Fishing in France

Fishing is a popular sport, 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. Fishing is managed at a regional level.

Licences & Regulations

Fishing in France: Where To Start

Any person wanting to fish public water in France must first get a fishing permit (carte de pêche) from the local AAPPMA (Associations Agrées de Pêche et de Protection du Milieu Aquatique) affiliated fishing association.

You do not need a permit if you are fishing on a privately owned water

The website of the Fédération Nationale de la Pêche links to local fishing association details. Find out where to fish in the area, the local legislation, fishing season dates for each year (these change depending on fish stocks) and where to get a fishing permit.

To find a local fishing association in France, visit federationpeche and select the relevant département.

Fishing categories

Fishing areas fall into two categories, each of which has different permit requirements and seasons:

  • 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 (seconde catégorie): all other rivers, canals and lakes.

Note: It is illegal to fish without a fishing permit (carte de pêche); the local Mairies provides dates for the season.

Fishing permits

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. The carte de pêche available are:

  • Carte Personne Majeure: Annual card for adults, category 1 and 2 waters, all types of fishing
  • Carte Personne Mineure: Annual card for 12 to 18 year olds, category 1 and 2 waters, all types of fishing
  • Carte Découverte: 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 Vacances: Valid for 15 days from the point of purchase, for all category fishing during the period 1 June to 31 December
  • Carte Découverte Femme: Valid for all fishing, 1 line only

Click here for a list of fishing permit categories

Fishing permits can be bought online in some departments

For more info visit Cartedepeche

  • Be advised that photo ID is required.
  • You can also buy a license from a tackle shop near your chosen spot.
  • Licenses are only valid for one fishing ‘department’.
  • All public waters are policed and fines for fishing without a license can be as high as 22,000 Euro!


Fishing seasons in France depend on the type of waters you intend to fish in.

If you want to go carping on private grounds, you can pretty much do that all year round.

For public fishing, there are two seasons a year depending on the category of the waters:

  • Category 1 (Lakes and rivers) public spots are typically open from the second Saturday of March to the third Saturday of September.
  • Category 2 (Streams and canals) you can fish from 1st May to 31st of January.


National Fishing Federation in France


Carte de Peche - Fishing Associations in France


Check List

  • Fishing Permits (see above)
  • Photo ID
  • Travel Insurance - we recommend these providers

If you are driving:

  • Green Card (Insurance) - contact your insurer
  • Driving licence
  • Vehicle Log Book
  • a High Visibility Vest for each occupant of the vehicle
  • A warning triangle (excl motorbikes)
  • An up-to-date passport (with at least six months left to run) for each occupant of the vehicle
  • GB Sticker (unless GB identifier is on your number plate)
  • Be aware of road tolls & charges - see here for details

NB: If you hold a paper only driving licence or a driving licence from Gibraltar, Jersey, Guernsey or the Isle of Man, you may need a 1968 IDP. Check with the French Embassy

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