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.