Exploring Carp Fishing at Lac de Saint-Cassien: A Q&A Guide

Carp fishing at Lac de Saint-Cassien provides an experience that very few other places can match

Fishing Regions of France
Simon Palmer

Published: July 20, 2023


LocationLocated in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region in southeastern France
Fishing RegulationsLocal regulations must be observed, night fishing is prohibited all year round.
Species of FishContains various fish species, with carp being the most sought after
Carp SizeKnown for its large carp, with both Mirror and Common Carp exceeding 30 kg
Best Fishing TimeOpen all year, but spring and autumn are the most fruitful
AmenitiesAccommodations, food and beverage, tackle shops, boat rentals, recreational activities, and public facilities are available
Strategies for SuccessLocating carp, bait selection, effective rigs, pre-baiting, watercraft, time of day, and responsible handling
Handling and ReleaseUse appropriate gear, landing nets, unhooking mats, respect the carp and environment, and ensure proper release
RecordsVenue for world-record mirror and common carp catches

Where is Lac de Saint-Cassien located in France?

Lac de Saint-Cassien is one of the most famous carp fishing locations in France. Nestled in the Var department, this exquisite lake resides in the southeastern part of the country, in the region known as Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur. Surrounded by lush pine forests, this picturesque setting is not far from the Mediterranean coast, making it a fantastic destination for both anglers and nature lovers.

Lying approximately 12 kilometers west of Cannes and 20 kilometers southwest of Grasse, Lac de Saint-Cassien offers a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of nearby tourist hotspots. The lake covers an area of around 430 hectares, boasting abundant flora and fauna, providing excellent habitat for carp. The lake is dammed at the eastern end, and the river Biançon is its main inflow.

In terms of accessibility, Nice Côte d’Azur International Airport is the closest major airport to the lake, approximately 45 kilometers away. There are also excellent road networks in the region, offering an easy and straightforward journey to the lake. Car rental services are readily available at the airport and in nearby towns.

The natural beauty surrounding Lac de Saint-Cassien adds to the overall appeal of the place. The lake is fringed by forested hillsides interspersed with small rocky cliffs, offering scenic spots to cast your line. The panoramic view of the lake and the surrounding countryside from the dam is breathtaking, making it a popular site for photography.

For planning your trip, it’s essential to consider the various seasons and local weather conditions. Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur is known for its Mediterranean climate with mild, wet winters and hot, dry summers. Spring and autumn are pleasant and are generally considered ideal times for carp fishing in this region.

To aid in your planning, you can visit this comprehensive guide on carp fishing in France. It offers valuable insights into the preparation and best practices you should consider before embarking on your fishing adventure. Now that you’re familiar with the location, let’s delve into the types of carp you can expect to catch in this fantastic fishing venue.

What types of carp can I catch in Lac de Saint-Cassien?

The biodiversity of Lac de Saint-Cassien is remarkable, hosting a plethora of aquatic species. However, it’s most renowned for its sizeable and diverse carp population, which has made the lake a favored destination for carp anglers across the world.

The lake houses three primary types of carp that attract anglers, each presenting a unique challenge and reward. Let’s delve into these varieties:

Common Carp

The Common Carp, or Cyprinus carpio, is a ubiquitous presence in Lac de Saint-Cassien. This species is characterized by its robust body, large scales, and barbels by the mouth, which are some of their distinctive traits. Common Carp in Saint-Cassien can reach impressive sizes, with many fish in the 20 to 30kg range.

Mirror Carp

The Mirror Carp, another variant of Cyprinus carpio, is aptly named for its irregular scale patterns that create a mirror-like effect on their bodies. The scale patterns and sizes can vary widely, making each catch a unique experience. Mirror Carp in the lake can often reach weights similar to the Common Carp, with specimens over 30kg having been recorded.

Leather Carp

The Leather Carp is the third variant you may encounter in Lac de Saint-Cassien. Named for its almost scale-less, leather-like skin, the Leather Carp is a rarer catch. However, this type of carp tends to grow quite large, contributing to the thrill of the hunt for dedicated anglers.

While these carp species are the main attraction, Saint-Cassien also hosts other species like roach, tench, and pike. However, these are less frequently targeted by anglers.

In your pursuit of these magnificent fish, it’s worth remembering that carp are known for their strength and endurance. Carp fishing in Lac de Saint-Cassien often involves long fights, with the fish making strong, sustained runs before being landed. It’s part of the allure of this sport and why carp anglers return time and time again to this fantastic location.

Catching these species requires strategic planning, appropriate gear, and a keen understanding of their behavior and habits. The rewards, however, are plentiful, and the memory of reeling in a hefty carp from the tranquil waters of Lac de Saint-Cassien is not something you’ll forget in a hurry.

The diverse carp species of Lac de Saint-Cassien provide an exceptional fishing experience that few other places can match. For more details on carp fishing in France, consider reading this comprehensive guide, which includes useful tips and tricks to enhance your fishing experience.

What is the best time to fish for carp in Lac de Saint-Cassien?

Determining the best time to fish for carp in Lac de Saint-Cassien involves considering both the time of year and the time of day. Both factors significantly influence carp behavior and feeding patterns, and thus, the success of your fishing expedition.

Time of Year

Carp are cold-blooded creatures, meaning their metabolic activity, and hence their feeding behavior, is heavily influenced by water temperature. As a general rule, carp become more active and feed more aggressively as the water warms up, usually starting in late spring and continuing through the summer into early autumn.

In Lac de Saint-Cassien, the spring months from March to June and the autumn months from September to November are often considered ideal for carp fishing. During these periods, the water temperature is neither too hot nor too cold, leading to increased carp activity.

The summer months, while hot, can still yield good fishing, especially early and late in the day. However, fishing can be more challenging during the height of summer due to increased recreational activity on the lake.

The winter months are usually the quietest for carp fishing in Lac de Saint-Cassien. However, patient and dedicated anglers can still land carp during this time, especially during mild winters.

Time of Day

When it comes to the best time of day for carp fishing, early morning and late evening into the night are often the most productive. Carp tend to feed more actively during these cooler periods, retreating to deeper water to rest during the heat of the day.

Of course, these are general guidelines, and fishing can be productive at other times as well, depending on various factors such as weather conditions, atmospheric pressure, and wind direction. Also, carp are known to adjust their feeding habits based on fishing pressure, so don’t be afraid to try fishing at different times if you’re not having success.

In conclusion, while there are favorable periods for carp fishing in Lac de Saint-Cassien, the vast size and rich biodiversity of the lake mean that successful fishing can be had year-round, depending on your strategy and approach.

For more detailed information about carp fishing in France, consider reading this comprehensive guide, which includes numerous valuable tips and advice on how to maximize your success on the water.

What gear do I need for carp fishing in Lac de Saint-Cassien?

Equipping yourself with the right gear is crucial for a successful carp fishing experience in Lac de Saint-Cassien. Here, we’ve compiled a list of essential items you’ll need:


For carp fishing at Lac de Saint-Cassien, a 12-13 foot rod with a test curve of 2.75 to 3.5 lbs is generally recommended. This length and strength allow for long-distance casting and sufficient power to handle the lake’s sizeable carp.


A high-quality reel with a reliable drag system is essential for dealing with the runs of big carp. The reel should also have a large line capacity to handle long-distance casting and sustained runs from large fish.


A durable monofilament or braided line is the go-to choice for many anglers. The choice between the two often depends on personal preference, with each offering its advantages. Monofilament lines are abrasion-resistant and stretchy, which can be beneficial when playing a big fish, while braided lines offer superior casting distance and sensitivity.

Terminal Tackle

A variety of carp-specific terminal tackle is available, including different hook styles and sizes, safety clips, lead systems, and artificial baits. The choice of terminal tackle often depends on the fishing situation and the angler’s personal preference.


Boilies are a popular choice for carp bait in Lac de Saint-Cassien. These hard, round baits come in a variety of flavors and sizes to attract carp. Using a throwing stick or catapult can help distribute boilies over a large area. Particles like corn, tiger nuts, and pellets are also effective, especially when used in conjunction with boilies.

Bite Alarms

Carp fishing often involves long waiting periods, making bite alarms a useful tool to signal when a carp has taken your bait. They are usually attached to your fishing rod and emit an audible and visual signal when a fish bites.

Unhooking Mat

To ensure the safety and well-being of the fish, an unhooking mat should be used when handling your catch. These padded mats provide a safe surface to unhook and photograph the fish before returning it to the water.

Landing Net and Weighing Sling

A large, sturdy landing net is a must for safely landing big carp. After catching, a weighing sling can be used to get an accurate weight of your catch.

This list covers the essential gear needed for carp fishing in Lac de Saint-Cassien. However, depending on the duration and nature of your fishing trip, additional equipment like a bivvy, cooking gear, or a boat could be beneficial.

For an in-depth understanding of carp fishing in France, and more information about the appropriate gear, you might want to check out this comprehensive guide.

Are there specific rules and regulations for fishing in Lac de Saint-Cassien?

Yes, there are several regulations in place to ensure the sustainability of fishing practices and the welfare of fish in Lac de Saint-Cassien. The rules are enforced by the local fishing federation and authorities, and it is crucial that all anglers adhere to these guidelines:

Fishing License

As is standard across France, all anglers are required to possess a valid fishing license. Licenses can typically be purchased online or at local fishing tackle shops, tourist information offices, or sometimes at local post offices. A variety of licenses are available, including daily, weekly, and annual licenses.

No-Kill Policy

Lac de Saint-Cassien operates a strict no-kill policy for carp. All carp must be returned to the water as quickly as possible after capture. Proper fish handling techniques should be used at all times to ensure the wellbeing of the fish.

Fishing Times and Seasons

Fishing is allowed throughout the year on Lac de Saint-Cassien. However, night fishing for carp is prohibited all year round.

Bait Restrictions

Certain types of bait, particularly live bait, are prohibited. However, most commonly used carp baits such as boilies and particles are permitted. Anglers should always ensure their bait conforms to the local regulations.

Equipment Restrictions

Certain types of fishing gear may be prohibited. For example, the use of boats or bait boats may be restricted in certain areas, and the use of fixed leads is often prohibited. Always ensure your equipment complies with the local regulations.

Size and Bag Limits

While Lac de Saint-Cassien operates a no-kill policy for carp, other species may have size and bag limits. These limits can vary, so anglers should familiarize themselves with the current regulations.

Please note that while this list covers the main rules and regulations, it is not exhaustive. Specific rules can change, and additional regulations may apply. Always check the current rules with the local fishing federation or appropriate authorities before you start fishing.

The rules and regulations are designed to protect the fish and the environment and to ensure that all anglers can enjoy a fair and sustainable fishing experience. For more information on fishing in France, you might want to check out this comprehensive guide.

How do I access Lac de Saint-Cassien for carp fishing?

Lac de Saint-Cassien is nestled in the Var department in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region in southeastern France. It’s conveniently located and easily accessible by various modes of transportation.

By Car

For those driving, Lac de Saint-Cassien is situated near several major roads. It is approximately 15 kilometers from the A8 autoroute, also known as La Provençale, which runs between Aix-en-Provence and the French Riviera. From the A8, take exit 39, also called Les Adrets de l’Estérel, and then follow the signs towards the lake.

Parking around the lake varies with different areas offering small parking spots. Remember that during summer months, these can fill up quickly due to the popularity of the lake.

By Air

If you’re traveling from abroad or a distant location within France, the nearest international airport to Lac de Saint-Cassien is Nice Côte d’Azur Airport. It’s approximately 45 kilometers away, making it a convenient choice for anglers flying in. From the airport, you can rent a car or take a taxi to reach the lake.

By Train

For those preferring to travel by train, the nearest major railway station is located in Cannes, about 30 kilometers away from the lake. From Cannes, you can hire a taxi or rent a car to reach the lake.

Once at the lake, there are several access points for anglers around the perimeter. Some areas might be more challenging to reach due to the dense vegetation and steep banks. A good map and some local advice can be very useful for finding the best fishing spots.

It’s worth noting that some areas of the lake are more popular and can become quite busy, especially during the peak season. Therefore, it’s advisable to arrive early or even explore some of the less frequented spots for a more serene fishing experience.

For more insights on reaching the best carp fishing spots in France, this guide can be of great help.

What other amenities are available around Lac de Saint-Cassien for anglers?

Lac de Saint-Cassien is not only a fishing paradise but also a well-equipped leisure destination. The lake and its surrounding area offer several amenities to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable fishing trip for anglers and their companions.


Various accommodation options are available to suit all budgets and preferences. Nearby towns such as Montauroux, Les Adrets-de-l’Estérel, and Tanneron offer hotels and B&Bs for a comfortable stay. For those who prefer a more immersive experience, there are several campsites around the lake where you can set up a tent or park a caravan.

Food and Beverage

There are restaurants and cafes located around the lake, offering local and international cuisines. Several supermarkets and grocery stores in the neighboring towns provide a wide range of products if you prefer to cook your meals.

Fishing Tackle Shops

Several fishing tackle shops are located in the vicinity of Lac de Saint-Cassien. They offer a wide variety of fishing gear, baits, and accessories. Some shops also provide fishing licenses and offer valuable advice about local fishing conditions.

Boat Rentals

Lac de Saint-Cassien allows boating, and there are several boat rental services available. Renting a boat can give you access to hard-to-reach fishing spots and can enhance your fishing experience.

Recreational Activities

In addition to fishing, Lac de Saint-Cassien offers various recreational activities, such as swimming, sailing, canoeing, and hiking. There’s also a bird observatory on the north shore of the lake where you can watch various bird species.

Public Facilities

There are public toilets available around the lake. Also, in certain areas, you will find picnic spots equipped with tables and benches.

Before planning your trip, remember to check the current status of these facilities as availability might change with seasons or local guidelines. For more information on carp fishing in France, check out this comprehensive guide.

What strategies can I use for successful carp fishing in Lac de Saint-Cassien?

Lac de Saint-Cassien is a complex water system with different zones varying in depth, vegetation, and structure. To increase your chances of catching carp, it’s necessary to adapt your strategies according to the lake’s characteristics and the carp’s behavior.


Locating the carp is the first step to a successful catch. In Lac de Saint-Cassien, carp tend to spend their time around weed beds, snags, and other underwater structures. They often move around in search of food, so observing the water for signs of activity such as rolling, leaping, or bubbling can help locate them.

Bait Selection

Bait selection is crucial in Lac de Saint-Cassien. Popular choices include boilies, particles like maize and tiger nuts, and pellets. Given the size of the carp in the lake, don’t be afraid to use large or multiple boilies on your rig. Make sure to check local regulations regarding bait usage.


The choice of rig can make a big difference. Due to the presence of weed beds and snags, using a rig that ensures the bait is presented effectively and safely is essential. Popular choices include the helicopter rig, chod rig, and the Ronnie rig.


Pre-baiting an area can greatly increase your chances of success. By consistently introducing bait into a specific area over several days, you can encourage carp to regularly visit the spot in search of food.

Watercraft and Observation

Understanding the water you’re fishing in can give you an edge. This includes recognizing features, understanding the effects of weather and temperature, and being aware of the carp’s habits and behaviors.

Time of Day

Carp are known to feed more actively during the early morning and late evening. Fishing during these times can improve your chances.

Respect the Fish and the Environment

Carp in Lac de Saint-Cassien are large, and fighting a big fish can stress it. Using strong and reliable tackle, handling the fish properly, and ensuring a quick release can help protect the carp population.

Remember, Lac de Saint-Cassien is a challenging water body, and patience is key. Don’t be discouraged if success doesn’t come immediately. Enjoy the experience, learn from each trip, and success will follow. For more insights on carp fishing in France, don’t miss this comprehensive guide.

How to handle and release carp responsibly in Lac de Saint-Cassien?

Carp fishing in Lac de Saint-Cassien is largely a catch-and-release activity. Proper handling and releasing of carp not only ensure their survival but also contribute to the sustainability of the sport. Here are some essential tips to follow:

Use the Right Gear

First and foremost, use appropriate fishing gear. Make sure your line, rod, and reel are strong enough to handle the size of carp you’re targeting. This ensures that you can reel in the fish quickly, reducing its stress and exhaustion.

Landing the Fish

Use a large, soft mesh landing net. Once the carp is in the net, keep it in the water while you prepare your equipment for weighing and photographs.

Unhooking and Handling

Use an unhooking mat. This protects the fish from injuries when it’s out of the water. Always wet the mat before placing the fish on it. Remove the hook with a disgorger or a pair of long-nosed forceps. If the hook is too deep, it’s better to cut the line as close to the hook as possible.

When lifting the carp, kneel down and hold it over the mat. Support its weight with both hands, one under the pectoral girdle and the other under the tail. Never hold carp by the gills or eyes, and avoid keeping them out of water for an extended period.

Weighing and Photographs

If you want to weigh the carp, use a well-padded sling or a weigh sack. Always zero the scales with the weight of the sling included. When photographing, keep the fish low and over the unhooking mat to prevent injury if it flaps. Minimize the time the carp is out of the water.

Releasing the Carp

When releasing, hold the carp upright in the water until it can swim away by itself. This might take some time, especially for larger fish, but it’s essential for their recovery.

Remember, the key to responsible carp fishing is respect for the fish and the environment. Treat every carp as if it were the record-breaking fish that Lac de Saint-Cassien is famous for. To learn more about responsible carp fishing practices, check out this comprehensive guide to carp fishing in France.

What are the records of carp catches in Lac de Saint-Cassien?

Lac de Saint-Cassien has been the venue for some record-breaking carp catches, making it one of the most famous carp fisheries in the world. Here’s a glimpse of some of the notable catches in the lake’s history.

World Record Mirror Carp

In 1987, the lake produced a world-record mirror carp weighing 37.1 kg (81.6 lb), caught by the British angler Martin Locke. This monumental catch solidified Lac de Saint-Cassien’s reputation in the international carp fishing community.

World Record Common Carp

Markus Pelzer, a German angler, caught a common carp weighing 33.8 kg (74.5 lb) in 2001. This catch held the world record for the heaviest common carp at the time.

Numerous Large Carp

Summer Carp Fishing with Pellets

Besides these record-breaking catches, Lac de Saint-Cassien has consistently produced large carp over the years. Carp weighing over 20 kg (44 lb) are not uncommon, and there are rumors of even larger carp lurking in the lake’s depths.

Please note that catching large carp is a challenge and often requires patience, experience, and a bit of luck. But even if you don’t land a record breaker, the chance to fish in the same waters as these legendary catches is an experience of a lifetime for any carp angler.

Remember, irrespective of the size of the carp, every catch should be treated with respect and released properly to ensure the sustainability of this wonderful sport. For more information on carp fishing and the practices to follow, refer to this comprehensive guide.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Lac de Saint-Cassien suitable for beginner anglers?

While Lac de Saint-Cassien is known for its challenging fishing due to the size of the carp and the lake’s complex structure, beginner anglers can certainly enjoy fishing here. It offers a great opportunity to learn and enhance fishing skills. However, beginners are advised to do thorough research, adhere to local regulations, and perhaps seek guidance from experienced anglers or local guides.

Can I fish in Lac de Saint-Cassien at night?

No, night fishing is prohibited all year round in Lac de Saint-Cassien.

What type of bait should I use for carp fishing in Lac de Saint-Cassien?

Common bait choices for carp in Lac de Saint-Cassien include boilies, particles like maize and tiger nuts, and pellets. The choice of bait can depend on various factors like the season, carp behavior, and local regulations. Some anglers also have success with their homemade bait recipes.

Is boat fishing allowed in Lac de Saint-Cassien?

Yes, boat fishing is allowed in Lac de Saint-Cassien. Using a boat can provide access to areas that are hard to reach from the shore and enhance your fishing experience. There are several boat rental services available around the lake.

Are there size or bag limits for carp fishing in Lac de Saint-Cassien?

Lac de Saint-Cassien practices a catch-and-release policy for carp fishing. There are no specific size or bag limits. However, all carp, irrespective of their size, should be released back into the water as soon as possible after capture to ensure their wellbeing and the sustainability of the sport.

How can I increase my chances of catching a large carp in Lac de Saint-Cassien?

Effective strategies to increase your chances include locating carp hotspots, choosing the right bait, using effective rigs, pre-baiting, understanding the water and the carp’s behavior, and fishing during early morning or late evening. However, remember that fishing in Lac de Saint-Cassien is a challenge and requires patience and persistence.

What should I do if I accidentally injure a carp while fishing in Lac de Saint-Cassien?

If a carp is accidentally injured, handle it with utmost care. Minimize its time out of water and return it as gently as possible. If the injury is severe, it’s advisable to contact local authorities or a local fishery management agency. Responsible handling of fish is integral to the sport of fishing, and every effort should be made to prevent harm to the fish.