmon or trout fishing in Cantabria can be extremely difficult for foreign fishermen. Every autumn a lottery is held in Santander to determine who gets access on a given day to the best fishing preserves along the key rivers in the next spring and summer.

To compete effectively, you or a representative must be present to submit an application to the lottery, which is held at the Servicio de Montes, Caza, Pesca y Conservacion de la Naturaleza, 4 Calderon de la Barca, 39002 Santander, Spain; telephone (34-42) 207612, open 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. weekdays.

About 25 percent of the preserve spots offered in the annual lottery are not claimed, according to Juan Carlos Santisteban, chief of the business office of the Cantabria regional government office that regulates fishing. So what many visitors do is phone the fishing license office in Santander -- or just show up -- to find out if any preserves happen to be available on a given day or the next few days. They then buy an annual license and pay an additional day fee.

The annual permit for inland waters costs $8. It allows fishing along the unrestricted waters of rivers that are not part of the preserves. While this permit is cheaper and you go when you like, the best fishing generally is in the preserves. Moreover, on unrestricted sections of rivers, local rules limit fishing to a mere 30 minutes if another fisherman is waiting.

There is also a preserve permit. For salmon preserves, it costs $65.60 a day. Valid for up to three fishermen a day, it would cover, for example, a visitor, a friend and a guide; each must have the $8.25 annual fishing permit. For trout, the permit is valid for a single day and costs $5.85 a person.

The principal rivers for salmon are the Ason, the Pas y Pisuena and the Deva. The best salmon fishing is on the Pas y Pisuena.

The salmon and trout seasons for 1997 have not been set yet; this year the season ran basically from mid-March to mid-July.

The deadline (Oct. 31) for the salmon lottery has passed. Applications for the trout lottery are due by Nov. 30. No deposit is required.

When is the best time of the year to hike Zion Narrows in Zion National Park?

Those intent on hiking all 16 miles from the top of the Narrows, which carves a gorge through the upper reaches of Zion Canyon in southwest Utah, must contend with the waters of the north fork of the Virgin River for more than half the trip. Barring flash floods and thunderstorms, the best time to visit Zion Narrows is late August and September. That's when the river is at its lowest -- ankle-deep to chest-high -- and the air temperature is in the 70s to the 90s. At minimum, hikers should have a sturdy pair of hiking shoes and a walking stick for balance.

Starting from Chamberlain's Ranch, hikers make their way in a riverbed that ranges from 20 to 100 feet wide past sandstone grottoes and natural springs. The current runs cold and swift and the footing can be tricky on rocks made slick by algae. At journey's end is the Temple of Sinawava, a natural amphitheater at the terminus of Zion Scenic Canyon Drive.

Even those in good condition, the National Park Service says, may find the hike grueling. It takes at least 12 hours, according to Denny Davies, chief naturalist at Zion. Permits, which are free, are required for hikes from the top to the bottom of the Narrows. No more than 80 people get permits for the single-day hike; no more than 45 get them for overnight stays at one of the 12 campsites en route. Day hikers also require a backcountry permit. All permits are issued at the Zion Canyon Visitor Center from 9 a.m. to closing on the day before the hike, and those issued for Friday and Saturday tend to go fast.

A different approach to the Narrows, literally and figuratively, is hiking upstream. This route starts at the temple and, according to Davies, the average hiker goes about a mile to a mile and a half, round trip.

That, he says, provides a sense of the Narrows' quiet and isolation and takes about two hours for a mile-and-a-half trip.

The Park Service stresses that there is no marked trail and that flash floods and hypothermia are constant threats. For information, weather forecasts and stream reports, call (801) 772-3256.

Pub Date: 11/03/96

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