With so many lakes available to fish in France there is literally a lake to suit every angler. Many anglers come across a lake they love and revisit every year while others like to try a different lake each time. With such a choice of lakes available I thought as lake manager of Lac Du Villefond I would describe what makes our lake special.
I don’t want to focus on the fish, although our average size and large carp are one of our biggest selling points, but that information can be seen on our webpage. I want to say a little about the experience of fishing our lake.
I would start by saying what Villefond is not and Lac Du Villefond is not for everyone. Put most simply it can be a tricky water at most times of the year and not a runs water. There is not a huge stock of fish that will jump on your bait and there are no other bottom feeding species like tench, bream or poisson chat. There is no weed and there are very few small carp, in fact there are only a handful under twenty pound and nothing below about 15lb has been caught in years. There is no mains electricity and no plush house to sleep in or pool to lounge in. At this point you’re probably wondering what is it about Villefond that us and our regulars have fallen in love with….
Imagine your favourite old lake in England and now picture it with even bigger fish, picture turning up at a lake in the middle of nowhere away from any busy roads. You walk in to see a charming looking lake with mature trees all the way around. There’s an island with trees in the centre of the lake and as you first walk up you see the shallow end of the lake with over hanging trees and bushes in the margins reaching into the water, ideal for carp on sunny days.
The island is a good marker between the shallows and the deeper water and as you begin your walk around your see the deep water , average about 8-9 foot down to 14ft. You look across the lake and on calm days you can see the carp feeding, trails of bubbles betraying the presence of what is feeding below. Especially during the summer the carp love to jump and on your first walk around the lake you will normally see carp jumping and that is enough to get you desperate to get a line in the water.
As you walk around the spotlessly kept lake stopping at each swim you’ll see every one has its own unique view of the lake and from each swim the lake looks a different size. Every swim has features and places fish hold up in or visit and this means that what ever swim you pick if fished correctly will produce fish, there isn’t a dud swim. We keep the grass around the lake short and brambles down around the lakes margins but the the rest of the land around the lake we leave to go wild encouraging wild life to visit and all sorts of interesting animals live there. Birds of prey hunt around the lake including hobbies, sparrow hawks, buzzards, kestrels, owls and much more. You might see snakes swimming and hunting the frogs and fish and other snakes hunting the lizards and mice that live in the rocks around the waters edge. Pine martins hunt in the trees and hares walk around below, over the years I have seen just about every species of animal around the lake.
The fishing however is our real unique feature of the lake. I have never come across a lake like ours before but have heard stories of old wild English lakes that fisherman recount to me that are similar. Most people’s first picture in their head of French fish are what they call dustbin lids, short fat carp that have basically been over fed to get them fat so they weigh more. We have a couple that are indeed fat like this picture of “the fat common” I had recently but most are just huge framed fish, long and thick across the back.
Our fish are healthy and that makes them hard fighting but this alone doesn’t make our lake unique yet. What really sets our lake apart is the lake and the stocking. Our lake is rich in naturals , really rich, super productive and all year there are different blooms of naturals meaning that are carp have healthy food and as much of it as they want. If you couple this with our stocking in the lake your begin to see why it becomes a very unique place to fish. As I said earlier there are no other bottom feeding species or small carp to compete for the food. So now we have a lake of seriously big fish, just big smart healthy wise carp.
What does this mean for the fisherman? The fish have become harder to catch as they have grown into big fish, they have made many mistakes and with the excess of food available they can now be quite fussy, taking time to look for rigs before picking baits up. The fish will apply every trick in the book to avoid getting caught, some tricks you will have heard of and even some most have not.
So how does this make it good for the fishermen? Let me explain the way I look at my fishing. Let’s say I go fish to a random lake , like most others it’s stocked lake full of hungry carp and the chance of a big fish. I’m catching lots of smaller hungry carp on this rig I’m trying because they they are competing for the food and going to make mistakes. I’m now thinking in my head this rig is nailing these carp so it’s just a matter of time before a big one comes along and I hook it. That day I don’t hook a big one, I assume because it wasn’t on my spot. I then take that rig to our lake where I know it’s just big carp and I am unable to hook a carp with the rig, it loses fish. Knowing what I know now from years of studying how big carp feed I have learnt that they feed very differently from smaller carp, and even when they are hooked they have plenty of tricks to eject the hook without giving hardly an indication on bite alarms. I have been very fortunate to have a lake where I can study just big carp without wondering could that pick up or indication have been a tench, bream or smaller carp. I have been able to study exactly how big carp behave uninhibited. This is very unique and I have never come across a lake that was similar and as a result my level of fishing over the time I spent at Villefond has shot up in no time and I was soon looking back at my old style of fishing and my old mind set and seeing my own mistakes.
What this means for anglers coming to Villefond is that it can be difficult, crazy numbers of fish on the bank are achievable but normally this is down to the time of year, angling ability and anglers that are happy to adapt quickly. Some anglers who have caught lots of smaller fish in the past enjoy the challenge of waiting for the bigger fish without fear of doubles or nuisance species picking the bait up.
Generally Villefond is not for beginners or people expecting big carp without working for them. The better you become at fishing the less luck is involved and Villefond will definitely test the skills of the angler. This type of fishing is not for everyone, however lots of adaptable and open minded anglers love the experience, the challenge of working for and earning the fish caught. People often tell me they have learnt more on a week on Villefond than any other lake and that they will take what they have learnt here to everywhere else they will fish from now on. It is really an eye opener having a lake full of just big fish , you can quickly discover than most the time what you would assume to be the case when fishing isn’t necessarily so.
On our catch reports your see there are some seriously big fish caught and these fish were earned. If you wanted to catch some easy fish or to be gifted some large fish Villefond isn’t for you. However, if sitting peacefully in the countryside setting your traps and waiting for some brute of a carp to make a mistake is your thing then Villefond is for you. If you enjoy sitting in an old wild lake full of very clever monster carp testing your skills and a having a real sense of achievement when you catch then you get what we have created at Villefond and why it can become addictive.
In summary it’s not for everyone and probably not a good lake to learn on but it is very unique, a great, secluded, clean & well kept with only big, smart, tough old carp swimming in it’s waters. It’ll test you, it’ll frustrate you but if you stick at it, it will reward you and it will hook you.
Find out more about the lake here – Carp Fishing in France