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Presa de Chira

March 19, 2013

Gran Canaria’s lake district

Actually, Gran Canaria doesn’t do lakes. But it’s home to 69 reservoirs. Many of these, including the remote Presa de Chira, are set in stunning terrain, in landscapes to rival Wainwright Country.

Lake Chira
Lake Chira

Water works

Rainfall is scarce on the island and its soil’s got more pores open than a sauna-crazy Finn. So the islanders built presas to conserve as much water as possible. Providing storage space for the treated water created by desalination plants which makes the Atlantic ocean drinkable. With the result that there’s now a reservoir for every 25m² of GC.

And if you know your history

Reservoirs on Gran Canaria mainly date back to 1912. When the Ley de Cabildos (Councils Law) was passed. Although the famous engineer Juan León y Castillo had already been constructing them 10 years prior.

Carp life

As a totally natural way of restricting the number of aquatic weeds in the presas, they started to introduce carp to the likes of Presa de Chira. These monsters of the deep, which can weigh up to over 55lb (25kg), are the underwater version of a lawnmower. And their population has multiplied, leading to Gran Canaria establishing itself as a popular carp-fishing destination.

Shore leave on Presa de Chira

Which is how I found myself cutting loose on the banks of Presa de Chira in the company of Carp Gran Canaria, having been commissioned to write a father-and-sons-type feature for Thomas Cook Travel magazine. CGC’s owner Dave Beecham is the record holder of the largest common carp caught on the island. And he and guide Derek were the perfect teachers, schooling me and my two eldest sons Alex and Dani in the subtle art of carp fishing. Until we fell for the pastime. Hook, line, and indeed, sinker-style.