Fishing in France

Lying in the heart of Western Europe, France offers an amazing variety of fishing opportunities from flyfishing for trout in a mountain stream to deep sea fishing on the Atlantic or Mediterranean coast.
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About France

France, for some reason, is seldom associated with fishing. And yet no country in Europe can boast of such variety of fishing opportunities. The Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea, mountain streams in the Alps and the Pyrenees, powerful currents of the Loire, Rhone, Seine and other of the thousands of French rivers, big natural lakes and small stocked ponds, the embankments of Paris and the wilderness of the Sologne - in every part of France you can see a person with a fishing rod in hand. All navigable rivers and creeks over 10 meter in width in France are public domain, while lakes and ponds located on private property can be considered private domains, which the owners can stock and fish at all times and by all means except poison. Local fishers must belong to an association and pay an annual fishing tax, and non-residents must purchase a special permit. Most tourists who come to France are drawn by better advertised attractions such as art, history, cuisine and wine, but if you are a passionate angler, you will find the country should rank high in fishing opportunities as well.

Targeted Fish Species

The coastal waters of mainland France (that is, not counting the French overseas territories), feature two different marine ecosystems. At the Atlantic Coast you can find almost every species of fish that can be caught in the Atlantic Ocean, and numerous fishing charters offer their services. For bigger fish you should probably choose the coast from Bordeaux to Brest, while the coast near the English Channel is heavily fished commercially, and offers mostly smaller species such as seabass, mackerel, and sea bream. The Mediterranean coast boasts of numerous iconic dwellers of the warm seas such as tuna and swordfish. The rivers and lakes in the mainland feature the classic ichthyofauna of the European Plain, including but not limited to pike, perch, bass, bream, grayling and carp. Many rivers, especially in the Atlantic floodplain, are also blessed with a healthy population of salmon and brown trout. Last but not the least, the mountain streams in the Alps, the Pyrenees, and the smaller mountain ranges scattered here and there all over the country are a perfect setting for trout fishing.

Fishing Techniques

The fishing types you can enjoy in France are as diverse as the fish found in the country’s waters. The ice cold mountain streams are perfect for catching trout on the fly. Flyfishers can also enjoy their sport along the country’s river basins, with some outfitters offering multi-days trips drifting down France’s most beautiful natural preserves, although spinning and other light tackle techniques can also be used successfully. Even ice fishing can be found on certain lakes located on higher altitudes. Inshore and offshore fishing on the coasts are as exciting and diverse, whether we’re talking about bottom fishing for flounder in the uneasy waters of the English Channel or heavy tackle fishing from chartered boats on the Cote d'Azur. Whatever type of fishing you enjoy, you’ll find it in France.