top of page

Fly Fishing Morocco

Fly Fishing Morocco.jpg

Fly Fishing the Atlas Mountains

From the northern end of the country around the city of Tangier to the southern extent of the High Atlas Mountains south of Marrakesh, trout dwell in the pristine headwater streams fed by cold water springs. These streams act as a desert oasis in the otherwise desolate landscape of the Atlas. Finding the endemic trout of the area can be quite difficult as locals have cleared many of the native populations with net fishing. Remaining populations can be found in difficult to traverse canyons and the headwater streams that offer better protection from both regulation and fallen boulder fields that provide better shelter for the trout. Some stocking programs exist throughout the Atlas but are sadly limited to Rainbow trout currently. Both streams and lakes are stocked during the spring and summer months to give anglers the opportunity to get out on the water. Protected forested areas such as the newer Ifrane National Park between Azrou and Fes have several popular stocked streams and rivers. Native brown trout populations in this area are still in decline due to overharvest but better regulation and management practices are beginning to be implemented to hopefully create better fisheries in the near future. With efforts from locals such as Karim Boutellaka of Morocco Unexplored and other dedicated outdoorsman with an eye toward conservation, these changes should come sooner rather than later. Along with fly fishing, Karim brings trekkers, birders, and hunters across Morocco in search of its natural wonders. 

Trout Species of Morocco

Five species of trout can be found in Morocco. As previously mentioned, rainbow trout are stocked throughout the country. Brook trout were also stocked in the past but are no longer likely to be found. The remaining species are native populations of the Salmo genus. Brown trout (Salmo trutta) being the most notable species of the genus found in Morocco, both the macrostigma (Mediterranean) and Pellegrini species are found in Morocco. The Tensift trout (pellegrini) is a subspecies only found in the Atlas Mountains. The Green Trout (Salmo viridis), Moroccan or Ifni Trout (Salmo akairos), and Fine Spotted Trout (Salmo multipunctata) can only be found in Morocco. 

Brown Trout (Salmo macrostigma and pellegrini)

Tensift Trout (Salmo pelegrini) 

Found in the uppermost tributaries of the Tensift watershed of the Central and Southern Atlas Mountains, Salmo pellegrini is found in the most secluded headwater streams of the area.

Fine Spotted Trout

Fine Spotted Trout Salmo multipunctata.jpg

Fine Spotted or Dades Trout (Salmo multipunctata) 

The Dades of Fine Spotted Trout are found high in the Draa/Dades River Watershed of the Central Atlas Mountains. Populations of these fish are only found in small stretches of a handful of tributaries. Though rare throughout their range, they are very willing to come to a fly when unspooked. Large boulders and undercut ridges provide excellent cover for these trout against local net fishermen. 

Green Trout

Green Trout Salmo viridis.jpg

Green Trout (Salmo viridis) of Lac Isli

The Green Trout (Salmo viridis) can only be found in Lac Isli of the Central Atlas. Likely the rarest trout species remaining in the world, this trout dwells in the depths of the lake for much of the year, only returning to the shallows to spawn in the winter months. Fishing on Lake Isli has heavy restrictions during the days of the year it is open. Sadly, catch and release regulations are not yet in place on the lake. This trout feeds on the abundant midge, mayfly, and caddis pupae found in the lake. The lake is thought to be the remnants of a meteor impact millions of years ago, scarring the mountain terrain. The perimeter of the lake drops fast into 30+ feet.

Moroccan or Ifni Trout

Moroccan or Ifni Trout (Salmo akairos)

Much like the Green Trout, the Moroccan Trout can only be found in a single lake. Lac Ifni lies in the shadow of Mount Toubkal, the highest peak in the Atlas Mountains. This lake is forbidden to anglers with some possible access for some anglers in the future. These trout were once thought to be on the cusp of extinction but have made a fair recovery thanks to the protection from locals. Certainly one of, if not the most scenic destinations in all of Morocco. The hike to the lake is not for the feint of heart however. With proper management, the trout of Ifni could provide an excellent attraction for anglers all over the world.

Trout Fishing Morocco

Once anglers are able to locate fish, coaxing an eat isn't too difficult. Stoneflies, Caddis, and Mayflies can all be found in the creeks and rivers of the Atlas mountains. Caddis fly nymphs and Mayflies can also be found in abundance on the lakes along with midges and dragonfly larvae. Dry dropper presentations work well on the smaller headwater streams and the many plunge pools that hide trout. In streams with deeper pools and rock shelfs, euronymphing can be a more effective tactic as trout will hug the bottom beneath the heavier current seams during periods of inactivity. Evening hatches in the late spring and summer months are typical throughout the Atlas and offer anglers an easier time to find and catch trout. Overall the Atlas offer adventurous anglers a tremendous place to explore for the endemic trout of the region.

Learn more about the trout species of the planet in our articles on Trout Species of the World, Trout Fishing Southern EuropeTrout Fishing IrelandTrout Fishing JapanTrout Fishing Turkey, and Trout of North America. Our detailed articles on What Do Trout EatFly Fishing a Hatch, and Fly Fishing Streamers will give you a great idea on how to target each of these species.

bottom of page