Hauling Carp in France at Alder

Paul Cooper and I had the week beginning 21st July 2012 booked on Alder. This is in the same grounds as Notaires.

We had both fished Alder before Paul a week in November 2010 and myself two nights in October 2008, which was before the lake stocking. Hence we both knew the lake depths, consistency of the bottom and general layout, what we didn’t know was the way the lake would fish in July. When this was coupled with high pressure forecast for the whole week and temperatures into the low to mid thirties we both expected to struggle. We need not have worried.

The Lake

Alder is an absolutely stunning lake located on the edge of the Central Massif in the heart of rural France. It is miles away from the nearest town or major road, an idyllic location. Alder is an old lake formed by damming a valley. The lake itself has two shallow arms which are about three feet deep at their deepest. The main body of the lake has deep hard margins, with six feet being easily found just off the tree line. The deepest area is in excess of fourteen feet and is fairly soft.

Looking from the hut side of the dam wall towards the shallow arms

Looking towards the West arm from the East arm. Can you spot Paul Cooper bivvied up?

Looking along the dam, an excellent place to bivvy up.

The banks are flat and grassy, ideal for bivvies. When it is dry it is possible to drive around the majority of the lake to drop tackle off.


The banks are flat and grassy, ideal for bivvies. When it is dry it is possible to drive around the majority of the lake to drop tackle off.

The Fish

First the technical bit, the lake has been stocked with triploid carp. These carp are sterile; they are produced by giving the fertilised eggs a heat shock which produces an extra chromosome. These carp have three chromosomes (triploid) instead of the normal two (diploid). Hence there is never a problem with spawning or weight loss after it. You can go and fish the lake with confidence when other carp have sex on their agenda.

The Bait

Up until recently I have been a fan of boilies fished over hemp and pellets. However, I have now changed my opinion; I no longer use particles or pellets. By observation I have come to the conclusion that they attract a lot of nuisance fish and often the carp get preoccupied on the hemp and particles and only take the boilies when everything else has been mopped up. I have now started to use boilies only and my results have improved exponentially. Hence I had 30 kg of Quality Bait’s HG42, Paul had 35kg of boilies a mixture of Quality Bait’s HG42, HG47 and squid and orange.

The Fishing

Paul with a pretty mirror from the point 25lb from the dam

Paul and I arrived at the lake on Saturday afternoon and spent a couple of hours looking around. We spent at least an hour sitting on the dam looking for showing fish. There was some bubbling in the deeper soft region of the lake. It was Paul’s turn to have first choice of swim and being the good angler that he is chose to fish the point between the two shallow arms; it would have been my first choice as well. I chose to set up on the west side of the dam and fish two rods in the deep area where the bubbling had been seen, the third rod was to be fished just off the tree line to my right in six feet of water. Paul was immediately into fish and had something like six before it went dark. I had three; a 25lb mirror, a tench and a grassie. We both reeled in for the night as we were knackered after the long drive from the Midlands. Sunday was hot and sunny, Paul had something ridiculous like twenty three fish during the day, I managed twelve, unfortunately nine of them were grassies.

On Monday morning I decided to move and fish opposite Paul into the eastern arm as I wanted to avoid the grassies. This appeared to affect Paul’s fishing as he only had thirteen fish on Monday! I had eight only one grassy, which was a result. Paul was convinced that I was cutting his fish off, hence on Tuesday we both moved onto the dam. I went back into my original swim. Paul and I fished the same tactics; we concentrated the bait in one area and fed after every fish. Paul fished two nights and I only fished one night as the fish were coming out during the day. In fact the hotter it got the more the fish fed. It was not unusual to have three fish all at the same time. My fishing started to tail off on Thursday as I was to running out of bait. However, I did manage sixty fish and Paul a nice round hundred. I am sure we could have caught even more as we reeled in for meals, to go to the shops and during most nights. Biggest fish of the week was a 39lb 9oz mirror which luckily fell to my rods. All the fish were in good condition and boy do they fight, we both finished most days with aching arms.

The Facilities

The lake is basically a drive and survive, as there is no running water or electricity at the lake. However, there is a proper sit down loo that is flushed via water being poured into it. There is also a hut with a cooker, sink, table, chairs and the most important of all a camping fridge idea for cooling down the beers. Water is provided by the owner in plastic containers. There is a fridge freezer and a shower in the barn, a couple of hundred yards from the lake.


If you want an action packed venue, with the chance of a biggy, in a stunning location look no further. This is one of the prettiest lakes I have ever fished, I would be willing to pay just to camp there never mind fish. When this is coupled with hard fighting fish that don’t spawn and feed throughout the day you are on a winner. Paul and I had over 160 fish; if we had fished hard it would have been over 200.

Jim Kelly, August 2012.   jim.kelly@jpkelly.plus.com

Carp Fishing in France at Alder


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