A Comprehensive Guide to Carp Fishing in France

Fishing in public carp lakes in France may sound daunting for anglers, but the fundamentals are surprisingly simple.

Fishing Regions of France
Simon Palmer

Published: May 5, 2023

Introduction:

Carp fishing in France is an experience like no other. From the picturesque scenery to the adrenaline rush of reeling in a massive carp, France has it all. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know to have a successful trip, including the best carp fishing spots in France, essential tips and techniques, and gear recommendations.

Best Carp Fishing Spots in France:

Lac de saint Cassien

Lac de Saint-Cassien

Lac de Saint-Cassien is one of the top carp fishing spots in France and is located in the South of France. The lake is stocked with enormous carp that can reach weights of over 60 pounds, making it a top destination for carp fishing enthusiasts. The water is crystal clear, and the lake bed is made up of sand and gravel, providing the perfect environment for carp. The lake has plenty of fishing spots, including shallow areas and deep holes, making it a great place for all types of anglers.

Lac de Vassivière

Lac de Vassivière is another excellent carp fishing spot in France. The lake is located in the Limousin region of central France and covers an area of 10 square miles. The lake is stocked with carp that can weigh over 50 pounds and is surrounded by beautiful countryside. The lake has a variety of fishing spots, including inlets, islands, and deep channels, making it an exciting place for anglers to explore.

Lac du Der-Chantecoq

Lac du Der-Chantecoq is the largest artificial lake in Europe and is located in the Champagne-Ardenne region of France. The lake covers an area of 30 square miles and is home to some of the largest carp in France, with some weighing over 70 pounds. The lake has a variety of fishing spots, including shallow areas and deep holes, making it the perfect place for all types of anglers. The lake is also surrounded by stunning scenery, making it a great place for a fishing holiday.

Tips for Carp Fishing in France:

Research the Lake:

When planning a carp fishing trip in France, it’s important to research the lake you plan to fish in. This includes finding out about the fishing department or federation that manages the lake, the types of fish that can be caught, and the rules and regulations that must be followed.

In France, the management of fishing waters is divided into different departments and federations. Each department or federation is responsible for managing a specific region and sets its own rules and regulations for fishing. It’s important to research the department or federation that manages the lake you plan to fish in, as the rules and regulations can vary greatly from one region to another.

To fish in France, you’ll need a carte de peche, which is a fishing permit that is required by law. The carte de peche can be obtained online or at local fishing shops, tourist offices, and other authorized vendors. The permit is valid for one year and allows you to fish in the designated areas of the department or federation where it was purchased.

In addition to the carte de peche, some lakes may require an additional fishing permit or day ticket. These permits can often be purchased on-site or online in advance, and it’s important to check with the department or federation managing the lake to ensure that you have all the necessary permits before you start fishing.

Finding the right public carp lake in France

Public carp lakes in France come in different shapes and sizes. Google Maps is invaluable in identifying lakes in the region you intend to fish. Open a web browser with a Google Maps and Carte de Pêche tab side by side to research public carp lakes in France. Find a nice-looking ‘bit of blue’ on the former, then check if it can be fished, and crucially, night fished on the latter. Many of the larger rivers have wide dammed sections that are well worth exploring. However, do be aware that some public lakes are drained down from time to time, so a bit of research can save you a wasted trip.

If you want to soak up some angling history and tread the same path as plenty of legends, then venues like the River Lot and huge inland seas like Madine and Cassien are all fishable via the Carte de Pêche permit. Information about these sorts of venues is easy to come by, but the venues may be busier, and the better spots might be taken.

Preparing for carp fishing in public waters

When fishing in public waters in France, especially in summer, you will be sharing the space with cyclists, swimmers, and boat users. Public waters are often shared with other activities and purpose-built swims are rare. You may find access to the water’s edge is great in some places and non-existent in others, so consider how much gear you will be taking, how close you can park to the water, and how comfortable your stay will be.

Bring the Right Gear

To have a successful carp fishing trip in France, it’s important to bring the right gear. This includes rods, reels, fishing line, bait, and other essential fishing equipment. However, one piece of gear that is often overlooked by carp anglers is a boat with an electric outboard motor.

A boat with an electric outboard motor can be an essential piece of equipment when fishing in France, particularly on larger lakes. These lakes can be vast and have many areas that are difficult to access from the shore. A boat with an electric outboard motor can allow you to reach these areas and fish in spots that are otherwise inaccessible.

In addition, a boat can be useful for baiting up and scouting out potential fishing spots. Carp are known to move around and change their feeding patterns, so it’s important to be able to cover as much water as possible to find them. A boat with an electric outboard motor can make it easier to cover a larger area of the lake and find the fish.

When choosing a boat with an electric outboard motor, it’s important to consider the size and weight of the boat, as well as the battery life of the motor. You’ll want a boat that is large enough to comfortably fish from but not so heavy that it’s difficult to transport. In addition, you’ll want a motor with a long battery life so that you can fish for extended periods without needing to recharge.

Overall, a boat with an electric outboard motor can be a valuable asset when carp fishing in France, particularly on larger lakes. It can allow you to access otherwise inaccessible areas, scout out potential fishing spots, and cover a larger area of the lake to find the fish.

Fish at the Right Time

When planning a carp fishing trip to France, it’s important to consider the time of year that you plan to go. Carp fishing can be great all year round in France, but there are certain times of the year that are better than others.

In general, spring and autumn are considered to be the best times to fish for carp in France. During these seasons, the water temperatures are ideal for carp, and they tend to be more active and feeding more frequently. Summer can also be a good time to fish for carp in France, but the hot weather can make the fishing more challenging.

It’s also important to consider any French national holidays or school holidays when planning your trip. During these times, lakes and rivers can become very busy, and it can be difficult to find a good fishing spot. Many French people enjoy fishing, particularly during the summer months, and national holidays can be particularly busy times at popular fishing locations.

It’s a good idea to research any upcoming national holidays or school holidays when planning your trip, and try to avoid these busy periods if possible. However, if you do plan to fish during a busy period, it’s important to arrive early and secure a good fishing spot.

Overall, fishing at the right time can greatly increase your chances of success when carp fishing in France. Spring and autumn are generally the best times to fish for carp, and it’s important to be aware of any upcoming national holidays or school holidays that could make fishing locations busier than usual.

Use the Right Bait

Different types of carp prefer different types of bait. It’s important to experiment with different types of bait to see what works best. Boilies are a popular choice for carp fishing in France and come in a range of flavours and sizes. Pellets and sweetcorn are also popular baits and can be effective when fishing in shallow waters. It’s a good idea to bring a variety of baits and test them out to see what the carp are feeding on.

Practice Catch and Release

Carp are a popular game fish in France, and many lakes have catch and release policies in place. It’s important to handle the fish carefully and release them back into the water as quickly as possible. You should also make sure to use barbless hooks, which can make it easier to release the fish without causing harm.

Stay Patient

Carp fishing in France can be a test of patience. Carp are known to be fickle and may not bite for hours at a time. It’s important to stay patient and wait for the fish to start feeding. It can also be helpful to use a fishfinder to locate the fish and find the best spots to fish.

Techniques for Carp Fishing in France:

Ledgering

Ledgering is a popular technique for carp fishing in France. It involves casting out a rig with a weight attached to the end and waiting for the fish to bite. This technique is effective when fishing in deep waters and can be used with a range of baits.

Float Fishing

Float fishing is another popular technique for carp fishing in France. It involves attaching a float to the line and using a baited hook to attract the fish. This technique is effective when fishing in shallow waters and can be used with a range of baits, including bread, sweetcorn, and maggots.

Spodding

Spodding is a technique that involves using a spod to distribute bait over a large area. This technique is effective when fishing for carp in France and can help attract the fish to your baited hook. Spods can be filled with a range of baits, including boilies, pellets, and groundbait.

Conclusion:

Carp fishing in France is an unforgettable experience. With the right gear, knowledge, and techniques, you can have a successful trip and catch some of the largest carp in Europe. Remember to research the lake, bring the right gear, fish at the right time, use the right bait, practice catch and release, and stay patient. With these tips and techniques, you’ll be well on your way to having a memorable carp fishing trip in France.