A couple of weeks ago I spent some days in the south of France, close to the village of Peyremale. Just outside runs beautifull river Cèze, a tributary to the famous Rhône-river.
The Cèze flows trough Lozère, Gard and Languedoc-Rousillon province, and the upper part around Peyremale is categorised as a class 1 river. In this case meaning trout is the dominant species.
Downstream of the village, river Cèze contains a lot of fast running stretches. Beautifull currents broken by big boulders remind me on the fact that the mountains are not that far away. The valley itself is very secluded and hard to reach, just what I was hoping for, leaving me all alone in this small piece of unspoilt nature.
Apart from trout, this upper part of Cèze river also hosts some species of Cyprinides, like chub and bleak, species becoming more abundant after the Luech-stream joins the Cèze a bit further downstream. The river turns a lot wider and is categorised as class 2. Trout is still there, but less dominant, and so less interesting for a day of flyfishing.
Average size of trout around here is rather… modest, I’d say. But some nice species are to be found. All 100% wild, with colours and dots that turn on any flyfishermen in no time.
Yet these wild brownies are easy to be spooked, making it very challenging to fish them. Casting old-skool nymphs at distance, getting the right depth at the exact right moment, and -especially- mending and avoiding any kind of drag. If you do get drag on your fly, these wild fish will be off towards the next province in no time.
Changing nymphs, especially to compete with the large variety of currents, delivers immediately. I try various weighted hares ears, phesant tails, hydropsyche larva immitations, orange beadheads, and must say they all work fine when fished in the right stretches.
In between the faster water I find slower dry-fly havens, but not a single hatch is on, so I dare not to bother. Water is also tending to warm up rather fast in summer, making most trout camping in the more oxygenated water.
As the day is gone, I head back to the rest of the family at our holiday cottage. Content of having had the chance to wet my flies once more, pleased by the number of wild fish I returned unharmed in their habitat, but especially 100% zen by this afternoon in maybe not the most unique scenery ever, but one you tend to believe everyone has forgotten about.
If you ever spent time close to this small beauty, don’t forget to bring your rod .