© Vincent Michel
Learn fly fishing with PhilippeOn the rivers in the heart of the Monts d'Arrée
Brittany Experience

Learn fly fishing with Philippe

Your qualified fly fishing instructor-guide and passionate naturalist, Philippe Dolivet, will lead you into the magical world of fly fishing in the heart of unspoiled landscapes on the clear, pristine and swift flowing rivers of the Pays du Léon, Pays de Morlaix and Central Finistère regions. Learn the moves… and lots of other interesting stuff too !

Fly Fishing as a family

My son François and I had never been fly fishing before. The only thing we knew about this “art” was learned from the beautiful scenes in the Robert Redford movie “A River Runs Through it“. My husband Christian knew a tiny amount about fly fishing. This was an opportunity to learn as a family. The meeting with the fly fishing specialist, the top French fly fishing guide, took place on the shores of Drennec Lake. This gave us an introduction to fly casting. “I have always been attracted to water and to fish. I have always felt very strongly that I was meant to pass on this way of life to other people,” he says. “Brittany is one of the few sanctuaries in France for wild brown trout.” He shows real passion.

Total immersion

The right action consists of two equal strokes, like a metronome, swinging the distance between the angles of 11 o’clock and 1 o’clock,” he explains. The two strokes come together and the timing gets into its rhythm. The teacher is exceptionally patient and as we practise what the master has taught us, François and I soon manage to hurl ten metres of ‘silk’ fly line through the air. It’s magical and great fun. “Good enough to approach  a wild river.” Kitted out in our waders, we move from one world to another. Standing in the middle of the river Aulne, all our senses are on high alert. Pebbles and gravel roll beneath our soles, the current envelops us; it’s cold and takes our breath away. There you can read the river, absorb its spirit and become one with it and gain an insight into its mystery and learn about what lies beneath… “This is a superb vantage point an amazing degree of biodiversity.”

The magic of the rise

Recognising and smelling an otter’s tracks, “a powerful honey scent“, spotting a kingfisher or a grey wagtail, “they love mayflies“, watching the ephemeral mayflies mate over the wavelets, “this aerial ballet is a lot like hang gliding“… Philippe knows so much, you can’t catch him out. He lifts up stones from the river bed and opens our eyes to a secret world. Fascinated, we see a seething mass of life: “Aquatic larvae, tiny helpless dragonflies metamorphosing into beautiful winged insects. The trout feed on them when they float to the surface.” We are mesmerised by what seem to be tiny sailboats disappearing into secret little eddies – these are the fish rising. “Once the trout is spotted, you have to cast to it and present the fly, which is an imitation insect made of feathers and various kinds of hair.”


Eco-responsible fishing

A beautiful trout just swallowed a mayfly,” says Philippe. “Now, Christian, you need to cast your fly 50 cm upstream of the rise“. The fly line and leader unfurl and the fly touches down gracefully. It drifts then disappears in a delightful swirl. Christian set the hook. The line pulls taut and the rod flexes. At the end of a combat of Homeric proportions, the fish surrenders, as if to yield up all of her beauty. The scene is like a living masterpiece. The fish is carefully unhooked, and – as the tiny hook is barbless – the fish returns to its secret world “to be enjoyed by another fly fisher and to preserve its lineage“. The complexity of fly fishing enthralled my husband and now I understand how you can become “enchanted by the waters”. François went on to capture his first trout the next day on the river Elorn. We enjoyed a plentiful and delicious picnic on the water’s edge, savouring organic produce sourced from the area where Philippe comes from. That was enough to convince me of the benefits of this way of life.

There you can read the river, absorb its spirit and become one with it and gain an insight into its mystery…

Price from


per person

This experience includes

  • An introduction to fly fishing with Philippe Dolivet
  • Individual tutoring
  • Fly fishing equipment lent
  • Picnic hamper

Practical information

  • Considered as the largest trout reservoir in France, Drennec Lake is accessible to fly anglers for more than 7 months, casting a fly being possible until the end of the year (October 31).
  • Philippe offers guided boat fishing with a 19’ Sheelin Irish drift boat with a mixed powering system (electric and 15 HP 4 strokes). Individual and up to 3 participants guiding/tuition options. Starting from: 140€ (3 anglers basis)
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