Fly Fishing for Allis shad
Shad are migratory fish from Clupeidae family (close to herring), which come up the river to spawn.
They is only a few handful fishermen waiting with impatience for their return each year starting from mid-April. The large shad also called Allis Shad (alosa alosa), started to run in numbers in many streams of Brittany since 2000, probably due to climate change.
Their fishing which is very close to salmon fishing, swinging wet flies/nymphs is practiced mainly on the Aulne river in Chateaulin (29) and on the Blavet in Inzinzac-Lochrist (56). It is also possible to sight fish for them on the lower part of certain smaller rivers. I offer my fly fishing guide service in Brittany on the best spots of Brittany rivers depending on the season, conditions and runs.
Allis shad from Aulne River - Chateaulin - Finistère @julien pouille
Depending on the season, conditions, I will take you out fishing on some of the best rivers for shad in Brittany.
Season in Aulne and Blavet River: From mid-April to mid-June
Aulne and Blavet are channeled rivers where the largest population of shad come up to spawn each year. The most represented species is the "Grande Alose", Allis shad also called alosa alosa (from 1 to more than 3 kg) but we also have the other smaller specie alosa fallax. On these two rivers we fish for them swinging flies using switch or single handed rod. Their takes are very strong and those fish fight pound per pound harder than a salmon. A great sport fish to experiment!
Season in smaller rivers (Ellé, Elorn, Odet): mid-May to mid-July
We mostly sight fish for them with smaller flies and lighter tackle such as 6 to 7 weight rods and 6 pounds tippet.
They are very fast and you have to be very concentrated to be able to set the hook at the right moment. A real thrill!
Schedule: Full day (9:30 to 18:30), half day or for the last hours of the day, which is usually the best time for this specie.
Rates: From 280 € per day depending on the service. 150€ for half day or last 4 hours of the day. Degressive rates depending on the number of people.
Typical program for a salmon fishing day in Brittany: (for more details, contact me)
I personally tailored each trip in order to bring you the best service.
- Reading the water and adapting our technique
- Choice of equipment (rod, line polyleader, tippet, ...) depending on the river, the season and conditions.
- Fishing strategy
- Improve your casting skills, presentation, retrieve. Beginner and Advanced Spey Cast for single handed and Switch rods.
- Choice of the fly according to the river, season, activity and conditions.
A great sport fish
Allis shad is a part of the Clupeidae family and is the largest shad we have in France. It is a migratory fish that goes up in our Breton rivers from mid-April until mid-June, or mid-July on smaller streams where the water warms up later in the season. The shad populations in Brittany have been increasing for about fifteen years now. It's a specie with a complicated cycle, very sensitive, stressful and remains vulnerable. The shad is an aggressive, very powerful migratory fish that gets in the way when you adapt your gear accordingly. It is a hard fighter fish that does not give up easily, and a lot of fun on a fly rod. A real treat for the versatile fly fisherman!
For Shad fishing we usually swing flies with streamers or large nymphs often using bright colors such as orange, yellow, chartreuse green and pink. Depending on the season, it will be necessary adapt your tackle and lines to fish more or less deep with intermediate to very fast sinking tips. On the Aulne and Blavet we regularly use 9 to 10 feet rod for 7 to 8 weight for the beginning of the season but also switch rods that can quickly cover areas where they are, while we will switch to 6 weight rods for the last part of the season when water levels drop and the current slows down. The technique is to present our shad fly at the "right level" and at the right speed depending on water levels, flow rates, water temperature and fish activity. It is necessary to be very concentrated during the drift of the fly to not miss the takes and set the hook at the right moment. An intense fishing. In small river, we generally sight fish for them by presenting small nymphs with orange head which will be retrieved by saccade in front of the spotted fishes.
Aulne and Blavet fishing
Fly fishing for shad in Brittany is practiced mainly on these two channeled rivers which offer in Brittany the highest concentrations of shads. Each year several thousand of Allis shad colonize these streams. Shad starts to come up the rivers when the water temperature is about 10°C and then spawn around 17°C. So we fish for them usually from mid-April until the end of June. We find them on the lower part of the rivers below the dams that stop their migration. They focus on the first locks of these two rivers to the delight of fly fishermen. Aulne and Blavet are channelized rivers where the water warms up quickly and is therefore early compared to other (non-channelized) streams where they arrive later.
But also on other smaller rivers
In the recent years, shads also colonized other rivers of smaller size such as Ellé, Elorn, Goyen, Odet, Penzé, Scorf, Trieux ... On these rivers with clearer water it is possible to spot them and sight fish for them using small colorful nymphs. The technique consists of finding a group of fish and retrieve your fly close to them according to the behavior of the fish. It is a 100% sight fishing, where we see the shad running after your fly and swallow it stealthily. It will be necessary to be attentive and very fast to set the hook at the right moment in order to hook them right. On these small rivers fights are explosive and the sensations guaranteed!
Allis shad fly fishing in Brittany
Fly fishing for shad on the Aulne river with Jean-Daniel from Switzerland who came especially to catch is first migratory fish from Brittany (shad and salmon). Beautiful catches, beautiful fights and memories.
Video editing directed by Julien Legendre. June 2016