For some, this can be a daunting prospect, especially if you are
not fluent in French, and although in some areas it will be easier than others to organise
your fishing venue and licence, it is often easier to pre-organise your fishing holiday,
so do try and get as much information as possible.
To begin with you must have a fishing licence to fish on rivers, streams and lakes
throughout France unless these are privately owned or booked as a fishing holiday where
the fishing licence requirements are normally included, but it is advisable to check this
out before you travel!
But, if you do need to obtain your own fishing permit, these can usually be obtained from
the local fishing tackle shop or alternatively from the local bar or tobac, however, if
you are not sure on what is required then you can get advice from the local tourist
information board, which can also provide maps of where you can and cannot fish.
If you are only going to be on holiday in France for
a short time, then you can get what is known as The Carte de Peche de Vacances, which
covers an angler for up to fifteen consecutive days and can be used between 1st June and
30th November, but outside of these dates an annual fishing licence is mandatory.
Yet, with an annual permit that you can use for the whole year, do bear in mind that this
will only be for one department in France, unless you get it stamped for different areas
that you may go to, and this is something that you will need to do for all fresh water
When it comes to catfish and carp fishing,
you can get a licence to do this in the local rivers or public lakes, but the majority of
people will want to opt for a carp fishing holiday on
a dedicated lake, and when you go to a dedicated privately owned lake for carp fishing, cat fishing, etc, then you will not
normally have to worry about getting your own individual licence as this will already have
either been sorted out by the travel agency or the owner under their own fishing
Also, you will find that boats are allowed to be used quite a bit in France, but you may
need to have a separate part to your licence to enable you to use a boat, even if it is
only for baiting up an area, and do please be careful if you have an echo sounder in your
boat, as you are not allowed to have both this and your tackle in the boat at the same
Now, when you start thinking of night fishing, this is prohibited in a lot of places in
France, but when on a private fishing lake,
or if with the correct licence on certain waters, this can be allowed, if not, then you
can only fish half hour after sunrise to half hour before sunset. Saying that, there
are some places on the rivers seine, rhone, mosselle, oise,
madine and rhine, etc that do allow night fishing, but there are many places that do ban
the use of a bivvy or tent even if night fishing is allowed and you may only get away with
using your brolly!
You will be pleased to know that a licence is not needed when sea fishing and the Atlantic
coastline will provide excellent fishing where you can go out on a boat to catch bass,
conger eels and even tuna or surf cast for sea bream to name but a few.
Another favourite is fly fishing for salmon and trout which is available in lots of public
canals and navigable rivers, but as with most countries, these will also contain other
fish such as Pike, so beware! However some of the best places to try your hand at
fly fishing are often owned by groups and in this case you would need to pay the owners
for a permit to fish as well as having your normal fishing licence. You will be able
to find some of the best salmon fishing in France around the Pyrenees
Atlantiques and the river Loire is also a major salmon fishery for France.
With course fishing being very popular for the whole family, due to the fact of the many
different types of fish you can catch such as bream, tench, perch, roach, and if you
include carp, catfish and pike that are in abundance in areas like the Dordogne, Lot and
Charente Maritime you will have so much fun, not knowing what is going to end up on your
rod next! But if you like fishing for black bass, the river Rhone is known as a
premier bass fishery, as is the river Saone.
Just one last point, the fishing dates and times do vary each year in France, so it is
always advisable to check on these before planning your fishing holiday, and at the end of
the day, forget about the headaches of the licences, just enjoy the whole experience and
you too could be in with a chance of catching a fish that has never been caught before!