Fishing in France

France is becoming an increasingly popular destination amongst holidaymakers who want to capture something a little out of the ordinary. French fishing lakes are regularly stocked with carp that weigh more than 40lb and it is not unusual to find a fishing lake with carp of over 60lbs.

Fishing in France

Fishing in France

Catfish are also growing increasingly popular with the angler. With some recently caught specimens weighing in at over 200lbs, a fishing holiday may no longer be a quiet time by yourself to rest and relax but a place where you need friends and family to help you pull the fish from the water.

But what do you actually need to go fishing in France?  A comprehensive list is detailed here:

Fishing Permits

Fishing in France is licensed in a very similar manner to fishing in the UK. The first thing that you need to do is acquire a fishing permit from the local AAPPMA (Associations Agrées de Pêche et de Protection du Milieu Aquatique). The AAPPMA website can be found here, and if you would like the page translating, there is an option at the top left of the page to select English.

Unlike the UK, the French classify the water on which you are fishing and not the type of fish you are trying to catch;

  • Category one waters are most likely to contain salmon, trout and freshwater white fish.
  • Category two waters are all other fishing areas, such as rivers, canals and lakes.

There are a variety of fishing permits available which vary according to age, sex and the duration you require it for. In an effort to encourage more women to take up the sport, women’s passes are considerably cheaper than those for their male counterparts. Permits are often specific to the area in which you are applying so, if you are planning to travel round, make sure you purchase an inter-departmental license. Type of license;

  • Annual Adult Pass – Allows you to fish using all methods on first and second category waters. his licence comes with the option of extending your fishing to other departments
  • Annual 'Women’s Taster' Promotional Permit - Allows fishing on first and second category waters.
  • Annual 'Under 12s taster' Permit - Allows fishing on first and second category waters
  • Annual 'Child/Teenager' Permit - For the over 12’s. Allows fishing on first and second category waters
  • Holiday Permit – Valid for 7 consecutive days. Allows fishing on first and second category waters
  • Day Permit – Valid for one day only. Allows fishing on first and second category waters

The licences entitle you to fish on all waters managed by the local association, and public waters across France. It is obligatory to carry a permit with you when you are fishing and illegal to fish without one.

A list of regulations governing the number of rods you can use, capture sizes and this year’s fishing dates can be found of the AAPPMA website here.

Where to Fish

Fishing by boat

Fishing by boat

Once you have acquired your fishing licence, you need to know where to fish. The National Federation of Fisheries (Fédération Nationale de la Pêche) offers guidance on where and when to fish in each area of France. The page is written in French. However, if you access it using a programme such as Google Chrome, the site will be automatically translated into English for you and you should be able to easily navigate your way around.

It is worth noting that, in France, the dates of the fishing season change according to fish stocks, so it is essential that you check you are authorised to fish before you go. As a guide;

  • For category one waters, the season tends to run from the second week of March to the third week of September
  • For category two waters, there tend to be no restrictions, with the exception of Pike, for which the season runs from the 1st May to the last Sunday of January.

Shore and Coastal Fishing

You do not require a permit for beach fishing. However, there are certain regulations you are expected to follow. A list detailing the minimum size and amount of fish which may be kept, along with other regulations governing sea fishing is available on the French government website here. Once again, this page is written in France but accessing the website through Google Chrome will provide an English translation for you.

Some of the Best Fishing Spots in France

France is a fisherman’s paradise. There are a large number of private lakes that offer the opportunity to catch huge carp, some of which offer night fishing and will even bring you a bacon sandwich and a mug of cocoa in the dark hours before the dawn.

If, however, river fishing is more what you desire, here are some of the finest places you can fish

The River Tarn

Located in the South of France, the River Tarn contains the largest population of carp and catfish in France. Carp tend to range in weight from 5lb-50lb, and the river has the advantage that night fishing is legal all year round.

The average size for a catfish caught on the Tarn is over 100lbs, with the record currently standing at 230lbs. This huge fish measured almost 8 feet in length.

The River Risle

If you would prefer to fish for trout using the fly, then the River Risle may be the choice for you. Located in the Normandy, the river is just a short journey for the Englishman and contains a vast array of fish. The river was a favourite haunt of Charles Ritz, former president of the Ritz hotel chain.

The Seine

The River Seine is home to over 40 species of fish, including perch, zander and catfish. It is incredible to think that, in one of the most stunning cities in the world, you can sit of the banks of the river and catch fish whilst in view of the Eiffel Tower.

Dordogne River

For the fisherman who likes to turn his hand to everything, what could be better than the Dordogne? The river is home to carp, catfish, salmon, trout and pike. The river also plays host to the black bass, an unusual catch for a British angler.

Fishing Holiday Homes

Fishing Holiday Homes

Wherever you travel in France, you are certain to find a new and different fishing experience.

If you are a keen fisherman, fishing in France will give you the opportunity to catch a wide variety of species, which you are unlikely to encounter together anywhere else in the world.

We also have a number of properties available for holiday lets which have their own private fishing lakes. To see where to stay with fishing included click here.


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