Winter, not so bad.

Although the weather is damp and gloomy as I write there is an atmospheric beauty about the still, half light that we often experience at this time of year. All is quiet and if you close your eyes the silence is almost total with just the odd rustling of leaves to be heard. Look around though and it is a totally different story with so much going on that can be seen if you take the trouble to look. We have just been splitting lots of poplar logs and piling them up on the grass whilst we prepare the stacking area. Quietly standing behind the cottage I watched myriads of wrens flitting in and out of the split logs as they fed on the many disturbed grubs and insects. There were so many wrens that they could have been mistaken for a kaleidoscope of butterfly’s (well, brown ones anyway) feeding merrily away in total silence. We rescued a great crested grebe, a young one I would think, this morning when it was found stuck in the pool at the bottom of the millrace. Grebes need a long run up before they can take flight and there just was insufficient room for the poor thing to get airborne. A quick sweep of a landing net and the grebe was caught by Jimmy who wrapped the creature up in a towel and handed it to Sophie to release onto the lake. The ungrateful wretch spent a good few minute trying to spear her with its beak before diving down into the lake and upon surfacing giving us the ‘evil eye’. That’s gratitude for you ! The many kingfishers that live locally have been flying over both lakes in good numbers and enjoying the easy fishing that comes with the reduced water levels that we  maintain over winter. We also have up to a dozen snowy egrets fishing around the lake margins each day and blending into the murky background are a good many grey herons that also enjoy the opportunity for an easy feed before the frosts of winter proper arrive. The carp have remained very active in both lakes and throughout the day the calm will suddenly  be broken by the sound of a big carp crashing out of the water. Poppy’s Lake is behaving much as it does all summer with constant show of bow waving, topping and leaping carp to stir the fishing juices. After a good amount of feed is applied to the lake the fish will be seen stirring up the silt in a feeding frenzy within minutes. We never wet a line until early March (so long as the water has warmed up) and next spring Poppy’s will certainly be my first port of call.

Well, the next few weeks are to be spent on the log splitting and general tidying up and once Christmas is out of the way we will be working hard, repairing and renewing as well as the usual clearing and burning. Winter is a time of hard graft for us all at Le Moulin du Mee but we enjoy working up a sweat when the days are cold and very soon we will be starting to get excited about the prospect of the season to come. Happy days indeed.

The Last Post (of the 2016 season).

The season just finished as been a reflection of what fishing is all about. Some great weeks, some dreadful weeks and in between a year of good fish, good company and some wonderful catches.

As ever the weather has been the major factor and for the second year running we have had the seasons rather blurred, which is unusual for us as seasonal changes have usually been predictable, and certainly discernible, as spring, summer, autumn and winter.

This year our winter was very mild and wet and carried on into spring when the only real change was that temperatures were a little higher. The regular deluges of rain meant that the water table was wonderfully high for summer when a prolonged heatwave and dry spell would normally have resulted in dropping water levels. Summer certainly arrived with a vengeance and once the temperatures began to rise they were destined to remain in the high 30’s for much of the summer. Little summer rain and the absence of our usual thunder storms made us thankful for the wet spring and although the lads baked in the hot sunny conditions we still saw some great catches of carp on a regular basis. We moved from summer to autumn quickly and the back end of the season was generally wetter and cooler than we are used to experiencing. The fishing became more challenging but, as in the summer, some great catches were made.

From a fishing perspective it was generally a great season although the carp have been noticeably more fickle in their feeding habits than in previous years and some weeks were very difficult indeed. The lake is now maturing into a serious big fish water and as is usual in these situations the fishing can be more tricky than in earlier years. It must be recognized that the carp have now got 10 years experience of being hunted under their belt and therefore they are no longer the pushover that they were in our early years. I was quite amused when one of our early year regulars posted on the blog (late 2014) that the lake should still be producing bags of 30 plus carp per angler the only difference being that now they are 40’s and 50’s rather than 20’s and 30’s ! How wonderful would that be ? The reality is that we have managed our biomass carefully over the years and whereas when we opened we had 600+ carp in the main lake we now have reduced that to just over the 300 mark. As all of you that fish here will acknowledge our carp are in stunning condition and show regular, healthy growth. In all honesty we remain over stocked, with a biomass that aquaculture experts will tell you is far too high. We are only able to do that due to the fact that our lake is in a limestone and chalk valley giving us superb filtered water coming from the many springs on the lake bed. There is a downside (from an angling point of view) in having such a healthy lake and that is the proliferation of naturals meaning that the carp are not dependent on anglers bait. The carp are healthy, they are bigger and growing fast but they are also a lot wiser to the ways of fishermen. Such is life.

Lets look at the season just finished and consider the reality of what Le Moulin du Mee now offers the carp angler. We had 129 carp of over 50lb banked including 26 x 60lb+ carp up to a best of 73lb. In addition we had 120 carp of between 45lb and 50lb that will, in the next year, become 50lb+ fish ! Just how many 50’s we will have swimming round in the lake next year is mind boggling. Add to that the big 50’s caught this year that should be 60lb+ fish by spring and the whole prospect is very exciting indeed. The very heavy spawning experienced this season has also meant that a good many of our know big fish were well down in weight in mid summer. Once next season is underway I truly expect that we will have up to half a dozen carp of over 70lb in the lake and as they are all young fish the prospect for future weight gains is enormous. Happy days indeed.

From the anglers point of view there is always the chance that the next run will result in something very special which adds spice to the fishing. There is also the chance that conditions will be against you, the carp will be avidly munching naturals or your tactics will be wrong and a blank could be on the cards. That is the reality of fishing at Le Moulin du Mee and I would hate to find that visitors to our fishery arrive with unrealistic expectations. We are not a runs water these days but do have Poppy’s Lake which is very much so. In fact we now have more groups opting to hire both lakes thus ensuring that a regular bend in the rod from 20’s and 30’s is all but guaranteed on Poppy’s when conditions are tough on the main lake but the chance of the fish of a lifetime is also possible when the main lake is tackled. Food for thought methinks.

Next season will see several changes and the summer months will be ‘drive and survive’ although with a bit more sophistication than the title would suggest. On both sides of the lake there will be covered cooking and eating area’s complete with gas bbq/cooker and gas fridge and the shower block will also be equipped with a large sink for washing up. Several of the swims will be refurbished and a lot more cutting back of tree’s will be undertaken to ensure casting will be a lot easier.

The new aeration system has been a great success and we plan to extend the lake bottom aerators further along the centre of the lake which, if nothing else will make it easier for you to identify exactly where the middle is ! The fact that the whole lake now is well oxygenated should stop the problem of fish congregating in certain area’s of the lake at times when dissolved oxygen levels become depleted. Already this season we have noticed that for most of the year every swim can, and has produced and I believe that we now have solved one of the reasons that in earlier years certain swims were way out in front. As an example ‘Deliverance’ was an unusually productive swim, mostly all year round but particularly in the summer. We now recognize that one of the reasons for this was that the biggest spring in the lake flowed from bay between the spits adjacent to the swim. This meant that at times of poor dissolved oxygen this was the area where the carp felt most comfortable. Although ‘Deliverance’ is still a very good swim it no longer has the advantage that we saw in previous years as now all the lake is comfortable in oxygen content. Happy days ahead.

Prices for 2017 remain unchanged once more although due to the Brexit effect on exchange rates we anticipate that prices will need to move up in 2018. Nothing drastic I can assure you and as ever we will ensure that we are still very competitively priced.

Well, that’s about it for now so thanks to everyone that has helped make the 2016 such a good and enjoyable one for us at LMDM. See you lads (and lasses) in 2017.

Our final week..

Well, this is the last post of the 2016 fishing season and with our final week just concluded it is worth looking back at how the season panned out. First a quick summary of the week just concluded which saw the ‘Stansted Firemen’ enjoying the many pleasures of a cold, wet and windy and challenging week. The fishing was hard and once again there were plenty of carp crashing around and feeding (on naturals) but takes were at a premium and although thye final fish count was low there were some pretty special carp among them. Top rod for the week was the very experienced Nick who fished the shallows and managed to bag 7 carp including a 63lb mirror and a 57lb 8oz mirror. Nick also lost a carp when he picked up some floating debris on his line during the fight resulting eventually in the line parting. ‘If felt a big fish’ said Nick at breakfast and he would soon be proven right in his assumption ! The following day Chris arrived at breakfast with a big smile on his face and announced that he had landed a new pb in the form of a cracking 65lb 8oz mirror. ‘It had another rig in its mouth’ said Chris and he proceeded to pull the rig out of his pocket to show the lads. You’ve guessed, yes it was Nicks rig from the day before !! I must say that Nick was very philosophical about it which, in the circumstances, was a gracious way to be. I feel that I would have been gnashing my teeth at the least. Darren also caught a nice fish, another pb weighing in at 45lb 8oz however poor old Rob drew an unfortunate blank. Well, I must say that our final week was most enjoyable despite the weather being rather unhelpful and the lads smiled all the way through. I look forward to seeing you lads again next summer when I am sure conditions will be far more conducive to carp fishing. Happy days.

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More of the same !

The weather continues to damp down the fishing and although plenty of carp are still showing and crashing out the lads in the main struggled in pretty poor fishing conditions. The early part of the week saw any feeding carp concentrating in the deeper water and John certainly made the best of his opportunities with a 7 carp bag consisting of mirrors of 66lb 4oz, 49lb 8oz, 42.8lb, 42lb , 42lb,32lb and 32lb. All the carp were in stunning condition and certainly gave a good account of themselves before being banked. Other than that Steve had a couple of fish with a best of 45lb whilst Sean had a cracking 56lb mirror and Danny one of 32lb whilst Lee and Mark drew a blank.

Once again it was a most enjoyable week and the lads were experienced enough to accept that conditions were against them and any fish was a bonus. Next time fellah’s.

Some pictures from the week.

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The final week of the season is now underway with frost, rain, wind and hail making conditions once again pretty horrid for the lads. The carp remain elusive although we have had a high 50 banked from the shallows so perhaps a few more good fish will be banked before we close shop for 2016.

On Monday we carried out the netting of POPPY’S LAKE’ which is discussed (with pictures) on the dedicated Poppy’s Lake page. Take a look.


Just a reminder that tomorrow is the deadline for deposits for next year. Anyone that has not paid or at least contacted me regarding payment should do so asap please.

I am getting lots of inquiries at the moment but currently all I have available for 2017 is the final week of the season commencing November 6th. Having said that I am still waiting for deposits from several anglers/groups so it may well be that other dates may come available in due course. I will publish any new vacancies on the blog.

John bags ‘Drop Scale’ at 66lb 4oz.

The fishing is still slow however last night John bagged a lovely 42lb mirror followed by the ‘Drop Scale’ mirror at 66lb 4oz. John and Sean also had a couple of nice 30’s yesterday and with the carp continuing to crash out over night we are hoping for a few more good fish before the week is out.

John and a couple of nice mirrors.


Cold weather blue’s !

The slump in catches that has coincided with the arrival of the cold weather continues with, once again, lots of fish showing and crashing out (especially at night) but takes hard to come by. To be fair the fishing did pick up a tad on last week but the average size was perhaps the lowest I can remember for some years. The lake looks ripe for a good catch and I am sure it is about to happen – this week perhaps, or next ? Who knows. Once again some good fish were hooked and lost with our old friend Caddy losing two this morning, both after a slow dogged fight. Big girls perhaps Caddy lad !

In my frustration I phoned quite a few lake owners during the week to see what their thoughts were and it was some comfort to hear that they were experiencing much the same as us. Whether is is the sudden drop in temperature or perhaps the high pressure that has been with us for a few weeks now we can only speculate on however it is clear that the fish are moving and those caught are in stunning condition. With just two weeks of the season left I am certain that I will be writing a blog of success before to long !

Anyway, Caddy banked  3 x 30’s and a 41lb mirror, Graham banked five fish but with a best of just 36lb from the shallows and Paul and Frans have a couple each. Poor old Bobby failed to catch but I am sure will make up for it next year.

Fishing aside the week was most enjoyable with lots of laughs and even more speculation on what is going on below the surface of the lake. It is always good to have weeks with regulars to LMDM where dwelling on the hard fishing is overshadowed by chat about the good times and great fish banked at our lake. At times this week some of the lads spent time on Poppy’s lake and enjoyed it enough to book it for next year. Somewhat overshadowed by the main lake it is easily overlooked but Poppy’s now has stacks of 20’s and a good helping of 30’s that fight so very hard. With the netting that takes place in a couple of weeks time we will have the opportunity to fully assess the stock here and remove the smaller fish thus giving the remaining carp the opportunity to pack on the weight. We have quite a few groups now opting to book both lakes giving them the best of both worlds. A guaranteed bend in the rod from hard fighting 20’s and 30’s plus the chance of a real lump on the main lake. Happy days !

A few pics from the week.

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Deposits and swaps !

I would like to gently remind those of you booked in for 2017 that the deadline for deposits is November 1st. You should all have received an email from me with details of your booking and deposit required about a month ago so please be sure to sort things out in the next week please. Anyone that no longer requires their booking should let me know asap as I do have others waiting for a cancellation.

I have a weeks exclusive in July that the group would like to change due to a clash of dates.  I also have a week in October where the group would like a swap for a week outside the school holiday period. Anyone that fancies a change of week should contact me.

At present I do not have any vacant places for 2017 other than the final week of the year which is free (w/c November 4th). I will post details of any free places that should arise.

Frustration sets in !

The week just ended was one of the most frustrating that I have experienced at Le Moulin du Mee. Good anglers, regulars to LMDM have spent their nights listening to carp crashing all over the lake, not just any carp but the big girls described by Trevor as ‘sounding like the blitz’ as they cavorted under the stars. I have read much wisdom about why carp crash but consider that we will never fully understand the reasoning behind such behavior and perhaps the most sensible answer I have heard is very simply ‘because they can’ .With all this activity runs were expected at any moment but with unmoving bobbins and silent buzzers for the much of the time it was doubly disappointing when the line peeled off the spools, the buzzers screamed and the bend of the rod was met with a brief resistance, a feeling of a big carp shaking its head and then – nothing ! That was the story of the week with a good many carp hooked and lost and few landed leaving us all scratching our heads and finally accepting that for this week at least, the carp won.

Matt had a 58lb common plus another fine common of 41lb as well as mirrors of 41lb and 30lb and Charlie bagged a 36lb mirror from the shallows but that was it for the lads. Trevor lost 6 carp, Paul 3 or 4, Uncle Albert several and Matt and Charlie a  handful as well so a week that fishing wise was poor could have been so much better if lady luck had been with us. For those of you reading this tale of woe I am sure that there will be many thoughts that the anglers were perhaps at fault. Let me assure you that it was not the case. We simply have had one of those periods when the carp are cussedly getting on with their life and not giving a thought to the frustrated faces staring out at them ! Such is life.

Matt and his 58lb common.