Around this time in France fish farmers are in full swing managing the nettings on their many lakes. It is because of this that Heather and I made a trip over to France this November. We called in to visit the Bacheliers, who were going to be netting both Jonchery and Brocard Large over two days.
The dates of nettings are pencilled in as autumn approaches, so a ‘window’ for our visit was set, but the wet weather was to play a huge part. Normally the first netting of the season is the top lake at La Horre. However, Paul Bachelier had kept me updated and even 10 days after the start of the drain down the lake was still full, simply due to the constant rain. As the labour is already organised, they opted to drain Jonchery first as this lake’s water level was more easily controllable. So, with 1 days notice, we packed the warmest clothes we could find as well as all our photography gear and waders.
Day one was spent documenting the netting at Jonchery, which you can read about here. On our second day we were up bright and early to make the 30 minute drive from Jonchery over to the Brocard Complex. Arriving at the lake, even with the water drained down to leave all but a sizeable puddle, it never fails to amaze me how lovely the setting is. It really is a natural beauty, exactly what you would expect from a centuries old lake nestled into a forestry reserve.
Now on to the real business…
The team tackle the job a section at a time, doing partial nettings around the remaining pool and pulling them steadily back to the bank. It is here that any large carp and catfish netted are checked and passed back over. Small nuisance catfish, carp and silver fish are then removed and placed into buckets. These are hauled up and sorted into aerated tanks on the back of the lorries heading for Pisciculture Bachelier HQ, where they are then transferred to smaller stock ponds.
We saw a huge selection of the scaley mirrors the Bachelier waters are reknown for, plenty of sizeable commons and around twenty large catfish.
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