There is no doubt that Poitou-Charentes is a veritable haven for fishermen and that is because it offers the complete angling experience. Poitou-Charentes waterways are extremely well-stocked with a large variety of fish and the beautiful countryside of the area makes spending time outdoors an absolute pleasure.
There can be no more perfect environment in which to indulge your passion for fishing. Poitou-Charentes is a captivating region of rolling upland pastures, gently sloping vineyards with their gnarled grape vines, fields of bright sunflowers turning their faces to the warming sun, medieval riverside villages with imposing Romanesque churches and lakes surrounded by ancient forests. Even when the fishing itself is not as productive as you might hope, it never seems a wasted day when you have shared it with kingfishers, swans, ducks, herons and the occasional hoopoe bird. If you choose to stay at La Poste des Gardes, you need only cross the river to begin your day of fishing, knowing that home is just across the bridge.
RIVERS AND WATERS OF POITOU-CHARENTES
There is such a wide variety of fishing in Poitou-Charentes and it can offer something to suit every anglers' tastes.
The rivers in Poitou-Charentes, such as the magnificient Vienne, the powerful Charente, the Sèvre, the Boutonne, the Benaize, the Asse, the Narablon and the Salleron vary from fast and shallow in the upper reaches to deep and steady downstream.
The Vienne is beautifully wide and shallow and abounds with wild carp. The Charente is deep and fast and is well-stocked throughout its length. The Sèvre is particularly well-known for bream.
They all offer numerous and varied fishing experiences and their tributaries call for different angling skills.
There is also an abundance of large and small lakes, both natural and man-made, as well as many kilometres of canals.
Longère Louise is on the edge of La Brenne National Park which has over 2000 lakes in a beautifully preserved natural setting and offers a wealth of fishing opportunities.
La Poste des Gardes lies directly by the magnificent River Vienne so fishing is right on your doorstep!
FIRST AND SECOND CATEGORY WATERS
The upper reaches of the main rivers and many of their tributaries are classed as first category with large stocks of trout. First category rivers are generally the smaller ones and they are subject to a closed season when no fishing is allowed from the end of September to mid-March. Most of these rivers and tributaries are re-stocked with trout before the opening of the new season, meaning that the best fishing is usually to be had from opening day to early June.
All the other waters are classed as second category. Second category waters hold a wide range of coarse species and they can be fished all-year round. However there are some important exceptions:
- there is a close season for the predatory fish pike and zander running from the end of January to the start of May. During this time it is illegal to live bait or use lures on any second category water.
- eel is now classed as an endangered species. Fishing for eels deliberately is illegal and any caught accidentally must be immediately returned alive to the water.
SPECIES OF FISH IN POITOU-CHARENTES
You will find roach, bream, rudd and perch in every waterway and they provide good sport all through the year. Most waters also hold crucian carp, although the best areas for this are the canals of Charente Maritime where huge catches can be taken in June, July and August.
If you are interested in pike and zander, the best time is from October to the end of the season. Black bass feed near the surface on warm summer days and can be caught by fly fishing.
Tench and various varieties of the other larger carp strains such as mirror, common and leather carp are common and most rivers and lakes will stock over 25kg of these species. The best time for fishing tench and the larger carp strains is in spring or summer. The larger tributaries of the River Vienne are where you can find barbel and these are also best fished in sspring and summer.
Bleak are little silvery surface feeders, often used as bait fish and can be found everywhere in Poitou-Charentes.
Chub and dace are usually found in the shallower stretches of river and can be caught year round.
A more unusual catch is the American catfish or poisson-chat. These small fish can be found in most lakes and are voracious feeders during hot weather. They have sharp spikes on the gills that can inflict serious wounds, so it is essential to handle them with care.
The other catfish likely to be found rivers and lakes of Poitou-Charentes is the Danubian Wels or silure. These can reach over 50kg.
FISHING LICENCE - CARTE DE PÊCHE
Throughout Poitou Charentes there are many hundreds of kilometres of public domain rivers waiting to be fished - but only after a carte de pêche has been purchased. The carte de pêche is similar to the British rod licence but offer so much more in that it gives the angler access to the region's hundreds of miles of public water domain. It runs for twelve months from New Year’s Day. From June to September. It is also possible to buy a visitor’s carte de pêche that covers seven days and costs 30 euros. Both are available at fishing tackle shops, supermarkets and many bars and newsagents. The booklet that comes with the carte de pêche provides extremely useful information on what is available in the Département where it was purchased, including a map and list of rules. Further information on fishing licences can be found on the cartedepeche website.
If you are serious about your fishing, it really pays to hand over an additional small fee for Club Halieutique membership because this allows fishing on the Département’s many public lakes and has the additional benefit of giving the holder the right to fish public waters in three-quarters of the other departments throughout France.
Most private lakes are covered by a tax paid by the owners, so can be fished without a carte de pêche-but always check before unpacking the rods.
There are strict rules on night fishing on all public waters. All fishing must stop at sunset with the exception of carp angling which is allowed only on certain designated areas which are clearly signposted and only with specific carp baits such as boilies.
Anglers wishing to bring their own equipment from Britain will find that their tackle will deal with Poitou-Charente's waters adequately. Local anglers tend to favour the "grande canne" - a pole of carbon or glass measuring up to 13 metres. If you are new to the sport, a 7 metre glass whip with a float, weight and hook can be purchased for around 20 euros. Equipment can be found in specialist fishing shops, sports shops and supermarkets. Both Availles and La Trimouille offer shops stocking fishing tackle.
NATIONAL FISHING FEDERATION
The Fédération Nationale Pêche is a national organisation providing all the information you could wish for on fishing in France. You can sign up to receive their newsletter and click on the map to recover angling information specific to the area you are interested in. They also provide invaluable tips on learning to fish, regional events and competitions as well as useful links to other angling sites. A very useful map of the Vienne's fishing circuits is available for download.
ALL INFORMATION AND PHOTOS COURTESY OF LIVING POITOU-CHARENTES
PLEASE VISIT THEIR SITES FOR MORE DETAILS ON FISHING