A Guide To Carp Lakes In France
While UK waters are rich in several different types of carp, many experienced "carpers" swear that the really big and feisty ones are only to be found by fishing carp lakes in France. The steep increase in the number of Britons who are willing to travel across the Channel for continental carp fishing is increasing every year. France has the advantage of a generally milder climate as well as a very large number of lakes in France that favour carp growth.
In fact, some of the most popular carp lakes of today were once mixed species lakes where fishers threw the carp back for many years, resulting in some monster carp that have been known to top 60 pounds/27kg. France is close enough that one can save thousands of pounds over a trip to Central or Eastern Europe.
For the British traveller to France, there are several different ways to get to the biggest French carp. You'll want to choose your best option while considering comfort level, love of adventure and budget.
The cheapest method, by far, is to go to a public lake. There are thousands of these throughout France, many of which are stocked with carp. You'll simply need to stop by any angling shop or most pubs and get a license. A fishing map (or carte de peche) is also very useful, as is a basic French phrase book. Of course, the carping on such lakes varies considerably, so doing your research before you leave is even more valuable than doing a quick check for suitable carp habitat.
To experience some of the most well-stocked carp lakes in France, the country offers many privately owned lakes, many of which are home to resorts that offer accommodations that vary from run-down caravans or camping sites to luxury hotels. The price you'll pay for a well-stocked lake tends to be rather high, but often proportional with regards to the size and quality of the runs.
Perhaps the fastest growing segment of lakes specifically for carp lakes in France is now home to scores of British owned lakes that specialize in catering to the somewhat less-adventurous traveller who just wants to fish for the big ones in a familiar environment. Also well-stocked, these are usually the most expensive type of carp lake in France.
One uniquely French twist is the publicly-owned lakes that have administration turned over to a local private group. French carp fishing clubs most commonly are responsible for stocking, collecting fees and administering such lakes. Fees on such lakes are usually less than a privately owned lake, though they vary considerably in how they're run.