A Few Connections in France

Since my wife is French I have had occasion to fish several areas of interest. Here are some good connections....

The contacts I list below are all personally tested and I note guides that I have used. Their English is limited but not a big problem, especially if you make arrangements by e-mail. There is a turn-over of guides as it is not easy to make a living guiding in France.

The French Nymphing (version of European nymphing) is very popular and effective. This is a good site with the key Lance Egan pattern of the Frenchie Fly.

Finally, here is a chart to convert the X system of leraders to the French system in (?) centieme.

The Ardeche:

A hidden spot is one of my favorites, the Department of the Ardeche, whose prefecture is the town of Privas. There are now about 10 flyfishing only streams in the area and at least one guide. You can get the flyfishing guide from the information office in Privas. Many of the sites are Good to OK but some are full of white fish. The best in my opinion are on the Loire and remarkably in the town of Privas itself where they have stocked downtown.... Here are some photos. The best know area is the headwaters of the Loire River. This at the very top has some flyfishing only areas that are hit pretty hard. Lower down the Loire goes throughg some gorges that are better fishing and hard access.


The Alps Maritime West of Nice (Rivera):

There are several trout streams within 2 hours drive of Nice. One expert guide has dropped his buiness due to lack of clients, though. The main river I have fished, L'Esteron, has fallen on hard times. The terrain is interesting and here are some photos. I have also had little notable sucess in La Vésubie or La Tinée on the West side of Nice.


The Verdon at Castellane:

The Verdon in Provence, north and west of Nice, is a famous limestone gorge... with large fish in the river below (think Grand Canyon). There is an excellent guide there Rivera fly fishing.


The Alps Maritime East of Nice (The Roya and Franco-Italian Southern Border):

This is a first class, but technical, stream about 1.5 hours drive of Nice. One expert guide, who is also the local warden, knows the complex regulations well. He can be found through the main tobacco store (Tabac) ...

This stream has a complex set of licenses and requirements. To fish here you need the stamps and licenses for the Alps Maratimes, plus the permit for the local area of stream.

These fall into three areas from south to north:

Breil sur Roya (Plus La Brigue).

Breil is the largest area with catch and release fishing. Here are some photos

These folks are very friendly and used to maintain a web page, but it has gone dead. They have just opened a new area next to the Italian border (south). There are two tobacco stores in town, both used to sell licenses. The first one on entry into the town from the south has the most information, flys and may have contacts with guides.


This is the smallest area with the best restaurant, Le Bellevue (04 93 04 51 37)... the owner is a fisherman with lots of stories to tell... try the past with mushrooms. Here are some photos

These folks are extremely friendly and have a great view.

Licenses are sold in the little bookstore on the entry into the town.


This is the area that is the most difficult to understand. Here are some photos

These folks are hard to reach but have some very good waters. Licenses are sold in the PMU (bar with off-track betting)... this is priceless information... try to find it out.

This area is convenient because right across the Col de Tende is the River Gesso in Italy.


Some good other sites in France on flyfishing:

Gourmetfly the ties together dining and fishing... who can argue with that. Need to try some of these spots.

Chalk Stream Net has what looks like a nice spot in Normandy... gotta get there.

This pechesport site and basquecountry (English) have highly recommended sites in the Basque area, South-Western France.

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