Summer Holiday Fishing in Brittany France

If you are heading off on a summer holiday across the channel this year with the family, then why not sneak in the fishing tackle to? Our online marketing manager Ceri did just that for a trip to Brittany.

Fishing in France can be easy to find and available at a low cost if you don’t have the time or resources to book a full length fishing trip. Find out how easy it can be on this blog post!

River Blavet near Pontivy Brittany

River Blavet near Pontivy Brittany.

Brittany, my holiday destination most summers is a fine spot for varied fishing of many disciplines. Easy to get to with a fairly short ferry crossing and dotted with fish filled water bodies of all types. One day you can spend an evening casting the fly a freestone trout stream, the next feeder fishing for tench on a lake,  and then the day after spinning for perch on a canal. A few hours fishing like that is very easy to integrate into a family holiday, so you can have the best of both worlds on your summer break.

The main thing you need for fishing in France is a ‘carte de peche hebdomadaire’ – a weeks tourist fishing permit. Available for the princely sum of 30 euro’s online at This permit is aimed at holiday anglers and covers you for 7 consecutive days on state controlled waters in the area you choose. Just a few years ago obtaining a carte de peche was a really arduous task – you had to traipse around various bars, tabacs, bricolage’s etc. in search of somebody willing to sell you one. I personally ended up on many a wild goose chase, and often resorted to making motions of casting and reeling in imaginary fish- only to be have the finger pointed at the tabac across the road… with language barrier to deal with it was definitely hard work, and most amusing for the locals.

Nowadays with chrome as your web browser or by using Google translate; doing this online is  a piece of cake. Upload a picture for ID purposes, pick your week, the region you are based in, pay by card and then download a PDF which you print off in colour and voila you are good to go. In my case I stayed in Morbian, which allowed me to fish the whole region as shown on the map I downloaded below from the cartedepeche website.

The Morbihan region of Brittany - all this for 30 Euros!!

The Morbihan region of Brittany – all this for 30 Euros!!

Many rivers and lakes in France that have a right of navigation (i.e a watercourse flowing through them) are free for the public to fish if you have one of these permits. This opens up a vast expanse of fishing opportunity for all types of fish species- both game and coarse. Most waters have very easy access, and generally you can work this out for yourself with Google maps or a tourist brochure map map of the area.  There are often large parking places or laybys at bridges where you can easily get onto the water. If unsure where to start look for the larger rivers and lakes – these places are invariably free for the public to fish, and easier to access being navigable to water craft.

What fishing equipment should you take?

Well for me its the TF Gear compact allrounder rod. It do almost anything well- great for feeder fishing, float fishing, ledgering and even spinning in the the 8 foot configuration.
For a fly rod you cannot go wrong with the 4 section Airflo streamtec rods – the 7’6 3/4 is ideal for the smaller overgrown headwater streams where you will find trout at the height of the French summer.

The TF Gear allrounder rod with TF Gear match special reel

The TF Gear allrounder rod with TF Gear match special reel.

Should you be a coarse fisher then you really are spoiled for choice. Every larger slow flowing river will have bream, tench, perch, roach, rudd, carp pike and zander to name a few. So take fishing tackle to cover these species – cage feeders, pellets, a small selection of lures will all come in handy. You can pick up bait locally – simple stuff like tinned sweetcorn will do the business, these fish are not pressured as on some UK venues.

The French call the larger rivers the 2nd category. 1st category rivers hold trout, and sometimes salmon. However most of them also hold plentiful coarse fish, bar the very fast flowing upper reaches. For trout make sure you take a selection of dry flies – in the summer the rivers get low and weedy and the fish are always looking up for terrestrial insects from their lies in cooler tree lined stretches.

There are plenty of great tackle shops in Brittany should you forget anything. Ardent Pech was a really good one I found in Pontivy. The diverse selection of fishing tackle, particularity the unusual and varied soft plastic lures and jigs was especially impressive.

A selection of fishing lure bodies at the Ardent Peche tackle shop, Pontivy.

A selection of fishing lure bodies at the Ardent Peche tackle shop, Pontivy.

My top 5 public fishing places to try in Brittany:

1. The Léguer river. Cotes-d’Armor-  Full of wild brown trout. Salmon in lower reaches, shad.

The Léguer river - central Brittany. Trout fishermans paradise.

The Léguer river – central Brittany. Trout fisherman’s paradise.

2. River Blavet’ and Nantes Brest canal. Pontivy, Morbihan – bream, tench, chub, perch.

The nantes-brest canal near Pontivy.

The nantes-brest canal near Pontivy.

3. Lac au duc. Ploermel – Pike, Zander, perch, carp.

Lac au duc - Brittanys largest natural lake, and its public fishing.

Lac au duc – Brittanys largest natural lake, and its public fishing.

4. Callac lake (Etang de la Verte Vallee) Cotes-d’Armor – big carp, tench, trout and silvers.

A lovely tench from the lake at Callac.

A lovely tench from the lake at Callac.

5. River L’Hyeres. Carhaix-plouguer – decent wild Trout, specimen chub and pike fishing in lower reaches.

A typical River L’Hyeres brown trout.

A typical River L’Hyeres brown trout.

There are plenty more public venues in France, which can be found here on this helpful website:

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Ceri Thomas

About Ceri Thomas

Ceri Thomas is the online marketing manager at Airflo and Fishtec. An accomplished fly-fisher and predator angler with over two decades of experience, he can be found casting fly lines across Wales and beyond. Ceri also lends his expertise to several publications including Fly Fishing & Fly Tying magazine, Fulling Mill blog, Today’s Flyfisher, Eat Sleep Fish and more. A member of Merthyr Tydfil Angling Association, he is active in the public discourse surrounding environmental conservation. You can keep up with his fishing adventures on his Fly Fishing Wales blog and twitter account.