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Plan a fishing trip with the help of our essential information. Find out when to fish with top tips on where you can fish, fishing permits and the types of fishing activities on offer.
The Dordogne River- UNESCO Biosphere Reserve
The Dordogne river is one of the most famous 2nd category rivers in France (486km long) and the only river in France whose entire basin has been classified as a World Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO. Even though it is a category 2 river, it has the characteristics of a category 1 river, including a large population of salmonids. With spectacularly beautiful natural scenery as your backdrop and a recognised UNESCO World Heritage site at your feet, fishing in the Dordogne River is a fishermen’s dream. The river offers sanctuary to a number of UNESCO protected species and plant life. Fishing is a hugely popular activity here and the fish are bountiful with an abundance of healthy and quality brown and rainbow trout, salmon, pike, zander and black-bass to name but a few.
Fishing Permits – Carte de Pêche
Before you can fish in the Dordogne Valley it is a legal requirement to obtain a fishing permit. You can get one in advance by purchasing it on the national fishing federation’s dedicated website here.
If you are turning up on the day you can purchase a permit from any branch of The Dordogne Valley Tourist Office (see here for opening hours and office locations)
Remember to bring recognised ID when you do so.
For the sustainability of the Dordogne Valley ecosystem there are limits on the number, species and size of fish you can catch. This is policed along the river basin. There are also rules on the types of bait that can be used, number of rods in use at the same time and lure and hook rules. This is clearly explained on supporting documentation you will receive with your fishing permit.
The Dordogne river is synonymous with Fly fishing. If you want to really test out your technique and challenge yourself try using the lure to catch the brown trout here. Meandering through magnificent scenery the Dordogne river serves as part of a hydroelectric scheme. The Bort les Orgues dam in the Corrèze (the fourth largest in France) and other dams such as the one at Tuilières slow the river down making it a great spot for wading and consequently fly fishing. There are many places to fly fish but one of the most popular is between Argentat and Monceaux-sur-Dordogne. Wherever you decide to go one on one with the local trout here, it’s a challenge you just have to try. It will take both skill and luck but you will enjoy the thrill of it!
Guided Fishing and Fishing Guides
There is no better way to discover the perfect place on the Dordogne river to fish than using local guides. Learn the secrets of how to catch your fish with tips from the experts but much more importantly-( where). Experienced local guides give you insights that only a local guide has and can take you straight to those secluded spots where the fishing is unparalleled. Professional local guides are available for hire and have been fully accredited by the French State as bona fide fishing experts. Our selection of the best guides in the Valley can be found here:
Each to their own
If you are not into fly fishing don’t worry, the diversity of the river basin means you can try out practically all fishing techniques here. From bait fishing to night fishing, where it is possible to fish for carp on certain sections of the river but strictly on a no-kill basis.
Motorised craft are almost completely banned throughout the Dordogne river basin. However, it is possible to hire a non-motorised craft and go exploring to find your perfect spot. You can rent a boat, canoe, kayak or canoraft and be aware that Life jackets are compulsory and it’s a good idea to know how to swim!
The Fishing Season
Category 1 vs Category 2
The Dordogne river system is divided into two categories for fishing, according to fish stock. The Dordogne river itself is a 2nd category river and can be fished all year except from around January to April/May for certain fish species (pike/zander and black bass and trout) and trout fishing is also closed from September to December.
Category 1 streams and tributaries leading into the Dordogne are mostly populated by salmon and a large trout population. They offer a spectacular array of beautiful fishing spots in idyllic locations.