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  • Writer's pictureNigel Brown

Specimen Fishing in France: A Guide to Pursuing Trophy Fish

Updated: Jul 31, 2023

Cherpont Lake France

Specimen fishing, also known as trophy fishing, is a thrilling pursuit for anglers who seek to target and catch the largest and most impressive specimens of various fish species. France, with its diverse and abundant freshwater and saltwater ecosystems, offers fantastic opportunities for specimen fishing. From serene lakes and rivers to vast coastal waters, this country presents a wealth of possibilities for anglers of all skill levels. In this article, we will delve into the world of specimen fishing in France, exploring the top destinations, popular target species, and essential tips for a successful angling experience.

Top Specimen Fishing Destinations in France

Lac de Saint-Cassien

Located in the Provence region, Lac de Saint-Cassien is one of France's premier specimen fishing destinations. This large reservoir is renowned for its abundance of monster carp, including specimens weighing over 60 pounds. The lake's clear waters and lush surrounding scenery create a tranquil setting for anglers to pursue their trophy catches.

River Lot

Stretching through the picturesque countryside of southwestern France, the River Lot is a haven for specimen anglers. This waterway is particularly famous for its enormous catfish, with some specimens reaching over 200 pounds. The river's diverse ecosystem also supports other target species such as carp, pike, and zander.

Lac du Der-Chantecoq

Lac du Der-Chantecoq, located in northeastern France, is a vast reservoir offering exceptional specimen fishing opportunities. Carp anglers flock to this lake in pursuit of its massive inhabitants, with weights exceeding 60 pounds. Additionally, pike, zander, and perch can be found in abundance, providing an exciting challenge for predatory fishing enthusiasts.

Popular Target Species


Carp fishing in France is immensely popular, attracting anglers from around the world. French waters are home to numerous carp species, including the common carp, mirror carp, and leather carp. These fish can grow to impressive sizes, with specimens weighing well over 50 pounds. Carp fishing requires patience, skill, and the ability to present bait effectively.

A man holding a Large common carp at cherpont lake france


France boasts a thriving catfish population, and targeting these colossal creatures is a thrilling endeavor. The Wels catfish, Europe's largest freshwater fish species, is the most sought-after catfish in French waters. Anglers targeting catfish often employ powerful tackle and various baiting strategies to entice these giants, which can reach weights exceeding 200 pounds.


Known for their aggressive nature and impressive fighting abilities, pike are highly prized among specimen anglers in France. These apex predators can grow to exceptional sizes, and catching a double-figure pike is considered a significant achievement. French lakes, rivers, and canals offer ample opportunities for pike fishing, with various lure and bait techniques proving effective.

Tips for Successful Specimen Fishing

Research and Planning

Before embarking on a specimen fishing trip in France, thorough planing and research is crucial. Study the target species, their behaviors, and the best fishing techniques for each. Familiarize yourself with the chosen fishing location, including local regulations, access points, and potential hotspots.

Quality Tackle and Equipment

Investing in high-quality fishing tackle and equipment is essential for specimen fishing. Ensure you have robust rods, reels, and strong fishing lines capable of handling the weight and power of trophy fish. Select appropriate hooks, rigs, and landing nets suitable for your target species.

Bait and Presentation

Understanding the preferred food sources and feeding habits of your target species is crucial for successful specimen fishing. Use high-quality bait and consider experimenting with different flavors and scents to attract the attention of trophy fish. Pay attention to presentation, ensuring your bait is rigged and presented in a natural and enticing manner.

Conservation and Ethics

While pursuing trophy fish, it is essential to prioritize conservation and ethical practices. Follow local fishing regulations and fishing rules, practice catch-and-release whenever possible, and handle fish with care to minimize stress and injury. Respect the environment, leaving no trace of your presence, and contribute to the sustainability of fish populations for future generations.

France is a dream destination for specimen fishing enthusiasts, offering a wealth of diverse fishing environments and impressive target species. Whether you seek the thrill of battling massive carp, the challenge of wrestling with a monstrous catfish, or the excitement of landing a trophy pike, France has it all. By researching your target species, choosing the right locations, and adopting ethical fishing practices, you can embark on a memorable specimen fishing adventure in the scenic waters of France.
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