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River fishing in France

Steve A

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Time for an update. It has been a poor summer for fishing the Lot, the weather has been very variable and we have seen more tourists along the river than in previous years. The French are normally "Staycationers" as they have a large and wonderful country that they belong to, but this year more so than previously.

So July and August the river beaches had many bathers! The river was it's usual summer low & clear condition which made for difficult fishing.

Now we have slipped into early autumn, fishing has been dominated by small barbel and I had a dozen one evening further upriver, biggest barely 1.5lb. I needed something bigger to pull my string!

So back to the weir at dawn, still with barbel as the target. This time I took a Century 2.75 tc rod for the boulder swim and fished the landing stage opposite to where I had fished earlier in the year. Plan was to place the bait in the same tiny hot-spot at about 70 yds range, with the stronger rod and higher platform I might gain some advantage should a big carp turn up.

Weir dawn.jpg

My first cast hit the target area, the paste covered double 20mm boilie bait just where the fish should lie. An hour later three solid taps on the rod tip indicated a fishy presence. Minutes past and I doubted my patience would hold out, then the rod tip buckled over and the baitrunner screamed - FISH ON!

After some short, powerful runs the fish showed - finally a barbel! On the heavy action rod it was quite quickly in the net........

Barbel resting.jpg

Not massive by UK standards, but at 7lb 6ozs it was big for a french river. My best was short of 9lbs and I have never heard of a 10 pounder!

Barbel Jonah swim.jpg

But my first from this lovely weir pool, and one that gives me confidence to try here again!

Autumn weirpool.jpg
 

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Trampster

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Time for an update. It has been a poor summer for fishing the Lot, the weather has been very variable and we have seen more tourists along the river than in previous years. The French are normally "Staycationers" as they have a large and wonderful country that they belong to, but this year more so than previously.

So July and August the river beaches had many bathers! The river was it's usual summer low & clear condition which made for difficult fishing.

Now we have slipped into early autumn, fishing has been dominated by small barbel and I had a dozen one evening further upriver, biggest barely 1.5lb. I needed something bigger to pull my string!

So back to the weir at dawn, still with barbel as the target. This time I took a Century 2.75 tc rod for the boulder swim and fished the landing stage opposite to where I had fished earlier in the year. Plan was to place the bait in the same tiny hot-spot at about 70 yds range, with the stronger rod and higher platform I might gain some advantage should a big carp turn up.

View attachment 15583

My first cast hit the target area, the paste covered double 20mm boilie bait just where the fish should lie. An hour later three solid taps on the rod tip indicated a fishy presence. Minutes past and I doubted my patience would hold out, then the rod tip buckled over and the baitrunner screamed - FISH ON!

After some short, powerful runs the fish showed - finally a barbel! On the heavy action rod it was quite quickly in the net........

View attachment 15580

Not massive by UK standards, but at 7lb 6ozs it was big for a french river. My best was short of 9lbs and I have never heard of a 10 pounder!

View attachment 15581

But my first from this lovely weir pool, and one that gives me confidence to try here again!

View attachment 15582
Normally Zero interest in freshwater stuff Steve, but a great report and lovely photos! 👍👍
 

Steve A

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Normally Zero interest in freshwater stuff Steve, but a great report and lovely photos! 👍👍

That was my feeling until, by something of a fluke chance, I found myself living near this wonderful stretch of the river Lot.

Apart from a few years freshwater fishing in my youth, and some pike fishing in Scotland it has been sea fishing for me!

Still miss my sea fishing, but this is not a bad "2nd best" for an old man "à la retraite, vivant dans la France profonde" :cool:

IMG_20190523_170350061_HDR_3.jpg
 
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Steve A

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Photos are just stunning - great thread 👍🏻

It's difficult to take a bad photo along this valley! All these photos taken on my phone camera, all I have to do is frame and click!

The first time we drove along the valley from Cahors to Cajarc, passing Bouzies and Saint-Cirq-Lapopie, we were astounded by the beauty of this river and surrounding villages. The route itself follows high cliffs and it's scary when you find a bus or lorry taking up most of the road!

If you ever visit France this area must be worth a look.....


If you look at that link it mentions "le Chemin de Halage de Ganil" - we call it the "Bouzies walk". One of the photos shows tourists on that under-cliff walkway, right under their feet there are many carp to over 50lbs.

That walk is at the bottom of this cliff face - Awesome to think of the weight of rock over your head!

Bouzies walk panorama.jpg

opposite the B walk.jpg
 
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Trampster

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That was my feeling until, by something of a fluke chance, I found myself living near this wonderful stretch of the river Lot.

Apart from a few years freshwater fishing in my youth, and some pike fishing in Scotland it has been sea fishing for me!

Still miss my sea fishing, but this is not a bad "2nd best" for an old man "à la retraite, vivant dans la France profonde" :cool:

View attachment 15596
C'est tres bon Rodney! 😁😁😁

A mate of mine has got a place in Landeleau and he's over there for a week from Tueday - messaged me tonight to find out if we were gonna go over to ours near Pleyben, but even though the Covid restrictions have eased, unfortunately we have too much going on here looking after Mum-in-law & her Dementia.

I've got a load of tools & stuff over there, some of it brand new, that I want to bring back & sell, but need to find out the rules re "Import duty". Even though it was bought in the UK, and I've owned some of it for years, there are many different stories about being clobbered for duty if I try to bring it back.
 
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Steve A

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Between my health problems and Covid lock-downs my inflatable canoe has not seen the river for two years. But yesterdays forecast was for a fine afternoon so fishing buddy Alistair and myself decided to make the effort.

The plan was to find some new swims for bank fishing and use the fishfinder to find fish holding spots. But, of course, we would try some fishing for predators.

We headed upriver from Cajarc to fish under some steep cliffs where trees have fallen into the river. Perfect cover for predators!

A lovely Autumn afternoon on the river Lot....

DSC_0496.jpeg

My bait, cast amongst the trees, was taken on the drop.

DSC_0510.jpeg

Quite a fight on a Major Craft Turel 5-21 gr spinning rod!

The little inflatable canoe continues to earn its keep. Great tool for searching the river!

DSC_0517.jpeg

Fits easily in the car boot (deflated, of course!) :rolleyes:
 
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joe carp

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Between my health problems and Covid lock-downs my inflatable canoe has not seen the river for two years. But yesterdays forecast was for a fine afternoon so fishing buddy Alistair and myself decided to make the effort.

The plan was to find some new swims for bank fishing and use the fishfinder to find fish holding spots. But, of course, we would try some fishing for predators.

We headed upriver from Cajarc to fish under some steep cliffs where trees have fallen into the river. Perfect cover for predators!

A lovely Autumn afternoon on the river Lot....

View attachment 16138

My bait, cast amongst the trees, was taken on the drop.

View attachment 16139

Quite a fight on a MC Turrel 8-21 gr spinning rod!

The little inflatable canoe continues to earn its keep. Great tool for searching the river!

View attachment 16140

Fits easily in the car boot (deflated, of course!) :rolleyes:
It looks really great there steve . Nice kayak fishing !
 

Steve A

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It looks really great there steve . Nice kayak fishing !
Through the summer months and into Autumn you will see people fishing from kayaks, paddle boards and belly-boats. The water is starting to cool now (mid-October) but getting wet from late March through to late October is no big deal. I have found myself chest deep following a carp around sunken trees at some time during most of these months!

Daytime temperatures from early Spring to late October are often between 25 c to 35 c. The sun can be fierce and you dry fast! Only the thunderstorms can catch you out, lowering air temperatures but water temperature often raised.

Got to love the videos some anglers put up on YouTube......

 

Steve A

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My "River App" installed on an Android phone has been a revelation for me. It's aimed at the canoeists but gives me some major clues when deciding where and when to fish.

There has been little rain this last couple of weeks and the river had almost no flow - except when the two barrages upriver let water through their generators!

So Sunday evening I checked RiverApp and the Entragues barrage had let out a lump of water over some hours. If the Cajarc barrage did the same some hours later then it would arrive on my stretch about 11 hours after leaving Entragues. Not 100% guaranteed but pretty reliable!

So Monday afternoon I scurried down the hill to fish my latest barbel swim, there was a good flow to the river! First cast a 3 lb barbel, then a 2 pounder, followed by a 5 lb barbel in fine fettle - just as Alistair arrived.

October 2021.jpg

He fished a few yards from me, I guess our baits about 15 yds apart. For three hours he blanked as I had constant bites and a few more barbel, then the shoal must have dropped back to his baits. My bites dried up but he had a string of four barbel to 5 lbs and a nice chub.

October 2021 (1).jpg

So a good result for both of us! RiverApp is worth checking out to see if your river is covered, it lists many around Europe but mostly the canoe sections will have flow rates.

Only negative of our session was the mosquitos. This has been a bad year for blood sucking creatures of all sorts, last winter was wet and mild with no lengthy frosts to kill them during hibernation. This summer has had no great heat waves which would dry them to death - so perfect for them but we have to protect ourselves. Cover up, use sprays and lotions - but they still get through!

beastie 2021.jpg

For anyone visiting from summer to autumn another beastie alert. This one may be only 0.2 mm length but if it gets in your cloths it will be in your skin for a week. Worst itch ever! In France they are called Aoûtat. English speaking countries call them "chiggers" I think. Read this and keep your trousers tucked in your socks and button up your collar. I have had about a dozen on my back this last week, they drop out when they are ready.......read this and cringe!.....


Wikepedia..... https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aoûtat

"Food [ edit | modify the code ]​

The chigger is able to perceive certain physicochemical factors of the skin which allow it an adequate choice of hosts 3 and perhaps of the place of the bite. It perforates the skin by means of its chelicera 3 . This mite occupies different positions on different hosts 7 .

Like most mites, it does not feed on blood, but on tissue fluids and squamous layer cells previously liquefied and predigested by enzymes that it injected with its saliva. It is a so - called extra-intestinal mode of digestion 3 . A tubular duct of keratinized tissue is gradually formed in the skin of the host. This channel is used to inject saliva into the host organism and then to suck the nutrient liquid formed from cell lysis induced by enzymes in the mite's saliva " :eek:
 
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Trampster

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Nice report and some great photos Steve! Even with spending a lot of time in France, never heard of or comes across them Chiggers or "Aoutat". Nasty little Critters by the sound of it! I'm guessing they are more prevalent near rivers or damp areas from the info in the Wiki article. Stay safe & well! 🎣🎣👍👍
 

Steve A

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This last few weeks has seen a change in the weather. We are finally having a little taste of winter with a week of quite heavy rain and now falling temperatures and frost. Still nothing like Scottish winters, I do not miss them in the least!

With some healthy flow restored to the river Lot my barbel catches have been quite good. A couple of recent short sessions bringing 5 or 6 barbel each time with a healthy average size of 5 lbs. Great sport!

The first session was in a downpour, quite torrential at times. I thought I was back fishing the river Tay! But the barbel were feeding from the start!

Barbel Nov 21.jpg

I broke my favourite rod for fishing spate river conditions, went for a big cast with a full load and failed to notice the line had wrapped around a guide. It went with quite a bang!

But it gave me an excuse to buy another rod ;)! It needed to be powerful enough to cope with the occasional big carp but still have a tip that would show bites and be some fun with the barbel. I took a chance on the Preston Feeder Feeda rod, it's first outing was successful with another six barbel of a decent average size.

Barbel 5.5lbs Feeda.jpg

I added some grip tape above the reel fitting. It covers the awful name/graphic and adds a little grip where the rod sometimes needs to be held. This barbel looks terribly unimpressed by the new rod and my minor modifications!

Good to have a powerful rod for the winter river conditions, the rod came with three tips and even the heaviest 5 ozs tip showed bites well.

Feeda 5 ozs tip.jpg

Quite a powerful flow there and a heavy feeder at 50 metres range, the tip sat quite nicely.

Later this week the weather forecast says 19c and sunny. My wife is away back in Scotland visiting her daughter - I shall have a little exploration of new sections about an hours drive upriver.😃
 

Trampster

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Nice report Steve! As you say, definitely a change in the weather for all of us, but glad you're still out & about for a dangle! 👍👍
 
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