3rd March 2019

At long last we appear to be getting near the end of our winter works and are now confident that we, and the fishery will be ready to welcome our first guests at the end of March. There’s always a lot of work to be done during the winter but we added to the normal tasks of clearing the reeds and the broken sticks and branches by ripping out the whole of the big bramble patch just inside the field gate as well as taking the top off of the drive and rolling out the carnage created with a large Bomag. Anyway, that’s done and Jan has been busy painting the lodge, cleaning the kitchen and bar area and we now need a few more dry days to complete some repointing and then painting the outside.

I’m pleased that the calcium carbonate is all done and, conversely to my comment above, I’m waiting for some more rain, which is forecast this week, so that I can get the last of the reeds moved from the spillway pool and off down the garden stream.
During my perambulations this morning I noticed that the Southern Arm is beginning to clear again after having appeared to be clouding up over recent days. That suggests to me that the carp are beginning to stir up the bottom and is good news for the anglers. It also made me imagine the numbers of big fish that might become more visible this year, especially during the fight while hooked and that got me to looking through some of the catch reports over the last couple of years. I was amazed to find that we have seen 17 different carp banked weighing in excess of 55lbs. That, for me, is mind blowing and I can only add that the oldest of these is less than 19 years old and several of them are less than 10 years old. Add to that that the other 30 or so lower fifties and lord knows how many upper forties, are all very young fish and we have a recipe for some very special results for the future.
Here’s a list of the bigger fish with their best weights over the last couple of years.
Cut Tail – 76lbs 15oz
Half Lin – 74lbs 15oz
Clover – 60lbs 5oz
Andy’s Common – 59lbs 15oz
Pipesmoker – 60lbs 5oz
Peach – 65lbs 9oz
Round Scale – 57lbs 14oz
Black Scale – 57lbs 3oz
Footsteps – 56lbs 10oz
Pretty One – 58lbs 9oz
Horseshoe Scale – 60lbs 15oz
Chunky – 56lbs 2oz
Arfur – 55lbs 3oz
Chunky’s Double – 55lbs 2oz
Bob’s fish – 56lbs 3oz
Dippy – 59lbs 1oz
Galileo – 60lbs 7oz
I’m reasonably happy with that list.
Be lucky.

25th February 2019

The winter work continues at a pace and the warm, dry February has resulted in us having to rake out the cut reeds rather than being able to float them over the spillway. The lake is totally full but the flow in the garden stream isn’t strong enough to push the cut reeds away so each pile raked out of the lake has had to be borrowed round to the field and burned. I’m sure you can imagine that a huge pile of soaking wet reeds takes a while to burn but we are getting there.
Now to more pleasant things. My grandson Lewis has taken advantage of half term to flick a white rubber drop shot lure around and has caught some fantastic looking wide mouth bass, a very welcome, and superbly marked perch and ……… wait for it, a 2lbs plus rudd, yes a rudd, caught fair and square on a rubber lure. Well angled mate, that’s something I’ve never done.
Yesterday we completed spreading the calcium carbonate across the entire lake and, immediately saw the carp feeding in the areas recently covered. I was concerned that the application would put them off of the feed but that was far from being the case. Today, this morning and this evening, I watched numbers if carp feeding over a wide area of the lake and I also watched three very good fish roll. Now, I don’t know about the rest of you, but seeing rolling fish is probably almost as exciting as catching one. I’m waiting to see the first ones caught in order to see whether the water clarity has darkened their colours.
More heavy work starts tomorrow but we are beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Be lucky.

14th February 2019

LATE WINTER RAMBLINGS

Right, having had a few minor problems getting our blog to work the way it used to I have been guilty of just using Facebook to keep people up to date. Now that I have the blog back and intend to keep everyone up to date with the current state of play please excuse me if I’m covering some areas of old ground.
There appears to have been a major change with the lake this winter and I have been puzzled, very pleased and excited but puzzled nevertheless, so here’s a bit more detail in what work has been done.
A lot of you will know that the big weeping willow died last summer. That has been cut back but left as major stumps with our plan to allow wisteria and clematis plants to ramble over it. At the same time we took down the two big conifers which were on the garden slope of the dam wall and intend to allow flowering climbers to ramble over these also. We have also removed some other trees from the garden but these were solely to reduce the leaves in the swimming pool so doesn’t really affect the angling side of things. However, one small but very exciting discovery was that we found the kingfisher nest burrow and it is well above the highest water level that we’ve ever had.
Before Christmas, and before the water level rose, I trimmed off as many of the old reed stems around the lake margins, as possible so that this spring would see just the fresh green growth and not the dead stems. In truth it also reduces the rats hiding places so they are easier prey for the kites and buzzards and also that the coots have less nesting material. Those cut stems are now beginning to float off and I have spent the last week shepherding them over the spillway and into the garden stream. Now that leads nicely to the most exciting bit.
As the water level slowly rose I became aware that the water was extremely clear compared with all of the previous seventeen years that I have owned the place. Now I expected it to colour up as the water flow continued but it hasn’t and the lake is now completely full, trickling over the spillway, and still clearer than ever before. I have lots of theories about why this may have happened but they are all guesses and will probably not be able to be proven one way or the other.
The theories in my head refer to two changes that we’ve made and they probably both contribute to the clarity. The first is the aeration system that we installed a few years ago. The “air lift” effect that is caused by the constant stream of micro bubbles rising to the surface creates a major vortex around each diffuser head and this vortex drags in the soft silt which, in turn gets lifted to the surface and turned over in the oxygen rich surface area. We do know that oxygenating the silt encourages the bacteria to begin eating into it and thereby reducing the volume of silt so I believe that the oxygenated silt is sinking back to the lake bed and beginning this process. The second change that we made, last March, was to spread calcium carbonate across the lake before the season began. This is commonly called “liming” but I decided to use the calcium carbonate that is produced as a cattle feed supplement rather than the basic “chalk” which is recommended at one tonne per acre which sounds far too much for my liking. I will just add here that I was worried that the ph of the calcium carbonate would effect the ph of my lake, which sits at 8.2, until a fellow fishery owner pointed out the obvious fact, very obvious, but a fact that had eluded me, that the calcium carbonate reading was the same as my lake so it wouldn’t change our ph at all. Either or both, and probably both, of these changes may be the factor that is making the lake water clearer but here comes another part to this jigsaw.
As I mentioned above, I have recently been feeding the floating reed stems over the spillway but I was also aware that there were still more cut stems that were hung up on the banks and need a bit or persuasion to get them free floating. To achieve this I again donned my chest waders and slid into the cold water, lawn rake in hand, at Billy no Mates. By walking slowly along the lake margin I could pull the cut stems out past me and off out into the lake where the breeze would blow them up towards the spillway. It wasn’t until I had walked, and worked, from the marsh filter fence to Snag Bay that it dawned on me, I hadn’t yet sunk into any silt? The lake bed is firm. As this realization crept up on me I decided to wade further out in order to check other areas. Up to this point I had been at about waist depth so I worked my way further out until I was at the limit of my chesties. The deepest part of soft lake bed that I could find was not even ankle deep in silt/clay and even then I could feel the solid lake bed beneath it as I waded through it. In the light of these discoveries it is my intention to leave the aerators running 24/7 and to also make another application of calcium carbonate this year.
As an indication of the changes I remember, back in the early years and probably 2005/6 ‘ish, having to wade out to free a carp that had gone around the third lilies. I could just about get there in chesties and lifted the line free but as I lowered my arm back into the water my fingers were touching the top of the silt. This means that the silt, although very liquid at that time, was above knee deep with barely a couple of feet of water above it, now it is less than ankle deep so the fish have a far, far better environment in which to live and grow.
I’m probably going to be proven wrong but I believe that the reduction in silt volume also leads to less suspended, polarized clay particles making the water turbid and if this is the case then we may keep the clearer water and this may also see our carp develop darker colours this year.
Let’s hope I’ve got it right.

26th November 2018

With our season completed and the winter work schedule under way I thought it worth adding some detail of some of our carp that don’t always make the “A” team list. I was surprised to be told by a good friend, shortly after buying Etang du Roivre that I was lucky to be in the middle of “Saone valley Royalle country”. Frankly, this meant nothing to me until he explained that the Royalles from the valley of the river Saone were accepted as being the scaliest in France. With that in mind, during each of our 6 vidanges we have played god by removing the small, plain carp and keeping the scaley ones. In fact we continue this process to date but by removing the small commons and plain mirrors as they are caught and this will continue over the coming years.

This process is beginning to pay off and I will add a few pictures from those in my album as an indication of the standard of fish that we set as our target big fish for the future.

28th October 2018

2018 SUCCESSES
As we drift into the last week of the 2018 season (other than our work party week next week but that will only be Tree fellas) I thought it would be worth looking back over the fish that have produced surprises or special moments.
I’ve kept to 20 easily recognizable fish and have left out all of the scraper fifties that are less easily recognized and I’ve also left out the bigger fish which haven’t been banked this year and there are at least 6 of these plus, of course The Long Common which we know is present, often spotted but rarely caught.
Anyway, the list below shows the best weights of each of my 20 carp and gives us some opportunities to look ahead and estimate/guess what might be about to pick up our hook baits during the next couple of years. I don’t think it takes too much imagination before you can see at least 12 different sixties next year and lord only knows how many fifties.
Anyway, I wish everybody loads of success and the fish of your dreams.
Pretty One 58lbs 9oz
Arfur 53lbs 3oz
Chunky’s Double 55lbs 2oz
Ruby 52lbs 11oz
Garry Linear 53lbs 9oz
Dippy 59lbs 1oz
Galileo 60lbs 7oz
Pipesmoker 60lbs 4oz
Roundscale 57lbs 14oz
Peach 65lbs 9oz
Nemo 54lbs 2oz
Horseshoe Scale 60lbs 13oz
Coffee Bean 53lbs 14oz
Half Lin 74lbs 15oz
Bobs Fish 56lbs 3oz
Andy’s common 59lbs 15oz
Chunky 54lbs 2oz
Black Scale 57lbs 3oz
Finger Print 52lbs 8oz
Footsteps 56lbs 10oz

29th September 2018

WHAT A WEEK????

108 carp caught by Simon, Gwyn, Tony, Steve, Paul and Rob.
Of those landed these are the list of fish over 37lbs. amazingly it is exactly half (54) of the total numbers, but, and this does need clarifying, the totals included some commons under 30lbs and a few mirrors under 20lbs and these were moved to our stock pond. We need to continue this policy in order to maintain our control on the biomass but also because these smaller, younger fish (born in our lake every year) do not form part of, what we consider the “target group” so our growth calculations do not include these.

37.00, 37.12, 38.00, 38.00, 38.00, 38.06, 38.08, 38.08, 39.00, 39.00, 39.08, 39.12
40.00, 40.00, 40.04, 40.08, 40.12, 41.00, 41.00, 41.00, 41.04, 41.08, 41.08
42.04, 42.08, 43.00, 43.04, 43.04, 44.02, 44.04, 44.08
45.00, 45.08, 45.08, 46.06, 47.00, 47.00, 48.02, 48.08, 48.08, 48.08, 48.08
51.01, 51.02, 51.08, 52.00, 52.00, 52.02, 52.08, 56.02, 59.02, 59.07
60.13, 64.14.
Summary;- 30 forties, 10 fifties & 2 sixties

Looking for clues to future weights from a very conservative 3lbs per year weight gain, we can see that there are 12 carp between 37lbs and 40lbs so they should all easily be new forties for 2019.
By the same calculations there are 7 carp between 47lbs and 50lbs so they should all be new fifties.
There are obviously also some big fifties that will be sixties also.

Taking the numbers of “target fish” caught this week (ie. commons over 30lbs and mirrors over 20lbs) as a percentage of the total “target group” it looks to be approximately 65%+ are going to be 40lbs+ next year.
With a total target group of around 300 carp this suggests that somewhere close to 200 carp are likely to be over 40lbs. Of that we should also see at least 50 different carp above 50lbs.
Now the fun begins.
The photos below are from last night’s call to arms for Tony’s 56lbs 2oz mirror which we thought was the ninth fifty but, counting the list, it proves to be the tenth. Brilliant angling by one and all.

24th September 2018

I will keep you up to date as this week progresses but we have just reached 48 hours in and the 6 lads have just banked their 30th carp. The most pleasing thing is that everybody has had at least one forty plus already with the biggest at 59lbs 7oz.I’m now expecting some of the proper big girls to show up. Fingers crossed.

22nd September 2018

As I sit here and write this we are coming to the end of our second week with none of the larger inhabitants gracing the landing nets. As a fishery owner it’s always frustrating when the fish don’t  play ball for your guests and especially after nearly 17 years when a lot of our guests are now good friends. However, even more frustrating, and equally as exciting, is to have been able to sit on our dam wall, watching the breaking of each new dawn and the dimming light of each evening, whilst the carp give away their presence with amazing numbers of patches of bubbles, crashes and head and shouldering. In fact they are crashing throughout the night and some are so loud that we can hear them from indoors. They are obviously feeding very heavily on natural foods and, from the fish that I have personally seen roll, some of them look absolutely enormous and in fantastic condition.

My own take on this is that it will need a bit of “thinking outside of the box” but when someone gets it right they’re going to have the trip of their lifetime.

1st September 2018

Another week done and another week closer to the friendly and productive temperatures. The lads really did well and caught some stunning fish. Some struggled while other plundered the stocks. That had nothing to do with angling ability and simply the fact that the fish parked themselves in front of the first four swims until Wednesday and then moved out en masse. Anyway, the final tally was 30 carp banked and very few of those were below 30lbs. The better fish included 8 forties, 6 fifties plus Half Lin at 67lbs.

Cant wait to see what the following weeks produce and I have been playing around with fish growth rates in order to try to come up with projections. I have monitored some of the bigger carp weights and compared them with the same time last year. I then took those same fish and checked to see what their best weights were by the end of last year and it has thrown up some surprises. Now I’m not suggesting that I can forecast exactly what weight each fish will achieve but, even conservatively, my calculations suggest that we could easily have at least 12 different sixties. Way beyond my wildest dreams!!!!

17th August 2018

FISH WEIGHTS – 2018 FIRST HALF.

As we wait for the arrival of our first group of anglers to begin our second half of our season I thought it may be interesting to check some of the weights of our fish. I have listed 10 known (and easily recognizable) fish and have only shown those that have been banked in the first half of 2018. Those of you who follow our progress will immediately see that there are some noticeable omissions but, if they haven’t been banked this year yet, they don’t feature on this list.
One other thing that is noticeable is that a lot in this list are at their best ever weights while one or two are not. Obviously this relates to when they were caught this year (and last) in relation to spawning and as the big fish can lose 10lbs in spawn we can see that there are still some massive potentials for this autumn, once this ridiculously long, hot, summer eventually breaks.
Hope this is interesting and I will just add that we still have some summer and autumn spaces for 2019 while spring 2020 is filling fast.
Be lucky.

HALF LIN – 67lbs 14oz Royal Box (2017 best 74lbs 15oz)
PEACH – 65lbs 9oz 2nd Pontoon
GALILEO – 60lbs 7oz Stumps
PIPESMOKER – 60lbs 4oz Snag Bay (common)
DIPPY – 59lbs 1oz – 02/06/18 Dog Leg
HORSESHOE SCALE – 58lbs 9oz Dog Leg
PRETTY ONE – 58lbs 9oz Leaning Tree
BOB’S FISH – 56lbs 3oz Oaks
ANDY’S COMMON – 56lbs 0oz Mistletoe (2017 best 59lbs 15oz)
ROUND SCALE – 55lbs 15oz Pampas (2017 best 57lbs 14oz)