I am noting that where my first venture into a ‘department’ is unsuccessful, so my description of my experience is similarly, short.
Funny that! So from this short piece, you already know the outcome!
The Peche Nord-Pas de Calais webpages are helpful, as was an exchange I had with Jeremy Lucas. And it was off to Wavrans that I sped, hot from the Eurotunnel car carrier on September 14 (2014), noting that, that day being a Sunday, if you miss the Tabac which closes at 2pm, you will be fishing illegally, if you do.
Madame seemed to enjoy my ‘franglais’ and invited me to join two locals in a ‘pression’, whilst they gave me the benefit of their local knowledge, which I appreciated.
My first view of their stream, the Aa, included my spooking a fish on the muddy shallows, and observing a slightly coloured river. Close by a father and sons were worming a deep pool, and what I was hoping for (weedy, clear, Hampshire-esq, flows) was not apparent in the village. So armed with maps, I was off exploring.
Upstream of the village the river character was mush more to my liking, and I spent an hour or so casting dries upstream into low, clear water over gravel beds. (picture)
Onto another piece of water nearby where some minor swirls caught my attention…and they took my Adams. (picture)
Two of them, but ‘ombres’, and whilst salmonids, were not what I sought.
A vehicle stopped close to where I was casting, and two chaps in fishing kit appeared. An interesting and broken exchange followed and it was pointed out that I should stop fishing because I was close to a prohibited stretch. They were charming, and one Michael Nancy, the river keeper (Garde Peche), offered to show me where it was more likely that I would find a ‘fario’. (picture)
He drove and I followed. He even offered me a likely fly….most kind, and showing that the anglers’ spirit, truly is, Continental!
I need to come back here, and plan to in May this year. Jeremy suggested that I try Ouve Wirquin, Fauquemberges, and Renty, all on the Aa, also. He added that the Lys and the Planqette (“the prettiest chalkstream I have ever seen, and teeming with trout”) are worth exploring, too. We will see!
Post script: FlyFishing & FlyTying magazine published a great piece by Jeremy in their May 2015 edition, which is an honest piece about what anglers exploring the northern French chalk streams should expect.