Fly fishing in the French Pyrenees
The French Pyrenees, located between the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean, offer numerous opportunities to catch brown trout, brook trout, Arctic char, and lake trout in rivers, streams, and mountain lakes. Nevertheless, the best fishing is found on the southern face, in the Spanish Pyrenees.
Our fly fishing trips in the French Pyrenees:
WHY FLY FISHING IN THE FRENCH PYRENEES
The French Pyrenees represent the northern face of a majestic mountain range that stretches along the border between France and Spain. With breathtaking landscapes, they harbor peaks surpassing 3000 meters in altitude, such as the Mont Blanc de Gavarnie. This mountainous region is renowned for having hundreds of kilometers of first-category rivers and mountain lakes for fly fishing. However, as mentioned earlier, the best fishing in the Pyrenees and perhaps in Europe is located on the southern face, in the Spanish Pyrenees.
Returning to the French Pyrenees, in this destination, you can fish a vast variety of rivers and lakes that will cater to both your skill level and preferences. In a single fly-fishing trip, you can enjoy catching beautiful brook trout in mountain lakes, small trout in charming streams, or trophy-sized trout in the foothill rivers of the Pyrenees.
WHERE TO FLY FISH IN THE FRENCH PYRENEES
The French departments where you can fly fish from east to west in the French Pyrenees are as follows: Pyrénées-Orientales, Ariège, Hautes-Pyrénées, and Pyrénées-Atlantiques.
- Fly fishing in the western Pyrenees (Pyrénées-Atlantiques): The western region of the French Pyrenees, in Pyrénées-Atlantiques, spans from high peaks to the Atlantic coast. It includes towns such as Pau and Biarritz, influenced by a rich Basque cultural heritage and a unique blend of mountains and sea. This area features an Atlantic climate influenced by proximity to the ocean and the presence of migratory species in its rivers, such as Atlantic salmon, sea trout, and lamprey. Additionally, it is home to native resident species like brown trout and exotic ones like brook trout or lake trout. Notable rivers in this part of the Pyrenees include the Les Nives River in the Basque Country and the Gaves River in Bearn. The Gave de Pau River, the Gave d’Oloron River, and their tributaries are also noteworthy.
- Fly fishing in the Central Pyrenees: The French Central Pyrenees host the highest peaks in the mountain range, such as Vignemale. This region is characterized by pristine landscapes, glaciers, and high mountain lakes, home to emblematic species like the bearded vulture. This destination is ideal for fly fishing enthusiasts and hikers. The territory is composed of rivers that are tributaries of the Garonne, which flows into the Atlantic Ocean, resulting in Atlantic-origin brown trout. Prominent rivers for fly fishing in this part of the Pyrenees include the Garonne River, Salat River, Adour River, Ariège River, Vicdessos River, and Aude River.
- Fly fishing in the eastern Pyrenees (Ariège and Pyrénées-Orientales): The eastern region of the French Pyrenees, bordering the Mediterranean, stands out for its geographical diversity, ranging from mountain peaks to Mediterranean shores. This will be the setting for the upcoming Fly Fishing World Championship in 2024, specifically in the departments of Ariège and Pyrénées-Orientales in the Occitanie region.
Some of the best rivers in this part of the Pyrenees coincide with the locations of the world championship, including the Vicdessos River, Carlit Lakes, Têt River, Camporells Lakes, and Aude River. In this Pyrenean area, rivers flow into the Mediterranean Sea, making the prevalent brown trout variety the Mediterranean zebra trout, also known as fringed trout.