For many anglers, a trip across the English Channel to France in search of monster carp has become something of an annual ritual. Carp fishing in France has hugely grown in popularity in the last 10 to 15 years. There are now hundreds of carp lakes in France offering fishing packages to UK anglers and with the option to travel by train, ferry or air it has never been easier. The opportunity to target continental carp has come a long way since the likes of Rod Hutchinson and Kevin Ellis first started making trips to Lake Cassien in the 1980s.
Today, there are hundreds of lakes in France holding some incredible carp to huge proportions. The lure of France for some anglers is driven by the unknown. With catches in the UK often being shared instantly across social media, there are few lakes left where the potential for a previously uncaught leviathan still exists. With the sheer abundance of waters across the channel, including some large public lakes with unknown and uncaught fish, the anticipation, excitement and mystery of making the trip is hard to suppress.
As carp fishing in France has increased in popularity, there has also been a boom in the number of UK anglers who have purchased carp lakes in France and now ‘living the dream’ of running a carp fishery and enjoying the relaxing French lifestyle. As a result, as well as public waters, there is a vast number of privately owned carp lakes available for booking by UK anglers. In fact there are so many French carp lakes – often varying greatly in size, difficulty and on-site facilities – it can be a daunting and time consuming prospect choosing the venue that best suits your style and ability.
For the last decade I have been making annual trips to France and having spent hundreds of hours researching potential lakes to fish, decided to set up Dream Carp Holidays which offers helpful tools and filters to narrow down your search for suitable lakes. When choosing a venue in France it is critical to select a lake that you are able to fish effectively and to the best of your ability. Holiday carp fishing is about enjoyment and hopefully catching a few. If you can fish effectively then there is every chance that you will come away with a new PB if you select the right water.
If you are used to fishing UK lakes of up to 10 acres in size and at a maximum of 80 yards, then your first trip to France is not the right time to fish a 50 acre lake where fish are caught at 120 yards. Stick to the tactics you know and fish within your limits. Just because the carp in France grow to larger sizes than in the UK, it does not mean that they behave differently. They still love boilies and particles and can be caught from a few inches off the bank to the middle of the pond.
The aim of Dream Carp Holidays is to provide anglers with valuable information on a range of carp lakes in France so that they can make an informed decision when booking their trip. Unlike other fishing holiday websites, Dream Carp Holidays passes all booking enquiries directly to the lake owner to contact the interested angler. Currently the website lists over 50 carp lakes which can be split into three broad categories:
Exclusive Lakes with Accommodation – these venues are ideal if you do not want to night fish every night and you fancy some luxuries for the duration of the trip. For all of these venues the accommodation is on the lake or a couple of minutes’ walk away. We have selected venues where you will have exclusive use of the lake for the duration of your stay. If you are taking your wife or girlfriend then these venues could be a winner!
Exclusive Lakes with Accommodation and Swimming Pools – If you are planning a family fishing trip to France then you should definitely consider lakes with accommodation and pools. Like the first category you will have lakeside accommodation and the sole use of the lake with the additional benefit of a swimming pool. Many of these venues are located in South West France where the weather tends to be a bit warmer. Whilst this is a bit further to drive, many of these venues provide tackle hire and airport collection giving you the option to fly.
Drive and Survive Lakes – For many, drive and survive fishing is carp fishing at its best as you pit your wits against nature, fishing from your bivvy or shelter, whilst waiting for the bite alarm to scream and your rod to hoop over. These lakes tend to be large so you may be fishing with other anglers. For those making the trip alone, these can be quite sociable venues if you enjoy the company of other anglers. All of the drive and survive lakes listed on Dream Carp Holidays have at minimum basic facilities including showers, toilets and electrical points for charging batteries.
Each listing provides a detailed description of the venue and lake, an overview of the fish stock, onsite facilities and prices as well as an availability calendar to show when the lake is available and when it is booked.
To further assist you in your search Dream Carp Holidays provides some really handy filters such as carp size, lakes size and number of anglers to create a shortlist of venues.
Andrew Patterson has over 20 years fishing experience, regularly fishing the UK and more recently enjoying an annual trip to France in search of monster carp. He set up Dream Carp Holidays in 2016 which now lists over 50 carp lakes in France all available for booking by UK anglers.