Here at the Angling Lines office we get lots of potential lake owners come to us for advice as they consider the pro’s & con’s of fulfilling every carp anglers dream – buying their own carp lake. We’re always happy to advise based on our 10 years experience in marketing carp venues… but we lack that real first hand experience of actually going through the process.
So I’ve asked our lake owners if they’ll share their experiences of what it’s really like to both buy & then run a French carp venue. No doubt they’ll all have common themes but I’m sure they’ll also all have had different experiences as they’ve navigated their way to their own piece of paradise. I’ll add them over the next few weeks. Here’s the first…
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Whether you are looking to buy, or whether you run a carp venue already, here’s some useful tips we’ve gleaned from our experience;
Get Officially Registered!
Lakes in France must be registered with the Department of Agriculture and fall into fishing categories (categorie piscicole).
Many lake owners are blissfully unaware that their lakes are not officially registered and some could even be subject to restrictions like ‘no night fishing’ and ‘fishing licences required’. The last thing a lake owner wants is to discover these facts when the Water Police pay a visit and close the fishing down on the spot! Not to mention the heavy fines involved.
The three most common mistakes people make when buying a lake in France are:
1) To assume that the rules don’t apply to privately owned lakes. They do.
2) To assume that this will always be covered by their Notaire (solicitor). It isn’t.
3) To assume that it must be Ok because it’s already a fishing venue. It may not be.
Don’t panic though. Getting a lake registered is a simple admin process with your local Direction Departmentale de l’agriculture et de la Foret (usually at your prefecture). The tricky bit can be when it comes to fishing category.
Ideally you want to make sure the lake is classed as Category 2, Closed.
This basically means that night fishing is permitted and no fishing licences are required. The rule of thumb is that you shouldn’t have too much to worry about if there is no brook or stream running through the lake and/or there is no possibility of free movement of fish in and out of the lake.
It is possible to re-direct a stream and this could even allow you to change the category of a lake to ‘closed’. However, this would involve you submitting a detailed project request and follow-up studies. An expensive business.
Draining a lake – get permission!
Lake owners often discover to their horror that they are not registered for the first time when they want to lower the water level for netting or cleaning. You need permission to empty a lake, even partially. Many lake owners get away with doing this on the quiet and many more are caught in the act.
Movement of fish – be careful!
By the way – there’s a whole load of very strict regulations regarding the movement of fish from lake to lake. If your lake is suddenly full of large carp, be prepared to prove where you got them from.
My 3 main tips…
My 3 main tips for worry-free lake ownership are:
1) Make sure you have genuine documentation regarding the registration and fishing category of your lake.
2) Always get written permission to empty a lake (takes about a month, but varies from Department to Department). Your local mayor (Mairie) might say it’s OK… but he/she does not have the authority.
3) Make sure your fish come from an officially registered pisciculture and get receipts for your fish purchased. Same applies for netting the lake if this will result in the selling or moving of fish.
Like all rules, it’s not actually that hard to stick to them once you know what’s what. The cost of doing things properly is worth every extra penny. It’s much better than learning the hard way.
If anyone needs any advice I’m always happy to help if I can… & if I can’t I probably know someone who can!