Jura pages 1 - 2 - 3

The French Jura

Page 3

Vallée de la Loue

Lanscapes of the painter Courbet, "Miroir de Scey"

Grayling & Trout fishing

A very good grayling for Marc

Detail of the particular fin of the grayling

And a zebra Jurassic trout for Laurent  - La Loue June 2003 -

Fly-Fishing  A few remarks about...

The season: Opening by May 20th - Closing on 3rd Sunday of September. The River Le Doubs is opening on March 1st & closing Sept 30th

The local fishing rules are sometimes very complicated to understand, but we can solve most problems and with our help you will not have to worry trying to understand the system. Though, there is one very unpleasant rule for fly fishers traveling by air. The use of chest waders is forbidden on many of the fishing stretches. Hip boots or tigh waders are accepted and as the rivers are quite wide, they are almost compulsary. Our guide has boots to lend. Only a few stretches accept chest waders.

The rivers, (limestone bed) are most often wide and clear. When we say wide we talk of an average 40 to sometimes 60 or 80 meters wide. The main shade is a clear emerald green nuance but when we say -clear- we really mean crystal clear or vodka clear ! Something really clear. Sometimes you might be able to count each pebble and ... each fish. Current is rather slow on the most famous rivers La Loue and Le Doubs.

The Fish For camouflage reasons due to dark pebbles on clear bed Jurassic trout have adopted a zebra dress. Despite this camouflage talent it is quite easy for the fisher to discover a lot of them one after the other in the clear shallow stream. A lot of them and a lot of really big ones. If it is mostly always possible to admired them, they do not have the reputation of being very friendly fish. Splendid grayling and superb zebra trout ! all wild and a lot of quite impressive size.

Zebra trout of Jura

You must know that catch and release is not a local habit... the conclusion is simple ! If there is a lot of fish, it is because they have not been all caught... and if some are so big they must have survived a number of seasons ! ... Truly yes, these fish are nothing easy and difficulties are expecting you.

The local flyfishermen (and women) are very talented. The reason of the presence of so many fish is merely the difficulty. And also, we must add, the result of the complicated protection rules already mentionned. Generous nature makes the rest and provides the beautiful hatches. What a great show given by these trouts and graylings on these glorious days. And what a show given sometimes by the local fly rod artists. Jura is really a land of fly fishing tradition.

The Flies Henri Bresson, the famous Wizard of Vesoul and late Aimé Devaux entered the fly fishing hall of fame thanks to this environment. It is easy to figure out why ? The big river is here clear and shallow showing each single tempting fish. A nice hatch of duns puts joy in the air and sometimes a splash wakes everybody up. But the hated beast... the stinky skunk must be somewhere around.... until one of these heroes arrives. And on the first cast and drift of a somewhat rugged A-4 or French Tricolore a fish that was apparently stuck for ever on the bottom for the common angler, rises like a champagne cork and hangs himself like hypnotised ! Sufficient reason to set trouble inside sensitive souls... It happened thousands of times like this and it really proves their talent as apart from the fish they hung by the thousands... they have also sold millions of these weird flies featuring apparently nothing special ! The French Tricolore of Henri Bresson, is a palmered fly dressed in all sizes with three hackles of different colours. It looks mainly gray within some distance. The tying thread is red, yellow, or black. It is dressed in a way that body's colour is well seen through the palmered hackles. Aimé Devaux's A-4 is even more surprising as it is a simple wingless dun with grey hackle and yellow body ribbed (or not), in black or red. It is dressed in differerent sizes and it has a stiff red tail. The only particularity is a reverted hackle... with finishing knot behind hackle and fibers bent forward.

A "Peute"

The Peute, is a strange pattern Bresson inherited from a Gipsy poacher. It uses a single feather from the breast of a mallard. The "Cul de canard", The Jura is also the birthland of the now universal CDC -cul de canard-. To be honest, the discovery has to be shared between Swiss and French Jurassic anglers who developped it separately and simultaneously between the two wars. What the French surely invented is the (rude) name as the Swiss of this period more polite were using the word -croupion- instead of -cul- that I will not translate here.

Bresson was called the Wizard of Vesoul but all his flies became famous and popular on Jura rivers

Nymph fishing. Today's fish are apparently meaner than in the past and the new wizards are found among the nymphing at sight artists (nymph cast upstream and drifted straight to the mouth of the fish like a dry fly but under water). We are working with the best guides available in the Jura. They are very skilled to teach this technique.

Fly fishing fees

Day licenses starting late May around 15 euros Holiday license starting in June around 40 euros
Private stretches from 15 to 30 euros Guide around 150 euros / day

Jurassic beat...

A letter from Colorado...
My friend Marc from Colorado, wrote me a wonderful letter after our holiday in the Jura. I am very grateful to him and Rebecca for the good moments we spent and I could not describe better than him the pleasures offered by the valley of la Loue...


I wanted to thank you for the really great time with you in the French Jura. Excepting the fame created by Charles Ritz's writings of the chalk streams of Normandy, The streams here deserve their reputation as matching international standards. There are many places that we fell in love with in France, but as you have pointed out, the Jura has something special and unique. the landscapes, the rivers, trout and grayling, the fly fishers and even the flies. Add the hospitable nature of the people, warm welcome at the hotels, and the rich and original gastronomy, which are sure to please everyone.

As you promised, we found it to be one of the few regions which produces both good cheese and good wine, which is rare to have both in France due to the differing climates required for cattle versus grapes.

The scenery was spectacular, from the river valley to the high plateaus. Sightseeing the source of the Loue was worth the short drive and hike. Also, the trips to the neighboring towns along the valley, proved to have enough to interest everyone from shopping, sightseeing, gourmet shops for the famed Comte cheese, local wine suppliers offering great wines at very inexpensive prices, and quaint outdoor cafes for a anise-flavored pastis to cool ourselves and warm our hearts. Parts of the valley reminded us of Venice where the river meets the houses built on stilts.

As you describe, the only downside to fishing the Jura is that the local fishing rules are impossible to understand, even for the locals (I believe you promised they would be “complicated to understand” which was an understatement). Without you, we would never attempt it on our own, as it would prove difficult even on a return trip.

And last but not least, the fishing was excellent. You promised wary brown trout, with their zebra stripes, and the sporting grayling. Both were abundant in the many stretches of the river that we visited with you, and easy to see due to the crystal clear water. As experienced fish are the rule on our local tail-waters in Colorado, I found them sporting yet not as rare as you led me to believe. I think everyone would agree we had very good success in numbers of fish caught, by anyone's standards, and they were not nearly as difficult as I had lowered my expectations to from your description of what promised to be nearly impossible fish. I think that la Loue is a required trip for any fisherman and rates up there with Yellowstone, Colorado, Chile, or anyplace in my book.

In all, it was a fabulous trip. Thank you again. Now, about that house that was for sale in the Vallée de La Loue….

Marc Patoile

Trip pictures...

where the river meets the houses built on stilts

nice outdoor cafes for a anise-flavored pastis  apéritif

a wary brown trout, with their zebra stripes

spectacular scenery, from the river valley to the high plateaux

The Source of La Loue

Hotels on the river Loue

Our favorite above 

and below another classic Loue side hotel


Typical Loue-side restaurant decorated with old rods, creels and framed stuffed trophy trout and pike heads.

the kitchen

the back door ...

The "terrasse"

The view from the same terrasse

The fishing beat just in front of the hotel

Déjeuner sur l'herbe -fishing picnic-

A rest and snack at la Combe de Morbier (Le Mont Noir / Jura)

Morbier is the name of a delicious local cheese

Jura pages 1 - 2 - 3