Fly Fishing France

Fly fishing in France can be practiced in the Alps, the Pyrenees and the Massif Central. The best rivers for trout and grayling fishing are in the French Alps & Provence region.

OUR FLY FISHING TRIPS:

Discover our fly fishing destinations in France:

CHAMONIX fly fishing trips
TOUR ALPS FLY FISHING
gap FLY FISHING trips
NON ANGLING TRIPS
lyon, marseille & nice

fishing charters in france

OUR FLY FISHING GUIDE COMPANY IN FRANCE

Do you want to hire a fly fishing guide in France?

If you’re here, it’s because you want to live an unforgettable experience and enjoy fly-fishing in the most beautiful mountains in France.

Fly Fishing France is a small company of local fishing guides created by Adrian, Bernard, Axel, and Bastien.

We’ve specialized in making guided fly fishing trips in the French Alps a reality. We also offer side activities for non-fishermen such as cultural, gastronomic, and nature activities.

We offer fishing trips from two locations in the French Alps: Chamonix and Gap. This is the fishing season we offer:

Fly fishing France Chamonix Gap

OUR GUIDED FLY FISHING SERVICES IN FRANCE

Our company of fishing guides in France offers guided days, trips, and fly-fishing lodges in France.

FLY FISHING TRIPS

We offer fishing trips in France that include transportation from the airport, accommodations, and guided fishing days.

FLY FISHING lodges

We offer fly-fishing trips taking place from 2 lodges in two different areas of the French Alps.

why-flyfishing-in-france
WHY CHOOSE US?

enjoy a fly fishing trip in France

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    WHY IS FLY FISHING IN FRANCE A DREAM?

    CULTURE AND TRADITION

    We want you to fish and at the same time, we want you to enjoy the elegance and sophistication of French culture. Its castles, historical buildings, the romance of its cities, and the traditions of the secret France.

    GASTRONOMY AND WINE

    Fishing in France must be accompanied by a great gastronomic experience and excellent wines. Can you imagine having a rosé from the Provence region accompanied by a local dish near the river?

    FISHING

    Fishing surrounded by beautiful rivers with wild trout combined with excellent cuisine in places declared World Heritage Sites.

    WHY IS FLY-FISHING IN FRANCE A DREAM?

    CULTURE AND TRADITION

    We want you to fish and at the same time, we want you to enjoy the elegance and sophistication of French culture. Its castles, historical buildings, the romance of its cities, and the traditions of the secret France.

    FISHING

    Fishing surrounded by beautiful rivers with wild trout combined with excellent cuisine in places declared World Heritage Sites.

    GASTRONOMY AND WINE

    Fishing in France must be accompanied by a great gastronomic experience and excellent wines. Can you imagine having a rosé from the Provence region accompanied by a local dish near the river?

    HOW DOES IT WORK?

    Select your trip and contact us at flyfishingfr@gmail.com

    Adrian will help you create your tailormade travel plan. We think like fishermen, but we don’t ever forget the companions!

    Confirm the reservation, pack your bags, and start dreaming!

    PLAN YOUR TRIP
    Contact us and we’ll help you plan the fishing trip of your dreams!

    IS FRANCE A GOOD DESTINATION FOR FLY FISHING?

    The possibilities of fly fishing in France are phenomenal! You can fish for trout in the Alps, the Pyrenees, and the Massif Central; you can also fish for grayling and even salmon in some of the rivers of the Atlantic Ocean. The rivers are public containing good populations of wild salmonids.

    Perhaps France is not a destination for trophy trout like Patagonia or New Zealand, but it’s the perfect destination to combine fishing with your couple. Don’t forget that France is the most popular tourist destination in the world.

    Fly-fishing in France is deeply rooted among the local populations. It should be noted that France is the country that has won the most world fly-fishing championships.

    Can you imagine being able to fly fish in the country of the Eiffel Tower, sunny coasts, classical art museums such as the Louvre, excellent cuisine, romanticism, cheese, Romanesque art and the best wines in the world? And all this surrounded by beautiful rivers with wild trout located next to World Heritage sites, restaurants with 3 Michelin Stars and National Parks of great beauty.

    Welcome to France, the paradise for fly fishing with your partner, family and / or friends!

     

    Fly fishing in France

    Here is more information about fly fishing in the three main fly fishing destinations in France:

    Fly fishing in France
    FLY FISHING IN THE FRENCH ALPS
    Fly fishing in France
    FLY FISHING IN THE CENTRAL MASSIF
    Fly fishing in France
    FLY FISHING IN THE FRENCH PYRENEES

    SPECIES FOR FLY FISHING IN FRANCE

    In France there are multiple species that are fly fished both in rivers and lakes or in the sea. The most common species are brown trout, rainbow trout, brook trout, and Atlantic salmon. You can also fish other species such as pike, bass, carp or sea bass.

    • Brown trout: we can find two types of brown trout in France. The Mediterranean bow trout (characterized by its lateral stripes) and the Atlantic brown trout with large, dark colored spots. There are populations of wild brown trout in most of the geography of France. Its biggest enemy is pollution and climate change.
    • Rainbow trout: this is an exotic species since it is not native to Europe, but to the Pacific Coast of North America. This fish has bred and become naturalized in some rivers in France, thus creating some wild populations. They’re also found in some rivers where they’re repopulated with sterile fish or the result of leaks from fish farms.
    • Brook trout: this voracious fish has also been introduced into the lakes of the Alps, the Pyrenees and in some specific areas in the center of the country.
    • Grayling: the Thymallus Thymallus is a fish belonging to the salmonid family. It’s characterized by its small mouth and its prominent dorsal fin. This fish was introduced into many French rivers from other central European countries such as Poland. Specimens were released in rivers such as the Dordogne, Upper Loire, Upper Rhône or the Ain where there are currently naturalized populations.
    • Atlantic salmon: this is not an abundant fish in France and its populations are in decline. Despite this, over a thousand salmon are caught a year in regions such as Bretagne. This fish can be caught in Departments 14, 22, 27, 29, 35, 50, 56, 61, 62, 64, and 76.
    • Other fish: other species that can be caught with a fly in France are Pike, Bass, Carp, and Sea Bass, but with a lower sporting interest.

     

    Brown trout, brook trout, and grayling are the most sought-after species for fly fishing in France. Here is more information about each of them:

    Fly fishing in France
    BROWN TROUT
    Salmon

    France is divided into 13 administrative regions, which are further subdivided into 94 departments. Each department has its own fishing regulations and open season. On the following website, you can find links to the fishing pages of each department: https://www.cartedepeche.fr/127-federations-departementales.htm. There, you can obtain information about the open periods for each year.

    In general, the fly fishing season in France varies depending on the species you want to catch and the classification of the waters:

    • First-category waters fishing season: These waters correspond to the upper reaches of rivers, where species such as trout, salmon, brook trout, grayling, and occasionally pike are found. The season in these waters is shorter than in others. There is a rest period for trout that spans a few months before and after their spawning. Typically, the fly fishing season in first-category rivers starts in March and ends in September or October, depending on the department. For instance, in department number 21, Côte-d’Or, the fishing season for the year 2024 started on March 9 and ended on September 15. It’s also essential to note that within the fishing season, not every day is open for fishing. In departments like Côte-d’Or, fishing is prohibited on Thursdays and Fridays in March and April 2024 in first-category waters, except on holidays.
    • Mountain lakes: Most regions consider mountain lakes as first-category waters, and the fishing season is shorter, usually starting in late May and ending in late September.

    Fly fishing in France

    • Second-Category Waters Fishing Season:

    Second-category waters include rivers and lakes where the predominant fish population consists of whitefish (carp, roach, tench, etc.) and carnivorous fish (pike, zander, black bass). In some cases, brown trout or rainbow trout may also inhabit these stretches due to reintroduction efforts. These areas are typically found in the middle and lower reaches of watercourses. The fishing season in these locations significantly differs from that of first-category waters and is categorized based on the target species.

    In certain departments, closed seasons are established in these waters to protect the reproduction of species such as pike and zander.

    Fly fishing in France

    The best time to fly fish in the rivers of France depends on the fishing settings / areas. As a general rule of thumb, mountain lakes and rivers have very good fishing from June to September and plain rivers have excellent conditions at the beginning of the season.

    1- Mountain rivers with a snow regime: the best months for fishing in these areas such as the Alps is:

    • After the snow melts: from June to October.
    • Before the snow melts: March and until mid-April.
    • The first months of the season where catches are low, but it’s the best time to fish for large trout around the midpoint of the day due to the hatching of large mayflies such as baetidae. On the contrary, the trout have greater activity after the snow melts.

    2- Mountain lakes: the activity of trout and brook trout depends on the altitude and water temperature. For lakes below 1,300 meters (4,265 ft), the best months are April and May. On the contrary, lakes above 2,000 meters (6,561 ft) have better fishing on the months after the snow melts such as June- August.

    In short, if you want to fly fish in France, you must look for rivers that have optimum thermal water temperatures around 12º C (53.6º F) and attend the best hatchings occurring in the following months:

    • At the beginning of the season, large baetidae hatch that activate the large trout that eat on the surface around the midpoint of the day.
    • The mayflies hatch in the plain rivers in May and June.
    • Finally, on summer afternoons there are large hatchings of mayflies and caddisflies.

    If you are planning to fly fish in France, it’s crucial to know that there is no common fishing regulation for the entire territory. France is divided into 13 administrative regions, further subdivided into 94 departments, each with its own fishing regulations.

    It’s important to consider the strong associational tradition in France, where the National Fishing Federation has complete control over public waters. Currently, the structure includes 3,700 local fishing associations, 94 departmental federations, 6 basin unions, 12 regional associations, 10 migratory associations, and 1 national federation. These entities work together to develop fishing, from the local to the national level.

    Guidelines to regulate freshwater recreational fishing originate from the National Fishing Federation through the National Development Plan for Sport Fishing corresponding to each year. Each department develops its own regulations after consulting with the associations that depend on it.

    To check these fishing regulations, you can visit the website of the Departmental Federation where you plan to fish. Simply search on Google “reglementation peche + Name of the department you wish to fish in,” and the information will always appear first. Fishing regulations summarize important aspects.

    Most trout-inhabited rivers are open for fishing, but there are exceptions, namely the “parcours.” Fishing parcours are freely accessible to holders of a valid fishing card and are marked on the riverbanks with panels at the beginning and end of the route. There are different types of parcours:

    • Discovery Parcours: Designed for novice anglers, these routes are easily accessible, and fishing is facilitated by the regular release of trout. They are ideal for both beginners and experienced anglers looking for a quiet moment by the water.
    • Sporting Parcours: Recognized for their quality management and fish population, these routes focus on environmental preservation and feature entirely wild fish.
    • No Kill Parcours: Mandate the release of certain fish, promoting the conservation of more fish and larger specimens. They are ideal for anglers seeking to preserve the fish population.
    • Tourist Parcours: Require an additional fishing permit, and some are regularly restocked. Examples include the Boréon parcours, which combines a lake and a 5 km route in the first fishing category, managed by the AAPPMA of Haute Vésubie.

    Understanding the regulatory complexity of fishing in France can be challenging for foreigners. Therefore, we always recommend hiring a fly fishing guide. Guides can help you avoid administrative infringements, take you to the best fishing spots, and optimize your fishing technique and experience in France.

    As we all know, trout are primarily found in areas with mountainous terrain, and this is due to several factors:

    • Cold and Oxygenated Water: Trout are cold-water fish and prefer habitats where water temperature is relatively low. In mountainous regions, especially in higher elevations, rivers and streams tend to have cold and well-oxygenated waters. Cold waters have a higher oxygen retention capacity, which is essential for trout.
    • Fast Flowing and Clear Waters: Trout usually inhabit fast-flowing and clear waters. Mountainous regions often feature rivers and streams with strong currents and transparent waters, providing the ideal environment for trout, where they find abundant food and shelter.
    • More Intact Natural Environment Less Affected by Intensive Human Activities.

     

    For these reasons, if you are looking for suitable trout habitats in France, you should explore its mountainous areas. The main mountainous areas and fly-fishing zones in France are located in the Alps, Pyrenees, Central Massif, and the Vosges.

    Broadly speaking, fly fishing in each of these mountain ranges is characterized by:

    • Alps: The Alps, located in southeastern France, are the highest mountain range in Western Europe, with majestic peaks and attractive ski resorts like Chamonix. Many rivers tributary to the Rhone River are found in these mountains. The Rhone River flows into the Mediterranean Sea, so the trout inhabiting the French Alps are mostly Mediterranean-fringed brown trout, also known as zebra trout. In addition to trout, there are native populations of grayling and other introduced species such as brown trout, lake trout, rainbow trout, and brook trout. The best departments for fishing in the Alps are Hautes-Alpes and Haute-Savoie.
    • Pyrenees: Forming the natural border between France and Spain, the Pyrenees offer stunning landscapes and are home to the legendary Roland’s Breach, a rocky gorge. These mountains in southern France are considered one of the world’s best fly-fishing destinations on their southern face, in Spain. Nobel laureate Ernest Hemingway fished there. The northern face of the Pyrenees has more elevation changes, and while there are good trout populations, they are far removed from the conservation-focused policies on the southern face, where fishing is showing excellent results. It is worth noting that in 2024, the World Fly Fishing Championship was held in the Occitania region, in rivers of the Regional Natural Park of the Pyrenees of Ariege and the Regional Natural Park of the Catalan Pyrenees. In the westernmost section of the Pyrenees, we find Atlantic-origin brown trout, salmon, and sea trout. In the eastern part, we have zebra trout. Additionally, there are brook trout, lake trout, rainbow trout, and grayling, all artificially introduced species with naturalized populations.
    • Central Massif: In the heart of France, the Central Massif is a mountain range of ancient, serene volcanoes, with the iconic Puy de Dôme being a volcanic cone. This area of France is ideal for spring fishing when the rivers from the Alps and Pyrenees flow with plenty of water due to melting snow.
    • Vosges: Located in northeastern France, the Vosges is a mountain range of wooded hills, known for its picturesque lakes and scenic hiking trails. This destination is only 3 hours from Paris, making it a suitable spot for a quick fishing getaway during your vacation in France.

    Fly fishing in France

    It’s almost impossible to choose the best fly-fishing spot in France. Nevertheless, our recommendation is always that you don’t leave Spain without spending a few days fly-fishing in the Alps. If your vacation in France doesn’t allow time for a trip to the Alps, perhaps you can afford a quick getaway from some of the main cities in France. Here you will find information regarding fly-fishing near some famous cities in France from which you can indulge in fly-fishing:

    Fly fishing in France

     

    To be able to fly fish in France you only need a fishing license. Each Department has its own license that you can buy online, in bookstores or small convenience stores. There’s also an “interfederal” license that costs €100 that will allow you to fish in the 91 Departments of France.

    For example, in the Haute-Garonne, the price of the annual fishing license for an adult is €77, for those under 18 years of age it’s €21, and the price for a single day of fishing is €15.

    In France, unlike other countries such as Spain, there are no limited or private areas in which special fishing permits are necessary in addition to the fishing license.

    Fishing without having a fishing license in the country is penalized with a fine of €450 and they also confiscate your fishing gear.

    In France, there are no exclusive lodges dedicated solely to fly-fishing enthusiasts. Until the establishment of our company, there were also no companies offering all-inclusive fly-fishing vacation packages.

    At Fly Fishing France, we have cultivated a symbiotic relationship with two exceptional hotels located in Chamonix and Gap, aiming to provide extraordinary fly-fishing vacations in northern France. The selection of these hotels was based on their service quality, facilities, attentive staff, and excellent locations for fly-fishing.

    The geographical distribution of our two fly-fishing lodges is as follows:

    Fly fishing in France

    If you’re looking for more information on fly-fishing lodges in France, visit the following place:

    FLY FISHING LODGES IN FRANCE

     

     

    To become a fly-fishing guide in France, one must possess certification, liability and casualty insurance, and be registered as a company. In our case, to offer comprehensive packages including accommodations, transfers, and guided services, we have established ourselves as a travel agency.

    It is crucial for anglers to ensure they hire a legally recognized fishing guide, such as ours. Professionals aspiring to work as fishing guides must hold the recreational fishing guide-instructor certificate issued by the Ministry of Youth, Sports, and Agriculture. Alternatively, they may possess a certificate indicating engagement in this activity before the year 2003.

    Many fishing guides in France have united under a professional trade union organization (SMPGF) established in 2019, comprising over 2,000 professionals. This union aims to promote, develop, and defend the fishing guide profession.

    In addition to highlighting the assurances of hiring a legal guide in France, we present four compelling reasons why it is important to engage a guide during your trip to the land of the Eiffel Tower:

    • Your leisure time is valuable: Fly-fishing guides in France are seasoned professionals who select the best fishing areas, offer advice on flies and techniques, ensuring you catch more fish.
    • Unique experience: Guides take you to picturesque locations, arrange excellent riverbank lunches, explore less-frequented fishing spots, and entertain you with stories and humor for a truly memorable experience.
    • River safety: Many trout-filled rivers in France are situated in remote, rugged areas with whitewater or reservoir regulations. Fishing guides are well-versed in the risks associated with each river, avoiding unnecessary exposure, and equipped with first aid training.
    • Skill enhancement: Fishing guides excel in communication, patience, and teaching. They help you refine your technique or adapt it to the nuances of fishing in a new destination, considering variations in trout behavior based on the country, time of year, and surroundings.

    FLY FISHING GUIDES IN FRANCE

    For enthusiasts of saltwater fly fishing, it’s important to note that France is generally not considered an ideal destination unless you visit French Guiana, especially the Guadeloupe Archipelago or Polynesia. As widely known, prime locations for saltwater fly fishing are found in the Caribbean, and the geographical location of most of France doesn’t allow for fly fishing for species such as bonefish, permit, tarpon, among others.

    Nevertheless, in the regions of Brittany and Normandy along the Atlantic coast and in the Mediterranean, it is possible to fly fish for species like sea bass, mahi-mahi, or Little tunny. Local anglers targeting these species often use kayaks, hire fishing charters, and in some very specific locations, fish from the shore.

    It’s important to emphasize that in France, there are no fishing guide companies offering services in saltwater. Therefore, if you plan to fish in these locations, it is recommended to bring your own equipment and flies.

    An exception to this is Guadeloupe, an archipelago in the Caribbean that forms an overseas region of France. This place is a hidden gem for fly fishing. Despite being a popular tourist destination, it remains relatively unknown in fly fishing circles. Guadeloupe offers diverse environments and species, from tarpon in mangroves to bonefish and snappers in the flats. Fishing equipment recommendations range from 7wt to 10wt, depending on the target species.

    In France, dry fly fishing is ideal thanks to the extensive daylight hours and favorable climate, allowing for hatches and surface feeding throughout the year. Although nymph fishing is more effective at certain times and months. A notable aspect of fly fishing in France is that the high fishing pressure in some rivers has made the trout extremely selective. These challenges, coupled with France’s rich angling tradition, have propelled the country to stand out as a global powerhouse in fly fishing.

    Examining the results of the World Fly Fishing Championships organized by the Confédération Internationale de la Pêche Sportive (FIPS Mouche), it is evident that the French team ranks first with 10 gold medals, 11 silver medals, and 6 bronze medals. Additionally, Pascal Cognard from France is considered the world’s best fly fisherman with a total of 3 gold medals and one bronze, followed by his compatriot Julien Daguillanes.

    The abundance of rivers and the “extreme difficulty” of some of them make France a breeding ground for champions; here, the world’s best anglers and the most sophisticated fly fishing techniques converge.

    One of the most famous and effective fly fishing techniques is Euro Nymphing. Originating in France and perfected by Spanish anglers, this technique differs by employing a thin monofilament leader instead of a fly line, equipped with a strike indicator. Advantages include sensitivity in fast currents, precise casts, more intensive fishing, a lower likelihood of spooking fish, and the ability to guide flies to a specific depth with small patterns. Moreover, this technique utilizes very light equipment and longer rods.

    Another technical aspect for which France stands out is the use of CDC (Cul de Canard) flies. Marc Petit Jean was one of the pioneers in using this material, known for its incredible effectiveness in tying dry flies, nymphs, and streamers. CDC feathers are characterized by:

    • Adaptability and lightness, with solid and resilient fibers. Unlike some materials like rooster hackle, CDC feathers can be trimmed without affecting their properties. Semi-translucent, flies tied with CDC appear more realistic than those with more opaque materials.
    • High aerodynamics; during the cast, CDC deforms and quickly regains its original shape upon landing, creating a parachute effect. This facilitates casting and provides a more discreet landing. Additionally, in terms of hydrodynamics, CDC deforms both underwater and in the air. Tiny air bubbles entering the fibers generate a notably realistic effect.
    • The softness of CDC feathers prevents fish from being alarmed when attacking the fly, crucial in nymph and streamer fishing, reducing rejections compared to setups made with stiffer materials.

    What do I need for fly fishing in France?

    To engage in fly fishing in France, you must obtain a license for the department you plan to visit. You can make the purchase on the website www.cartedepeche.fr. Additionally, be aware of the interdepartmental fishing license. It is also necessary to familiarize yourself with fishing regulations, which include fishing seasons, permitted fishing days, authorized flies, and restricted fishing locations.

     

    How much does a fishing license cost in France?

    The cost of a fishing license in France varies by department. The Interdepartmental Fishing License is priced at €105, while the departmental fishing license costs €80. Discounts are available for other groups such as women, retirees, children, and individuals with disabilities. For instance, the fishing license for children under 12 years old has a reduced cost of only €7.

     

    Can non-residents fly fish in France?

    Yes, non-residents can fly fish in France. They need to obtain a fishing license, the cost and requirements of which may vary by region. It is essential to comply with local regulations and obtain the appropriate permits for specific fishing locations.

     

    Are the Alps the best destination for fly fishing in France?

    The Alps, Pyrenees, and Central Massif are considered the prime destinations for fly fishing in France. However, the Alps stand out, particularly for the beauty of their mountains and the variety of landscapes and species they offer, such as brown trout, brook trout, grayling, lake trout, and rainbow trout. All of this is experienced in stunning locations like the Ecrins National Park.

     

    Who are the most famous fly fishermen in France?

    Among the most prominent fly fishermen in France is Pascal Cognard, regarded as the greatest competition angler in history. Currently, his compatriot Julien Daguillanes stands out, along with the Spaniard David Arcay, as one of the competitors with the most medals in the last 10 years.

    ENJOY A FLY FISHING TRIP IN FRANCE

      Basic Information on Data Protection
      Responsible: Viajes Pesca Mosca S.L. (FLY FISHING FRANCE).
      Purpose: Process your reservation.
      Rights: Access, rectify and delete the data, as well as other rights, as explained in the additional information you can consult in our privacy policy.

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