French expedition: the countdown begins

May 10th, 2012| No Comments

Auvergne, France

A few months ago, I received a very kind invitation from the Auvergne Tourism Office in France to fly out and sample some of the fly-fishing in their remote volcanic streams and lakes. They pretty much had me at “wild trout”,  but the words “volcanic” and “untouched” were all I needed to confirm that, yes, I was very much interested. Well, the months have rolled by and there’s now just two weeks before I head off. Excited would be an understatement.

I don’t mind admitting that, prior to the invitation, my knowledge of the area was pretty much non-existent. I know there are some exquisite – if very difficult – trout rivers in Brittany, Normandy and the Loire. I’m aware of the monster catfish that lurk in the country’s rivers and the leviathan carp of lakes like Cassien that have bewitched and befuddled generations of anglers. More recently I’ve become obsessed with the prospect of chasing bass off the coast of Brittany (a pursuit in which the French truly excel). But as far as the Auvergne region went, I had nothing to offer.

But the more I looked into it, the more surprising that seemed. After all, this oft-overlooked region in the centre of France has just about everything going for it. Just do a Google images search and you’ll see what I mean. Traditional French hamlets, long-extinct forest-clad volcanoes, sweeping valleys lined with winding streams and rivers, and lakes that seldom see walkers, let alone fishermen – and of course, the promise of those wild fish.

I wondered how the French had managed to keep this place a secret for so long, and how fortunate I was to have been offered the opportunity to see what what it had to offer. So as you can imagine, I’m just a little bit excited about the prospect of getting out there.

You can expect regular blog updates while I’m there and a full report on my return. In the meantime, I’ll be watching the clock until my flight takes off…

Rory Batho

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