Creating A Carp Fishery – An Owners Account

Over the nine years we have now been here, I get asked a lot of times what sort of French carp fishing lake we are in the respect of whether we class ourselves as a runs water, intermediate water or a hard big fish water. The simple answer I give is that I do not know, or should I say I am not sure for the following reasons…

Everybody’s perception of what a runs water may be different to mine and if I was asked I would say a runs water is like some of the commercial fisheries in the UK where it’s a fish every cast – nothing really big but lots of action to keep you occupied. To someone else it may be bigger fish as in doubles but again a lot of them.

The point of this article is that firstly you have to decide what you are looking for and then you have to decide what sort of fishing you want; fast and furious with lots of fish but no biggies or a slightly more challenging water with bigger fish. It’s very difficult to get both.

When we moved here in 2006 there was just the lake and fields and it had never been fished commercially  so we had a blank canvas to make what we wanted and turn this into a fishery of our choice. I, being the angler, wanted a fishery that I would want to fish – a natural lake with some action. So that’s what we set out to do and along the way had the gite built to a high standard for the non fishing partners.

The lake was overgrown and shallow so we had it dredged out but the size and banks were left as nature had taken over, that was important to us as we wanted everything to blend in and get back to being natural as after all it is our back garden and where we live full time. We decided to build proper swims and allow only fishing from them as that would save the banks and allow nature to stay relatively undisturbed, allowing the plants and weeds to grow and get the ecology back.

That’s the background and I will now try and explain why we have ended up with what we have here and some of the reasons why we have ended up with, what is to us, a lovely venue with excellent fishing.

Lesley and I each had our part to achieve. Lesley’s was the gite and garden and mine the lake. This allowed me to be greedy and achieve what I think is near perfect a carp lake as I could achieve.

After all the digging and netting had been done the lake was full again and we had to decide on what to stock and how many fish to buy.  This sounds easy but I did have to think about it carefully so as to achieve the fishery I wanted. When we had the lake netted it showed some of what was in there and what type of fish we had and roughly how many (on average only 40% of fish caught in net) and we knew there was nothing big but a good mixture and type of small carp and roach, pike and perch, though we did have 340 kilos of very small roach removed.

I now had to order the fish and over the next few months we had 178 carp delivered from 15lbs to 41 lbs along with some crucians, tench, pike and perch which, added to the original fish stock, gave us at least over 300 carp in the lake of all sizes.  This is only based on what we saw in the net as ever since we still to this day get some carp caught that have never been seen maybe not monsters but the biggies of the future and as original old French carp some really stunning looking fish.

So we now had a lake that was stocked with a good variety and sizes of fish and we then left them alone other than feeding them daily for a few months before we opened up with Angling lines.

I now get to the part about what type of fishery would I call this and this is still a very hard question to answer as nature has a way of making things different and in fact every day is different, the fish can change like the wind and go from feeding heavily one day to not a sign of life the next.

Certainly for the first couple of years I would have called this a runs water as a lot of fish were caught as they were still settling in and learning what an angler was. As the years went by they started to wise up a bit and became at times harder to catch but still we had a decent catch rate as most parties went home more than happy, as can be seen from feedbacks.

I would now call this a water that needs some effort and thinking to achieve the best results from your visit but if you put the effort in big catches of fish can be achieved… so I suppose you can call it a semi runs water.  To give an example this year I have been asking our anglers to fill in a catch sheet which I put on a spreadsheet to show the weekly catches and averages. For this year we have had,

33 x singles caught.
276 x doubles.
213 x twenties.
158 x thirties
24 x forties

This gives us an average of 32 fish a week and 16 fish per angler. As we have mostly only 1 or 2 anglers on each week you can see that they are kept busy. I believe we have achieved what I wanted which is a lake where people can catch good fish but not making it too easy so I think calling it a semi runs water is fair.

Lastly I get asked if we will ever have the lake netted again and at the moment the answer is no.

I believe in nature and her power to control things and letting things happen. With all the perch and pike that are in here now I think they keep the small fish down to a level where they are not a nuisance.

I also believe that it causes the fish a lot of stress and as the works are normally done in the winter which for the fish is not a good time and I believe they should be left alone to sort themselves out.

Hope you find this of some interest and would be happy to answer any questions about this and to hear others views,

Tight lines,
lake owner in France


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