If fishing for brown trout, arctic char and other brook trout appeals to you that’s great news because besides the exercise, fishing in the mountains is also an excuse for some fantastic walks and to sit on the shores of some magnificent crystal-clear lakes and rivers.
From Lac Pavin, near Super Besse, to the Plan d’Amont and Plan d’Aval lakes in Aussois, not forgetting the 47-kilometre long Valserine river (Monts Jura), or the numerous lakes around Les Angles (Balcère, Matemale, Aude, Camporeills…), there are countless places to go fishing in our mountains. Some are accessible by car or via ski lifts, such as Lac Besson in Alpe d’Huez or the hill reservoir in Valberg. Others can be reached on foot, from a few minutes’ walk to a two to three hour hike, including, for example, Lac Bleu in La Tania or the Blanc and Bramant lakes from the Col de la Croix de Fer in Saint-Sorlin-d’Arves. “The joy of mountain fishing is above all being in such a magnificent setting, at one with nature in its purest form. We often go to lakes more for the hiking side of things than for the fishing, which then becomes the cherry on the cake”, says Philippe Crouzet, an Isère fishing coordinator-guide for the French Fishing Federation.
Though the crystal-clear water in mountain lakes is beautiful to look at, it can also make fishing more complicated. “The fish try their best not to be seen, staying towards the middle of the lake rather than at the sides, swimming more in the depths than at the surface and they are less active when the sun is at its highest point… That makes it more a question of technique, where being inconspicuous is paramount. You need to be able to cast a long way, and come out in the mornings or evenings”, advises the fishing guide. As you can imagine, fishing in a mountain lake is a bit more complicated than at the foot of the valley or in lowlands. However, beginners can still learn to fish during their stay in the resort. In Morzine for instance, a state qualified instructor offers free observation and introductory fly-fishing courses open to everyone in July and August.
What if you’re already an angler looking for a sportier style of fishing?
Get yourself to Morillon, where Le Giffre River offers a class 1 listed, 27-kilometre watercourse that numbers amongst the most beautiful and largest in the mountain regions.
What about regulations?
It’s no different from fishing anywhere else; you still need a valid fishing licence. There are three types available: discovery (for one day, from 6€), holiday (valid for a fortnight, costing around 30€) or annual (around 80€ for adults, along with specific licenses for the under 12s and 12-18 year olds).
What types of fish are around?
Brown trout and rainbow trout are the stars of mountain lakes. Arctic char are also fairly widespread, as well as brook trout and minnows. You may well come across a few carnivores (perch, pike) and cyprinids (roach, tench, carp) in Lac de Lispach or in the La Bresse wetlands.©Actumontagne