VAR

The source of the Siagne River is located at an altitude 1435m at the foot of the Audibergue mountain in the commune of Escragnolles. 42kms long, it crosses through 12 communes in the Var and Alpes Maritimes departments, before flowing into the Mediterranean at Mandelieu. Over the years, the course of the river has led to the development of incredible gorges, up to 400 metres deep in places, lending this site the most amazing landscape of petrified waterfalls, natural bridges and caves.

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In early July (2014) I enjoyed the most leisurely drive from Theoule, toward and then around the scented elevated city of Grasse, before striking west toward St Cezaire. Had I not been on a mission, I would have liked to stroll this sleepy place (the lower Alpine slopes across the space to the north and north west of Nice in the Alpes-Maritime department is full of the most alluring hilltop towns, like Mougins and St Paul de Vence, and villages like Bas sur Loup, Fayence, Montauroux…and so many more!

But to my mission! La Gorge de la Siagne is navigated via a twisting, narrow roadway, diving downwards at a fair rate of knots, and requiring patience, and vigilance, for the eye is drawn continuously to the skyscape which becomes more impressive with every giddy turn as the stream gets closer!

‘Pres de le Gordalasque a Belvedere’ is a man-made gulley like channel down which flows the freshest of mountain waters to satisfy the needs of those in the environs of the lower Vesubie. Near to my destination that day was a similar structure, the Siagne canal, which supplies drinking water to Grasse and Cannes. Canal? Well one of at least 36” in width. We might refer to it as a ‘leat’.

The river here is crossed by the remarkable Pont de Tuves, an arched stone construction built in 1802, and preserved and safe. The waters below it, are crystal clear. They cannot be too cold, because the swimmers are about, but it is too hot and the sun is still too high to fish. The French tend to eat dinner earlier than we do, and at that elevation, the sun will drop behind the Alpine walls soon after 7pm.

Nevertheless, a clamber over riverside boulders takes me away from the vacationers, and I explore the kilometre or so downstream of the bridge. I am not the best spotter of fish, but the odd rise tells me that I should, with luck take what I seek.

In some of the deeper pools I try the bobber and trailing nymph, favoured by Marc (Boesch) and successfully, on the Tanaro, in Italia. Bushy dries (caddis) I try in the shallower runs, but neither worked.

As the light began to fade, I returned to the point above where La Siagnole enters the Siagne.

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And fish are rising, at last. Not to linger, but one of my favourite dry flies, the ubiquitous elk hair caddis, did the trick. As always, the fish are small…but scrappy, and I am happy!

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In early July (2014) I enjoyed the most leisurely drive from Theoule, toward and then around the scented elevated city of Grasse, before striking west toward St Cezaire. Had I not been on a mission, I would have liked to stroll this sleepy place (the lower Alpine slopes across the space to the north and north west of Nice in the Alpes-Maritime department is full of the most alluring hilltop towns, like Mougins and St Paul de Vence, and villages like Bas sur Loup, Fayence, Montauroux…and so many more!

 

But to my mission! La Gorge de la Siagne is navigated via a twisting, narrow roadway, diving downwards at a fair rate of knots, and requiring patience, and vigilance, for the eye is drawn continuously to the skyscape which becomes more impressive with every giddy turn as the stream gets closer!

 

‘Pres de le Gordalasque a Belvedere’ is a manmade gulley like channel down which flows the freshest of mountain waters to satisfy the needs of those in the environs of the lower Vesubie. Near to my destination that day was a similar structure, the Siagne canal, which supplies drinking water to Grasse and Cannes. Canal? Well one of at least 36” in width. We might refer to it as a ‘leat’.

 

The river here is crossed by the remarkable Pont de Tuves, an arched stone construction built in 1802, and preserved and safe. The waters below it, are crystal clear. They cannot be too cold, because the swimmers are about, but it is too hot and the sun is still too high to fish. The French tend to eat dinner earlier than we do, and at that elevation, the sun will drop behind the Alpine walls soon after 7pm.

 

Nevertheless, a clamber over riverside boulders takes me away from the vacationers, and I explore the kilometre or so downstream of the bridge. I am not the best spotter of fish, but the odd rise tells me that I should, with luck take what I seek.

 

In some of the deeper pools I try the bobber and trailing nymph, favoured by Marc (Boesch) and successfully, on the Tanaro, in Italia.

Bushy dries (caddis) I try in the shallower runs, but neither worked.

 

As the light began to fade, I returned to the point above where La Siagnole enters the Siagne. And fish are rising, at last.

 

Not to linger, but my favourite dry, the ubiquitous, Adams did the trick. As always, the fish are small…but scrappy, and I am happy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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