After settling in to life in France for a year or so we decided it was time to sort out the lakes and start building our property into a proper French carp fishery.
The previous owner was extremely proud of what he had created and especially proud of the “Royal” carp which he bred and sold every 2 years when he drained the lakes.
When we drained the main lake we found that he left us with around 100 small, young “Royals” and around 100 “Table fish” (carp bred purely for food) other species included, Tench, Perch, Roach, Rudd, Gudgeon and Pike.
We removed all the table fish and left everything else behind and then started our hunt for more carp to complement the existing Royals. Before we had even made an enquiry we had a visit from a member of our commune asking if we wanted to buy any carp, after a bit of haggling we ended up with 22 Royal carp, mainly commons, between 18lb and 22lb. We then contacted a french fish farmer from Bordeaux and bought around 30 young, (around 10lb) pretty carp which I believe are a Hungarian or Italian strain. The following season we went to a local drain down where we met another local Frenchman who was a fish farmer and he supplied us with 24 carp ranging from upper doubles to the biggest at 33lbs.
Our stocking was completed by 2007 and the lake contained around 180 carp. We didn’t open in 2007 to allow the new carp time to settle in and then slowly built up to being fully booked by 2011.
Massive 57lb+ French carp Big carp of all shapes and sizes
Once angling started it was obvious the carp were growing well so we started to thin the stock to keep the bio mass at a level where the big fish had the space to reach their full potential. Over the years I would guess that we’d be surprized at how many carp we’ve removed but this must be the reason we’ve been able to grow such big carp in a short time and also the reason we have some stunning younger carp coming through which have been bred in the lake since we’ve owned it.
We now have no real idea of how many big carp we actually have. I can say that we have at least 10 different carp over 50lbs the biggest being a 70lb common and a 63lb mirror and would guess that we have in excess of 35 carp over 40lbs.
85lb+ Brace of big French mirrors caught on a baking hot afternoon
What's on the cards for the future?
Obviously it’s impossible to say but if previous years are anything to go by, the carp are going to be considerably bigger and even harder to catch. We had always planned that Echo Pool carp fishing in France was going to be a challenging water with big rewards, I think we can safely say we have succeeded.
In 2011 we asked our anglers to move any small carp from the previous year’s spawning, these carp were around 3-5lbs we believe we removed around 95%. The few that were missed are now mid doubles and I have no doubt at all that they will be mid 20’s in 2013. We feel that we now have a very balanced stock of carp, which I believe is very important if you want a healthy lake, I also believe this keeps the bigger fish competing for food, hence they keep growing and are still catchable.
"Scoob" our extremely friendly Pit bull kissing a double
We are constantly growing carp on for our future both at Echo Pool and hopefully another French lake once we find it.
During the season any small carp from the main lake get moved to the stalking pool. In the winter we drain and net this lake with the help of close friend Jean-noel Retailleau, professional French fish farmer and co-owner of Freedom lakes. We cream off the best carp and depending on size leave them in the stalking pool or move them to our 2 other stock ponds. The remainder are sold.
Below are a couple of examples of the type of beautiful carp we keep for the future.
See Fish Gallery for more photos
"carpfishingfrance", exclusive lake hire with big French carp, holidays in France with massive carp in excess of 70lbs