A passion for fishing in Les 3 Vallées with Ludovic Bal
- June to November
Meeting with Ludovic Bal, ski instructor and fishing enthusiast
A ski and snowboard instructor in winter, Ludovic Bal still roams the mountains in summer, just with different equipment.
That’s when he swaps his skis and poles for fishing gear.
A fishing devotee since early childhood, it’s something he now shares with his children and loved ones, and he’s recently started out on the competitive circuit too.
He guides us through our discovery of his world.
Fishing is difficult to categorise. It’s both a sport and a leisure activity. But in a much broader sense, it’s also a whole perspective on nature and the environment in which it takes place.
Born and bred in the Belleville Valley, which is still his home today, he first learned his passion from his grandfather and has since taken great joy in passing it on in turn.
“You can spend a lot of time just walking through nature, alongside a river, or climbing up to a lake to fish there! We love nature and the mountains.” You can also add the environment to that list, seeing as he releases 98% of his catches back into the water.
LUDOVIC'S HISTORY WITH FISHING
An environmental protector.
“In Les 3 Vallées especially, fishermen like me have a responsibility to protect the environment. I pick up all the litter I find along the way, for example… We’re witnesses and protectors because we go to sites hardly visited by anyone other than fishermen in summer.”
Ludovic, like many other committed fishermen, also helps with fish restocking sessions alongside local associations, as well as with monitoring water quality.
From leisure to competitions, stay hooked!
Although leisure fishing takes up most of his time, for the last three years, this devotee has also turned his attention towards float tubing competitions.
What makes this type of fishing different?
“You get around lakes and rivers on a little inflatable, wearing flippers. It means you can reach more distant areas and discover new fish without having to invest in a boat.”
A new way to practise a fast-growing discipline which is reinventing itself to become more and more accessible.
“Before, we just had little village competitions.”
Motivated by these new, more modern styles, Ludovic also loves introducing his young children to his beloved pastime. A real idyll they can all get stuck into together.
“Fishing is a wonderful leisure activity for spending time with people you love, and an excellent way to teach our children about nature, ecology and patience.”
My favourite sites in Les 3 Vallées? I may well be a bit biased, but I think the Belleville Valley offers the most options! My three favourite spots: Le Doron des Belleville, the famous Lac du Lou and Lac Noir at the top of the La Masse slope... It’s a site that requires a bit more effort because you need to allow a good hour and a half’s walk, but it’s just magical.
The best time of year for fishing in Les 3 Vallées? Unlike a lot of places in France where the rivers dry out in summer or the lakes get too hot, temperatures in Les 3 Vallées don’t change much between spring, summer and autumn, which makes the conditions very good throughout the fishing season.
The best time of day? For the beauty of the site as much as for your chance at success, for me it has to be the early morning when nature is waking up, at sunrise. Fishing is a sport for early risers! But remember that fishing by night is prohibited, more than half an hour before sunrise or an hour after it sets.
The checklist of the perfect equipment for fishing:
For river fishing, a 4 to 6-metre telescopic rod, and for lakes, a lighter more flexible rod that can fold into a rucksack.
A rucksack for storing all your equipment.
A good pair of shoes for getting to mountain lakes or waterproof/wellington boots for rivers.
Polarising sunglasses to eliminate glare from the water and help you see the fish properly.
A baseball cap, hat, and sun cream because altitude + water = strong UV reflection!
A little first aid kit containing plasters and disinfectant to treat any wounds from hooks, for example.
A drysuit and float tube for anyone who can’t stay out of the water.
Comfortable, breathable clothing.
1. Trawl the web… but learn on the ground
These days, you can learn a huge amount about technique online and find lots of advice for getting off to a good independent start. But nothing replaces experience, you need to spend time next to the water to progress and improve your skills and understanding.
2. Adapt your fishing technique
Without a doubt, the simplest and most accessible style is traditional natural bait or ‘toc’ fishing with worms etc… when you’ve mastered that, it’s interesting to switch to fly fishing or lure fishing using artificial lures. That last one is more fun for children with colourful, plastic lures. It’s also considered a more athletic style of fishing where you’re not just happy to cast the line and then wait 2 hours. The goal is to try to solve an equation by changing every 20 seconds to fishing at depth, on the surface, gently or quickly, and to tick the right boxes to understand how it all works.
3. Always stay informed
Find out the exact regulations from associations and tourist offices and always fish in accordance with the rules.
4. Protect the environment
What’s the point of keeping 10 fish you’ve caught to freeze them or worse, not even eating them? Every fisherman must be responsible and conscientious about protecting species in Les 3 Vallées’ little lakes and rivers. That means you take away as little as possible. Each valley also has its own private lake or lakes, which are easily accessible for families, and stocked with fish that aren’t found in nature. That makes it easier to fish there and has much less impact on nature.
Les 3 Vallées
Discover a range of activities in Les 3 Vallées. In Les 3 Vallées, you can enjoy the pleasures of the mountains all year round! As the seasons change, the vast natural expanses are alternately covered and uncovered by a thick white coat, revealing breath-taking landscapes.