Jan 15

french fishingFrance is a land of fishing-lovers. Angling is very popular in France and is practiced widely in the numerous rivers, lakes, canals and also along the sea coast here. French fishing is strictly policed for ecological purposes and all restrictions should be adhered to.

Where to Start

If you want to fish in France, you must first acquire a fishing permit from the local AAPPMA (Associations Agrées de Pêche et de Protection du Milieu Aquatique)–affiliated fishing association. You can visit the website of Federation Nationale de la Peche which links to details of local fishing associations. You can then find out where you can fish in the area, the local rules and regulations, dates of fishing season (these change according to fish stocks) and where to get the fishing permit.

You can find a local fishing association in France here and can choose the relevant department.


There are two categories of fishing areas and they have different permit requirements and seasons.

Première Catégorie – The first category consists mainly of waters inhabited by trout and fish in the salmonidea group (like salmon, freshwater whitefish, trout) requiring protection.

Seconde Catégorie – The second category includes all the rivers, lakes and canals.


Fishing permits are of various types and it is compulsory to carry a valid permit (carte de pêche) on every fishing excursion. A permit is issued to an individual and includes an ID photo. If a permit is destroyed or lost, a new one should be purchased.

The permits (carte de pêche) available are:

Carte Personne Majeure: Yearly card for adults, for category 1 and 2 waters and all types of fishing

Carte Personne Mineure: Yearly card for 12 to 18 year olds for category 1 and 2 waters and all types of fishing

Carte Découverte: Yearly card valid from 1st January to 31st December for children under 12 years for category 1 and 2 waters and all types of fishing

Carte Journalière: Day-permit valid for all types of fishing and available all through the year

Carte Vacances: Valid for 15 days from the time of purchase, for all fishing categories during the period 1st June to 31st December

Carte Découverte Femme: Valid for all fishing types 1 line only

Personne Majeure Interdépartementale: Available in some départements

Some departments also sell fishing permits online:

Click here for southwestern France

Click here for northwestern France 


Open fishing seasons differ for the two categories every year. They also vary from region to region. They are usually announced at the beginning of a year and may start any time from early spring to end of autumn. Their details are published in local newspapers and are also available at town hall. The Federation Nationale de la Peche publishes the dates too on their website.

Deep Sea Fishing

Sea fishing is usually permitted from 30 to 50 nautical miles from the coast with swordfish and tuna being the most sought after prey. Licensed fishing parties usually go for smaller coastal ports.

Spear Fishing

Spear fishing is heavily legislated with stringent regulations regarding what, where and when can be caught.

Coastal Fishing

Fishing on the beaches or rocks by the sea doesn’t need a permit in France. However the angler must respect the following:

  • Some fish come under fishing restrictions within certain periods and certain regions.
  • Rules about minimum size of the fish.
  • Rules about the amount of fish that can be caught
  • Understanding of fishing rules
  • Fish caught should be only for personal consumption – they cannot be sold.

Sea Fishing in a Pleasure Boat

Regarding shore fishing, permit is not required. But the catch cannot be sold and there is a restriction on the number of lines and traps used. You can get information about local restrictions at The City Hall or Affaires Maritimes.

record fish