Fishing is a popular sport in France, and the national federation is now second behind football in terms of licences issued, with over 1.5 Million fishing permits per year. Angling is widely practiced in the many rivers, canals and lakes of France and along the sea coast. The sport is strictly policed for ecological reasons, and all restrictions must be adhered to.
Where to start?
Any person wanting to fish in France must first get a fishing permit ("carte de pêche") from a local angling society (AAPPMA—Association agréée de pêche et de protection du milieu aquatique) which are affiliated to the departmental federation (FDAAPPMA) and to the national federation (FNPF). The website of the national federation links to local fishing association details. Find out where to fish in the area, the local rules, fishing season dates for each year (these change depending on fish stocks) and where to get a fishing permit.
Fishing waters fall into two categories, each of which have seasons depending on species:
• Category 1 ("première catégorie"): waters mainly inhabited by trout, and those with fish of the salmonidea group (salmon, trout, freshwater whitefish) requiring protection;
• Category 2 ("deuxième catégorie"): all other rivers, canals and lakes.
It is illegal to fish without a fishing permit ("carte de pêche"); the "Préfectures" provide dates and local regulations for the season at a departmental level.
There are a variety of fishing permits available and it's obligatory for any person line-fishing in France to carry a valid "carte de pêche" on all fishing excursions. Permits are issued to an individual and include an ID photograph. If a permit is lost or destroyed a new one must be purchased, except if you buy it on Internet in which case you can reprint the PDF file if you've saved it to your computer. You can print it up to 10 times from your account on Internet.
Available permits are:
• Carte interfédérale: For fishing in 91 departments throughout France (most of the national territory)
• Carte Personne Majeure: Annual card for adults, category 1 and 2 waters, all types of fishing, four lines
• Carte Personne Mineure: Annual card for 12 to 18 year olds, category 1 and 2 waters, all types of fishing
• Carte Découverte -12: Annual card valid from 1 January to 31 December for under 12s, category 1 and 2 waters, all types of fishing
• Carte Journalière: Day-pass valid for all fishing, available throughout the year
• Carte Hebdomadaire: Valid for 15 days from the point of purchase, for all category fishing during the year
• Carte Découverte Femme: Valid for all fishing, 1 line only, for women only
Open seasons vary for 1st Category waters but are open all year round in 2nd Category, but local rules apply depending on species and fishing techniques.
Details of the season are published in local newspapers and are available from local fishing societies.
Match angling in France
The French federation for sport pole fishing (FFPSC) is the body governing match angling in France. To participate in any of their competitions, you must first hold a fishing permit and then become a member of a match angling club. Our local club is the Team Sensas Orsay. You will be asked for an additional fee to become a member and a medical certificate.
There are also rules for sea fishing, although no permit is required. However, it is recommended to declare your activity on the ministry of ecology website.