We asked Jim Kelly and Paul Cooper to travel out to 7 acre La Fonte, in the Normandy region of France. Here’s what they found…
La Fonte is situated in a wooded stream valley. It is very picturesque, with tree lined banks and a multiplicity of birdlife. The dawn chorus is particularly spectacular and sets off the tone for the whole day. La Fonte is approximately 7 acres; it is a long narrow lake, nowhere is it more than 100 yards wide. It is an old mill pond, with a stream inlet and outlet. Due to this it is shallow and silty in places, but this is not a problem as will be discussed later.
The fishing is from one bank only, there are two double swims and a single that could be used as a double, but is a little tight. The bivvying area is gravel with a layer of stones over the top giving a nice clean area. Fishing is from platforms, hence a pod or stage stands are required.
Vehicle access is only as far as the facilities, from the dam end. There is a very good gavel path to the swims and a barrow on site. I believe the bailiff will take you tackle to the swims with a quad and trailer; unfortunately he was on holiday during our visit.
Firstly the excuses, the week before we arrived the temperature was 20 oC. At no time during our week did the temperature reach more than 10 oC and on three nights the temperature was -3 oC. Being a shallow lake the water temperature dropped like a stone and the catch rate slowed throughout the week (which was a good thing after the first couple of days). However, we still managed to catch 92 carp between the two of us! We only fished 6 days and reeled in at both lunch and dinner time to eat and have a chin wag. The first few days were just silly.
When Paul was setting up, on Saturday, he cast a rod out that had a bait on from a previous trip, just to feel what the bottom was like and had an instant take. Two minutes fishing and a fish and a mid-twenty no less. Not to be out done I cast a couple of rods out and also had instant takes, a 24lber and a large grassie. As we didn’t get to the lake until evening we both thought it would be better to bait up and wait until morning to fish.
Sunday and Monday were ridiculous we had 46 carp between us mostly twenties with a couple of thirties each. Boy do these carp fight, I was absolutely knackered as each fish tried to pull my arms out of their sockets. On seven occasions I had two fish on at once and on one mad moment I had three fish on, absolute chaos.
With the dropping water temperature the catch rate eased off and by the end of the week we were only catching between two and five fish a day each. The breakdown of weights were:
68 twenties (a significant number between 27lb and 30lb)
I fished swim 1 and found a nice hard area just off the outlet on the far bank in five foot of water. Paul mostly fished swim 3, he did have a dabble in the other swim. Swim 3 was only two and a half foot deep and silty. Neither the dropping temperatures, shallow water nor silt stopped the fish from feeding, after all this is where they live and the fish will always feed where the food is.
Paul actually caught more fish than I did from his shallow swim. However, the average weight of mine was slightly higher. Presentation nor bait appeared to have any effect, as we caught on everything we tried. In good weather conditions and if someone had the stamina to fish nights I think an individual could catch a hundred fish in a week, but they would be absolutely wrecked.
There is a cabin with an outside seating area (perfect for that all important BBQ) and an inside kitchen. The kitchen has everything that you need including pots, pans, cutlery, plates, cups, glasses, fridge freezer, microwave, toaster, hot and cold running water, sink, cooker, electric kettle, table and chairs and a satellite TV (only free channels). The TV was very welcome after a hard days fishing. Just the thing to relax to with a nice cold beer. There is also a toilet and shower.
Prolific water with a monumental catch a realistic possibility. A very dense stocking density and there is now a planned feeding schedule; with this in place I would expect that the fish will pile the weight on. We caught a lot of twenties, with feeding a significant number of these could develop into thirties. If you like a lot of action from hard fighting fish this is an excellent choice and there is always the chance of a forty plus common. A real fun venue, perfect for a holiday where the fishing is not taken too seriously.
Find out more about La Fonte here – French Carp Lakes