Fishing in the Hautes Alpes Region of France: A Guide to the Best Spots

The Hautes Alpes region of France is a hidden gem for anglers looking for some of the best freshwater fishing in Europe.

Fishing Regions of France
Simon Palmer

Published: May 5, 2023

With pristine lakes, crystal clear rivers, and towering mountains, this region is a paradise for anyone who loves the great outdoors. In this guide, we’ll take a closer look at some of the best fishing spots in the Hautes Alpes region and what makes them so special.

Introduction to Fishing in the Hautes Alpes

The Hautes Alpes is a department located in the southeastern part of France, bordering Italy. It’s known for its stunning mountain scenery, including the Ecrins National Park, which is the largest national park in France. The region is also home to several major rivers, including the Durance, Guil, and Ubaye, as well as numerous smaller streams and lakes.

The fishing season in the Hautes Alpes typically runs from March to September, with the peak season for trout fishing occurring in May and June. However, there are still plenty of opportunities for fishing throughout the year, with different species available depending on the season.

Types of Fish in the Hautes Alpes

The Hautes Alpes is home to a wide variety of fish species, with some of the most common being:

Brown Trout: This is the most common species of trout found in the region, with populations in both the rivers and lakes.

Rainbow Trout: This species is less common in the Hautes Alpes but can still be found in some of the larger rivers and lakes.

Brook Trout: This species is found in some of the smaller streams and is known for its beautiful colors.

Grayling: This is a popular game fish that can be found in many of the rivers and streams throughout the region.

Carp: Carp can be found in some of the larger lakes and reservoirs in the Hautes Alpes.

Best Fishing Spots in the Hautes Alpes

  • Lac de Serre-Poncon: This is the largest artificial lake in Western Europe and is known for its trophy pike and carp. It’s also home to a variety of other fish species, including perch and roach.
  • La Durance River: The Durance River is one of the major rivers in the Hautes Alpes and is known for its brown trout populations. The river has both fast and slow-moving sections, making it a great spot for both fly fishing and spin fishing.
  • La Guisane River: This river is a tributary of the Durance and is known for its brown trout and grayling populations. The river is relatively shallow, making it a great spot for wading and fly fishing.
  • Le Guil River: The Guil River is a tributary of the Durance and is known for its beautiful scenery and large grayling populations. The river has both fast and slow-moving sections, making it a great spot for both fly fishing and spin fishing.
  • Le Lac d’Ecrins: This lake is located in the heart of the Ecrins National Park and is known for its crystal clear water and trophy trout populations. It’s a popular spot for fly fishing and has several access points around the lake.
  • Les Lacs de l’Eyssina: These high mountain lakes are located in the Queyras Regional Park and are known for their beautiful scenery and trout populations. They can be accessed by hiking trails or by taking a chairlift.

Fishing Regulations in the Hautes Alpes

To fish in the Hautes Alpes region, you’ll need to obtain a fishing permit, which can be purchased from the Federation de PĂȘche des Hautes-Alpes website or from one of their authorized vendors. The permit allows you to fish in all of the public waters in the Hautes Alpes region, including the rivers, lakes, and streams.

There are several regulations that anglers must follow when fishing in the Hautes Alpes, including:

  • Catch and Release: In most areas, catch and release is mandatory for all trout species. This means that all trout caught must be returned to the water unharmed.
  • Bag Limits: In some areas, there are bag limits on certain species of fish. Anglers are required to release any fish caught over the bag limit.
  • Fishing Hours: Fishing is typically only allowed during daylight hours, with specific times varying depending on the season and location.
  • Gear Restrictions: In some areas, there are restrictions on the types of gear that can be used, such as fly fishing only zones or areas where only barbless hooks are allowed.

It’s important to familiarize yourself with the local regulations before heading out to fish, as breaking the rules can result in fines or other penalties.

Tips for Fishing in the Hautes Alpes

  • Hire a Guide: If you’re new to the area or are looking for a specific type of fishing experience, it’s a good idea to hire a local guide. They can help you find the best spots to fish and provide valuable insights into local fishing techniques and regulations.
  • Bring Proper Gear: The fishing gear you’ll need will depend on the species you’re targeting and the location you’re fishing in. Be sure to bring appropriate clothing and gear for the weather and terrain, as well as any necessary permits or licenses.
  • Respect the Environment: The Hautes Alpes region is known for its pristine natural beauty, and it’s important to do your part to protect it. Always practice catch and release, properly dispose of any trash or waste, and avoid damaging the surrounding vegetation or wildlife.

Conclusion

The Hautes Alpes region of France is a paradise for anglers looking for some of the best freshwater fishing in Europe. With its stunning mountain scenery, crystal clear rivers, and abundant fish populations, this region offers something for anglers of all skill levels. Whether you’re looking for trophy trout or a peaceful day on the water, the Hautes Alpes has it all. With proper preparation and a respect for the environment, you’re sure to have a memorable fishing experience in this beautiful region.