More and more of you are heading out to France for an early season session around March and April, fantastic times for fishing. Occasionally however this means you can be arriving at a lake with still fluctuating water levels.
So what can we do when faced with more water than we bargained for?
The first thing to remember is the carp are still in the lake and usually still wanting to feed. Whilst sudden influxes of cold water can slow down the carps metabolism, in most cases the water is still overall warming up, with day and night time temperatures picking up as the season goes on. So look to the margins & other shallower water areas where the water is warmest because this is undoubtedly where the carp are likely to be.
I remember a few years back taking a stroll around a famous French lake when it was in flood in March – The spit between the lakes was under 18″ of water and I saw numerous huge carp attracted to the water over thespit which suddenly had become a new gravel bar and an excellent source of food. They were churning up the bottom in only 15″ to18″ of water like hungry kids at a birthday party! It really was fantastic sight as most had their backs out of the water due to the lack of depth. You may also see this kind of behaviour on a lake such as Beaurepaire; the levels of this lake can often rise in spring and cover the large spit that extends out over half it’s width.
So take good look at the lake and don’t forget to ask the owner/bailiff etc if there are any ‘new’ features under the water, search out the shallower areas and remember if something doesn’t work change your tactics. Catching carp isn’t about luck, it’s about tactics!
Very importantly though – go prepared – check out the weather in advance or ring the agent or lake directly to find out what the banks are currently like. Although any reputable agent will already have rung you if the conditions are so bad that fishing isn’t possible.
So far, March and (the first 5 days of) April have been very kind to us this year, both for the weather and the fishing, however wet weather & the ensuing mud is not a problem as long as you are geared up for it. It is a problem though, if you are not kitted up and can’t get anything dry! A couple of useful items to take would be an Army poncho and a set of neoprene chest waders. Both these items will make a difference in nasty conditions and allow you to possibly wade out and reach an otherwise inaccessible area of the lake.
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A wading stick is essential if wading in chest waders. A branch or a long bank stick/bivvy stick is the very least you should carry for prodding in front of you when wading water you don’t know. Even clear water can throw a surprise when wading at chest depth and believe me having water running down inside your chest waders isn’t a pleasant experience at any time of the year least of all now before the water has warmed.