Le Moulin de Graffeuil
People keep asking me for more information about the stocking of our lake. I know that there are those who assume that to own a big carp fishery in France all you do is buy a pond, which of course is already full of monster carp, you throw in a few 50s for good measure, and then you open for business.
Well that could not be further from the truth. Stocking a fishery is not all about adding more fish, although some do. Before you can stock you have to de-stock, it is essential to know exactly what is in a lake before you can be sure that the eventual stock levels are healthy.
A piece of water of any size can only sustain a certain volume of fish and they need to be different types of fish in order for the lake as a whole to exist in a balanced way with Mother Nature.
Le Moulin de Graffeuil has been 3 years in the making so far but it is almost finished, I often call it my work in progress because that is exactly what it is. I will no doubt still be working to improve it for years to come. The main effort to-date has been creating a fishery that conforms to current legislation and then to ensure that all of our other facilities are in place in order that our guests can come and have a great carp fishing holiday.
We always knew that the lake would make a fantastic venue. At 9.46 acres to be exact it is stunning to look at and it is in perfect health, it has a great water source which provides highly oxygenated water 365 days a year. The PH is perfect and there is the correct amount of weed which is essential for everything else to thrive. All I had to do was empty it.
Our new stock had been on order for over a year and that amounted to around 2 tons of big carp of every type possible; Leathers, Linears, hardly scaled, fully scaled, Commons, Grassies and even a few Koi. Our target range in terms of weight was nothing below 20lb and up to 50lb.
I surpassed the upper target of 50lb with our biggest fish being a mirror at 53lb 8oz and another 11 fish in the 40s with some of those in excess of 48 and 49lb, they will pass the 50lb mark at some time this year. None of these fish have ever been caught on a rod and line before and I must say I envy the people who catch them for the first time. Especially the ones that look like this;
As for the lower limit that was easy, I stocked over 100 fish between 20 and 30lb and another 35 from 30lb through to 39lb. I must confess however that I went below our minimum target with several fish because they were just too nice to say no to, and of course they will grow. What about this stunner at 19lb;
The lake was emptied slowly over an extended period in order that we could complete all of the bankside maintenance before we stocked. We deliberately opened the main vidange system to its full capacity at one point, the force of water was such that we extracted 48 cubic meters of silt from the lake bed. I have made a few modifications to the drainage systems for the future. I have put a cage around the vidange so that every year I can open it fully, just for an hour, to extract another load of silt without the danger of any of my lovely fish going down the drain.
I also installed a new syphon system so that in future years I can drain down to netting depth without any threat to my fish. I intend to net about every 3 years so that I can remove everything that I don’t want and thereby control my stock levels, and at the same time having another opportunity to check the health of my big fish.
I applied the same rule to the existing stock, a minimum of 20lb, as it goes there were no giants in there anyway but if it was a carp and 20lb or over it went back in. Every other fish came out, we found some beautiful chub going over 7lb, bream, zander, roach, rudd, perch, in fact a bit of everything, just like you would expect.
Apart from carp we returned around 100kgs of assorted silver fish, but only small ones. These are essential for a healthy lake but I have ensured that the only fish in the lake big enough to even consider a boilie for lunch or to feast on your corn and pellet are carp. If you want to catch course fish you will have to fish for them particularly.
There are photographs of most of the new stock on the galleries page of our web-site, there is also a lot of information about them on our blog page or Lake News as I now call it. If you want any more detailed information then drop me an e-mail.
The pictures at the top of the page are of 2 of my favourite fish, they are a 40lb 4oz mirror and a 33lb 8oz common. Both beautiful specimens, but, there is one particular fish that I would love to hook and that is the biggest of our 5 grassies at 42lb 9oz, an amazingly strong fish;
All of our new fish over 10kgs or 22.4lb were micro-chipped as they went in, so now I can keep an eye on their individual progress. By the end of this year I will know exactly how successful this stocking has been and will be better placed to decide what and how many I add to my collection next winter.
Paul Turner (G+)