etang lers salat trout

The fishable waters in Ariège are exceptionally diverse, ranging from small mountain streams to fast-flowing rivers to high altitude lakes accessible only by foot. Some of the lakes and rivers are stocked, but those higher up contain mainly wild, brown trout. Fishing is popular among local inhabitants but has not become a tourist industry.

Catch-and-release is seldom practiced in Ariège, or in France for that matter. The concept is alien to this intensely food-oriented culture and most French fishermen don't see the point of catching a fish and not eating it. However, a No Kill area has been established along a section of the Ariège River that passes through Luzenac near the talc mine, open only to fly-fishing. The section is signposted "PARCOURS NO KILL". To fish there you must obtain a special permit (free) from the news agent in Luzenac.

There are quite a few fly-fishing enthusiasts but the most popular fishing technique is "toc", which is traditional to these mountains where often trees grow close to the riverbanks and hamper fly casting. The rod is very supple and hollow, with the fine line threading through it and over a finger. The fisherman dangles the line over holes and senses by touch whether the fish has bitten.

The fishing season runs from early March to mid September for most waters. A fishing permit for the entire season in all waters costs 27€ plus you have to become a member of the fishing federation of the department. A special 2-week tourist fishing permit is available and is valid between June 1st and September 30. You can buy it online at www.ma-carte-de-peche.fr.

The fishing federation of Ariège (FAPPMA) has a very detailed web site (in French) with information about permits and regulations and includes a map of all rivers and lakes. See also the very comprehensive web site

For those who have never fished before but would like to try there are numerous privately run "parcours de pêche" where the uninitiated can rent equipment and (if lucky) cook and eat their catch at the picnic area provided. The tourist offices all have information on fishing in their areas.

Many thanks to these photographers

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From 2000 to the end of 2017 ariege.com was a site devoted to tourism in the department of Ariège. The small company that managed it closed on 31 December 2017 and 2018 will be a year of transition. Read more…